Why is sex fun? Reproduction surely does not require pleasure: some animals simply split in half to reproduce, and even humans use methods of artificial insemination that involve no pleasure. Why is eating enjoyable? Plants and lower animals manage to obtain their quota of nutrients without the luxury of taste buds. Why are there colors? Some people get along fine without the ability to detect color. Why complicate vision for the rest of us?
It struck me, after reading my umpteenth book on the problem of pain, that I have never even seen a book on “the problem of pleasure.” Nor have I met a philosopher who goes around shaking his or her head in perplexity over the question of why we experience pleasure. Yet it looms as a huge question: the philosophical equivalent, for atheists, to the problem of pain for Christians. On the issue of pleasure, Christians can breathe easier. A good and loving God would naturally want his creatures to experience delight, joy, and personal fulfillment. Christians start from that assumption and then look for ways to explain the origin of suffering. But should not atheists have an equal obligation to explain the origin of pleasure in a world of randomness and meaninglessness? . . .
Where does pleasure come from? After searching alternatives, Chesterton settled on Christianity as the only reasonable explanation for its existence in the world. Moments of pleasure are the remnants washed ashore from a shipwreck, bits of Paradise extended through time. We must hold these relics lightly, and use them with gratitude and restraint, never seizing them as entitlements.
He wants to know about the problem of evil. My answer to the problem of evil is this: There is no problem of evil in an atheist’s universe because there is no evil in an atheist’s universe. Since there is no God, there is no absolute moral standard, and nothing is wrong. The torture of little children is not wrong in an atheist’s universe. It may be painful, but it is not wrong. It is morally wrong in a theistic universe, and therefore, there is a problem of evil of perhaps the psychological or emotional sort, but philosophically the answer to the problem of evil is you don’t have an absolute standard of good by which to measure evil in an atheist’s universe. You can only have that in a theistic universe, and therefore, the very posing of the problem presupposes my world view, rather than his own.
The Great Debate: Does God Exist?
If the terrorists, or Hitler, or Pol Pot, or you or I, are simply dancing to our DNA, no one can blame us for anything. One Russian intellectual put it to me, ‘We thought we could get rid of God and retain a value for man. We found we couldn’t, we destroyed man as well.’ … The new atheists, ladies and gentlemen, devalue human beings. And ironically, for all their moral outrage, they deny the one thing that upholds moral value: justice! They hold justice to be a delusion; because for millions of people there is no justice in this life and they will never get justice after death by definition. There is no hope. Terrorists eventually get away with it. And reason and experience tell me this is morally absurd. And Christianity backs me up as it teaches me that death is not the end. There is to be a final judgment at which justice will be done and done fairly.
Let us remember that every worldview–not just Christianity’s–must give an explanation or an answer for evil and suffering…this is not just a problem distinctive to Christianity. It will not do for the challenger just to raise the question. This problem of evil is one to which we all must offer an answer, regardless of the belief system to which we subscribe.
Which is more loving: a God who creates a world in which love is possible, or a God who creates a world in which love is impossible? It seems reasonable that a loving God (if He exists at all), would create a world where love is possible. A good God would create a world where love can be experienced and expressed by creatures designed “in His image”. But this kind of “love-possible” a world is, by necessity, a dangerous place. Love requires freedom.
–J. Warner Wallace
Why Would a Good God Allow Moral Evil?
Today, people continue to rebel against God. We curse Him, ignore Him, and flaunt our disobedience. Motivated by pride, greed, and selfishness, people destroy one another and willfully abuse and pollute God’s earth…it’s amazing God has not lost His patience and destroyed all of us. Rather than condemning God for allowing evil, we should be thankful that He withholds the punishment we deserve.
Defending Your Faith