I remember a conversation I had with an atheist named Bill at M.I.T., who said the primary reason he did not think it was plausible to believe in any sort of god, especially the One True God I espoused and represented, was because of the problem of evil.
His basic argument was there could not be a God in existence due to the overwhelming amount of evil in human history, past and present. But anyone who says there’s evil in the world has to wrestle, I said, with where the ability to make moral judgments comes from.
If you argue and believe we live in a world with no God, there cannot be a, “way things should be.” If everything that we experience and that actually exists is merely the result of meaningless chance, chaos, and evolution, then it stands there can be no good or evil, right or wrong…only the reality of life, hurt, discomfort, disappointment, struggle, and ultimately, death. Life would be an endless tease of real but temporary happiness, breath, and our vaporous lives end.
If you pause to think about, the great irony of mankind’s existence is not that there is evil, but based on the creativity and innovation of our species, that there are actually incredible acts of goodness that take place the world over every day. Why do we not see more horrible, senseless violence, and joyless life? Why doesn’t society collapse into violent mayhem, out-of-control competition for power, and constant upheaval, with men and women turning into predatory animals like the vampires, werewolves, and the walking dead in popular culture today?
Why don’t people scratch and claw for every advantage and destroy their families and neighbors? Why do some sacrifice and live nobly? If evil is so prevalent, why don’t people who are tormented (or are described by some in the media as victimized), just choose death instead of a very miserable life? Why is there incredible charity, generosity, kindness, and goodness?
Read Luke 6:27-38.
The truth is that death, pain, and evil are real, and should compel every one of us to believe that something is really wrong with the world and everyone one of us in it. In the depth of our souls we know something wars within. It gnaws at our sense of identity, security, destiny, and calling. But something also rebels against the evil in all of us. Professing atheists like Bill have to understand that they cannot have such a moral view of the “way things should be,” unless they are willing to concede that there is a God. Otherwise, what is there to define evil against?
I remember one of the guys who challenged me to consider Christ as a college student. He quoted John 7:17 and told me that, “If I don’t believe in the good Christian college student standing in front of me (meaning him), how would I ever believe in a good God he can’t see?”
That is one argument (and/or reason) for Christians to live Christ-honoring lives. It gives atheists in particular, and skeptics and seekers, a healthy doubt about their beliefs and worldview. Consider how your acts of love, acceptance, forgiveness, goodness, and self-sacrifice can be part of your “witnessing” efforts on campus as you share the good news about God.
Walk wisely. Are you living in such a way that the atheists of your area of influence might begin to “doubt their disbelief?” Like my mom said, don’t just be good. Be good for something.
Love is a verb,
©2014 by Mike Olejarz