Conversations with an Atheist, Part 2

My atheist friend told me the main reason he doesn’t believe in God has to do with all the evil he sees in the world. “A good God,” he says, “would not allow all kinds of evil to exist. Because evil exists, there can be no God.”

The question I asked my friend was this, “How do you know evil exists? By qualifying God as good is to make a moral judgment. Defining evil based on the notion of good is to admit that God also exists!”

Atheist: “How so?”

Me: “Because your definition of evil assumes moral goodness. Otherwise, how would you define evil? You had to have some idea in your mind what is good to declare something evil.”

Atheist: “Not really! As we evolved into mental creatures, our survival depended on what is better for our continuation as a species; and good is better than evil.”

Me: “But who determined what was better? Darwinism teaches the survival of the fittest. If the stronger, healthier, and more robust is fitter, they survive. If they are also more evil, they will still survive. Isn’t this what Nazi Germany tried to do? Hitler wanted to eliminate what he thought were the weaker link in a strong nation. And I think you would agree that Hitler was evil! So, please tell me how you define good, for evolution is not the answer.”

Atheist: “Good is doing that which is right for our species; and trying to eliminate a part of it, a certain people group, is wrong. It only brings war and war kills people, which is bad.”

Me: “You can’t mean that all war is bad. Otherwise, how would Hitler have been stopped?”

Atheist: “In that case, it was good people rising up against evil to stop evil from continuing.”

Me: “But Hitler did not think he was evil. He thought he was right. So, now we have your view and Hitler’s view in contrast. What made you right and Hitler wrong? For you to contrast what is good and evil means that you have within you some innate moral fiber, which allows you to make a determination. And that moral fiber had to come from somewhere.”

Atheist: “Yeah, it comes from me knowing right and wrong.”

Me: “No, it comes from something in your makeup that evolution cannot explain with any precision. Just by saying that something is good points to something bigger than you, and that something is Ultimate Goodness.

Atheist: “Come on, you know that I don’t believe in an Ultimate Goodness, which you are going to tell me is God.”

Me: “I’m saying any determination of good is a moral decision and morality points to something greater than you. To conquer evil, good must exist. And to have the moral courage to fight evil must come from within, not from some evolutionary process. Evolution doesn’t explain why there are certain moral fundamentals, which crosses all cultures.”

Atheist: “Like what?”

Me: “Like not killing off your own species or clan. Like honoring the ones who brought you into the world. Like not stealing from those you love. Like doing good for those who help you. And if goodness doesn’t evolve, then it must point to a Being who instills a moral fiber it into his Creatures.”

Atheist: “So what happened to Hitler? Did he have any good moral fiber?”

Me: “Absolutely; but even then it can be overcome by evil if we let it. That is why we need reminders of what is good; and that comes from the 10 commandments. But even then, we need something more that restrains evil in the world—otherwise evil will win out. And that something is an Ultimate Morality that gives grace to people whether they believe in an Ultimate Goodness or not in order for them to recognize the true and exercise courage to fight the wrong.”

Atheist: “There you go again with the religious stuff. I still believe that all this can be explained by evolution.

Me: “If that is the case, then anything goes. Survival of the fittest tells us that those who are stronger, better situated, and more politically motivated can take what they want, including life, in order for their group to survive. Evolution would then sanction what Islamic extremists are doing—even what Hitler did. Yet, the reason most of the world dislikes what they do is evidence that there is a greater good that desires to overcome the dastardly killing of those who oppose such terrorists.”

Atheist: “There are certain things that are just plain wrong—certain actions that are basically evil!”

Me: “Can’t you see that by admitting evil exists, you have just proven that God exists. By saying ‘some things are just plain wrong’ is evidence of an absolute within your psyche that you didn’t put there. You were born with it, which means you were favored with a morality that is greater than you. Because you don’t understand why evil occurs is no reason to deny the existence of a Being who endowed you with a sense of right and wrong. Because you say there is evil in the world proves that there is a God who evidently instilled the definition of right and wrong within your soul. To argue there is no God is to argue there is no good. And that is untenable!”