Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What if there IS a God(s)?

What if I die and find myself thrust into a divine world and placed before God for judgement? What if all my calculations were wrong, and I was supposed to suspend my reason and live a life of blind faith?

This is a challenge brought to many atheists, and indeed, I have asked myself this very question.

As a formally religious person, there remains in me fragments of faith and so, I take this question a step further and live my life by a certain maxim: No matter what I do in life, I want to be able to face God (if he exists) at the end of days and present him with a coherent answer for all my actions.

However, I have given up on the truth of my faith, or any system which does not see reason as the way of determining fact validity, and so, the question from above (pun intended) persists: What if I'm wrong?

Of course, every religious person should ask himself this very question. After all, there have been thousands of gods worshiped since the beginning of time. The chances that out of the thousands of gods you either guessed correctly, in the case of converts, or happened to be born into the right faith, in the case of most believers, are incredibly slim.

This is the obvious counter-argument to the famous wager of Blaise Pascal. Pascal's wager which reads that it is more rational to live with the belief in God. Since it is a 50/50 chance whether he does or does not exist, it is the most rational conclusion to choose belief. If you are wrong you die and nothing happens, but if you are right you enjoy an eternity of happiness.

Of course, he seemingly did not consider the fact that perhaps his faith was misplaced and that another god was the true god and would now punish him for all eternity for his mistaken belief. As I said, the probability that one guessed right out of the thousands of choices are very difficult odds indeed.

In reality, therefore, whether religious or not all must have an answer prepared for the "day of reckoning." Now, before I continue I must say: This is not an important question! We humans must live our lives with what we can see and feel, we cannot challenge the very essence of our knowledge with fantastical unproven claims. I cannot allow some fear of hell to interfere with my philosophical or scientific mode of thought.

However, as I said, it is a question posed to, and thought about by many atheists, I therefore feel as if it is worthy of a response albeit a brief one.

If there is a God(s) I will say to him/her/them: I am sorry that I did not believe in you. How was I supposed to? You allowed so many people to declare mutually exclusive faiths that I was left with no one to follow. Why did you create reason, if in order to believe in you, one had to abandon it? Why did you give me an intellect powerful enough to destroy you? Why did you hide yourself in such an absolute manner if you wanted my complete devotion?

I should hope that any god worth believing in, would accept my honesty. I hope that the god(s) will be happier that I used the reason given to me to create the most truthful existence that I could. I hope god(s) will admire that even when faced with the dark cloud of doubt, I ventured forth pursuing, above all else, truth.

I am aware, however, that I might be sent to hell by Zeus or Ra or Baal or Molech or Chang Hsi or Dionysus or Epona or Fenrir or Horus or Jupiter or Lakshmi or Marduk or Odin or Si-Wang Mu or of course, the Abrahamic God, the popular God of the last few centuries, who either agrees with Moses, Jesus, or Mohammad. (For the readers sake I did not write all the gods listed.)

That is a chance I am willing, or rather compelled, to take.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Stab at Poetry - A Tale of Misery

A Tale of Misery

What purpose hath man if it all comes to this,
a tale of misery that ends in abyss?
For naught does the wise seek,
day brings day and lesser his heart beats.

Sought did I, all paths of men.
Alas they are spent, and hearts broken.
For land is tossed only to bring winter winds.
Man’s place of ending is where he begins.
Sweat seeps forth only to be transformed to tears
Man’s joys are soon vanquished by the shadow of fear.

Yet ever we search; mankind’s cruel game,
generations return from whence the former came.
The path is far too beaten paved by the steps of tens.
Questioning are their minds and ever the trail bends.

Something! There must be something more!
But with every escape, comes another door.
On and on the endless chase,
the body of dust is pushed in haste.
To sit, relax, and to finally die must
yet the hunger, the thirst, forever tortures us.

If man is as beast a conclusion must be made,
that man's endless search indeed ends in the grave.
Yet, if I find that there exists the Ultimate good,
forever man’s journey will remain to me understood.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Noble Question Mark

If you were born yesterday, with your mind and ability to reason as strong as it is today, would you believe everything that you have believed in until now?

Since we were born, our intellect as been swarmed by outside influences, convincing us how and in what to believe. Way before our ability to reason, in fact, even before we knew that we possessed an intellect, our mind was capturing data practically without a filter. Everything sank in to our subconscious and shaped how we were going to think and interact with the world. This process is still taking place at this very moment.

This understanding, which is known to all, should make us deeply suspicious of what we claim to know, or in what we believe. Had you been born into a different family, in a different time, would you not see the world in a completely different manner? Can you really trust your beliefs, if, had you been born into your enemy, you would have waged war against those very beliefs?

It is for this reason that I am, or am trying to become, a rationalist. I say "or trying to become," because I am aware that there is a good chance that a lot of the way I think is directly correlated to the circumstances in which I was raised. I know that much of what I find important is a product of what I saw and heard beginning as early as my infancy, and thus, my ability to reason may be flawed.

However, the advantage of rationalism is that it is open to outside critique. It is open for debate. One can, and I always encourage it, argue with my every word. As the old adage goes: two minds are better than one. If those two minds are of different opinions, the clarity of thought that they will produce will most likely be far greater than that of a thousand minds who agree. Healthy discourse between mankind is the only way to reach some understanding of reality. If two people are committed to reason as a guide, they will be able to penetrate and escape the blind influences of their upbringing, and reach ever-nearer to the Truth.

When man grasps tightly to what he knows to be true -- what he was taught to be true -- without considering whether it is rational or not, the result is warfare. Until people are willing to challenge everything they know and believe, they certainly cannot claim that any of their beliefs are true; only that they believe them to be. Some of the greatest immoralities have been committed by unquestioning sheep "following orders."

There is a place for faith, as there is for love, but reason must precede it! Just as we expect the abused spouse to realize that their feelings of love for their other are not products of reason, but wild untamed emotion, so to, must we hope for the religious dogmatists who commit heinous crimes in the name of their faith. Any system claiming to have divine inspiration must be placed under meticulous scrutiny. Especially those systems that cause it's adherents to harm or hate others. Before accepting what we were taught, let us examine the teaching, and require the teachers to present evidence.

Imagine if all religions would wait until a person reached an age where he could reason, before presenting the precepts of the religion to him. I don't know if it would be the end of religion -- indeed many people convert to religion at older ages -- but in would be the end of blind religious obedience.

Belief, as I have said and explained in previous posts, is not a choice. It is a by-product of one's surroundings. We believe -- much of the time -- what our parents, community, country, and era believe. The question then, is not why you believe, but rather why don't you doubt what you believe?

This is a very difficult challenge indeed. It is to place an enormous question mark on all that you believe to be true. It is to have the courage to face the unknown, and after much mental labor create your own reasonable conclusion. Of course, most people would not be able to make claims about a lot of things, for who has the time to study every aspect of human life. This would not be a bad thing. The ignorant man with a closed mouth is respected, the opened mouth ignoramus is contemptible. Doubt can make the man uncomfortable, but dogma can destroy the world.

Any person who wishes to live a life of truth, must not be afraid to venture into the world of doubt. The honest question mark is far more noble than an inadequate period.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Why I Don't Believe pt. III

See prior to posts in this series here: Why I Don't Believe pt. I and here: Why I Don't Believe pt. II

Ungodly Morals

Perhaps the most difficult aspect for me has been the task of trying to discover a moral code outside of religion. In fact, this is the most repeated attack against the atheist community by the religious. "Why be moral if there is no God?" 

I once heard a powerful quote of an anonymous author: "You don't need religion to have morals. If you can't determine right from wrong, than you lack empathy not religion." 

While this does not fully answer the question by any means, it certainly quiets the attackers by reminding them that if the only real reason they are moral is to please God, they need to spend more time correcting their ethical character than criticizing non-believers. 

I will not attempt in this post to tally the number of dead bodies by either the hands of the religious or atheistic communities throughout history, for that is neither the point of this post, nor in anyway a reason to believe or not. People kill. Sometimes while muttering a name of a deity and sometimes while muttering a national ideal. As this post is titled: Why I Don't Believe, I will focus on the points that effect me personally.

Before we attempt to answer the question of why be moral in the face of godlessness, we must ask: How can we define morality without a divine code of ethics? 

I once heard Sam Harris in lecture at Oxford University give over what he felt could act as a way to know what is a good act and a bad one. He said that if we could imagine the worst possible misery for everybody and everything, for every second, without relent until the end of Earth's existence, that would be Bad. Once bad was defined, he said, we could start a continuum, and everything that brings us closer to this misery was bad and anything that furthered us from it was Good.

[For a deeper and far more articulate explanation of this concept, read the book by Sam Harris titled: The Moral Landscape. In it, Harris answers with careful all-inclusive analysis, the question raised above. Truly a remarkable piece of philosophical and scientific writing.]

Of course this is not a perfect system, and there may be moral dilemmas that would be very difficult to discern right from wrong, but it is a system bound in reason. Every conclusion can be analyzed, and critiqued, nothing is divine and therefore can change, as science, and human reason progress.  

Even if one were to posit that without a religion declaring the chosen word of God we will always be in a world of moral relativism, I shall declare: Would that be so bad?

Let us assume, for a moment, that this is correct, then I ask you: Is any system good enough? Is it not cowardly to retreat to a religion, any religion, so as not be in the uncomfortable reality of relativism? How far would you go in order to dwell in the Absolute? Would you kill infidels? The question is not meant to attack any specific religion, but to point out the fact that saying that the worst case scenario is moral relativism is saying you will accept any system so long as it is not relative. 

Of course one may retort that he would never pick to believe in an immoral religion, and I need not patronize my readers with the glaring circular logic in such a statement. 

What does moral relativism really mean? It means that as painful as it might be we cannot say: Hitler was evil. It means that we always must remember the clause: "He is evil, but only in my perception." I can see why many people retreat from such a claim. 

Even if that were the case, however, we can still conduct ourselves morally. We could still --using reason-- determine what we found to be right and wrong. In fact, since religion could not possibly preempt every moral dilemma that would face man, many is the time when even the most scholarly of believers must resort to reason to answer a moral conundrum. What we lose essentially, in a world of moral relativism, is our damning rights. 

Yet, the question from the beginning of the post persists: Whether or not we can determine right from wrong, is there any reason to act morally in a godless world? Is there any reason to act in a moral fashion if we are truly just evolved primates seeking to survive? In the end of the day, why shouldn't man act as a beast, seeking pleasure, and destroying anything in his path. 

[Notice the question here is not, "Can we be moral," or "Are atheists moral," both of these are proven by the mere fact that there are many atheists that I would trust with my life, and who are incredible examples of human ethical behavior.]

The simple answer, perhaps ironically, is: Self-Interest. Unlike the beasts of the field, man has an intellect which informs him that if he would act as a beast, and everyone follows suit, society would crumble and his own hopes for survival diminish. He will be left hoping that he is stronger or faster than the next threat. The civilized world would collapse as would most, if not all, of the human race. His morality is then, the most reasonable act known to us, that of self-preservation.     

The question that immediately follows this answer is: What about altruism? Even if it is in man's self interest to not commit crimes, what logic could ever motivate him to helping his fellow man? Why should I help the needy who will never, because I did in it anonymously, be able to repay my deeds? Again, the question is not whether people can act altruistically or not, but rather is there any reason I shouldn't fight the urge to help the poor? Why shouldn't I strengthen my character, so to speak, and harden my resolve against being swept up by their pleas?

And again I answer: Self-Interest. Everyone must ask themselves, in which world would I rather live: A world in which the rich help the poor or a world of cold selfishness? Today I may be the one with money in my pocket, but any person who has lived for even a short time knows that tomorrow I may be the one with the open hand and downcast eyes.  

I will further say that most religiously motivated acts of ethical behavior are, in their deepest essence, acts of self-interest. The believer says: Since God is watching all man's deeds, God will reward or punish me according to my deeds. He therefore, will be motivated out of self interest to act in accordance with his God's will. 

Therefore, both the theist and atheist have a the same reason to act in a moral way: The protection of the Self. For the atheist it is protection in this world, for the theist, the next.   

Of course, in reality many of us -- theists and atheists alike -- act morally, not out of conscience self interest but because something inside of us demands us to. We are compelled, and beautifully so, to help raise the downtrodden and look out for one another. The religious would say that this is the soul of man, always urging him to goodness. The evolutionist would say that these are misfirings of our primal state. Regardless of why we are, it is clear that mankind is generally trying to pursue goodness. I do not mean to sound as though I am diminishing all acts of kindness and self-sacrifice to the base need to protect oneself.

What I am venturing to answer here, however, is the "why be moral," not the "are we moral?" The why question doesn't care that we are moral -- perhaps because of our very nature -- but attempts to claim that it would seem to be an act of great irrationality to perpetuate such morals. I have shown, I hope, to the contrary. I posit that any man, using reason, can understand the great importance of moral behavior and finds no need to accept -- on this basis -- a religion.

Defining Good and Evil may be difficult without the two tablets. It may require great strides of reason in order to determine whether an action is moral or not. It will change, as our perception changes. Yet, I see this system -- a system which uses reason as it's guide -- as a far better system than unverifiable claims of God's will. Whereas the former admits to being man-made and therefore flawed and subject to correction, the latter being supposedly divinely inspired will never change and can, in effect, cause great harm to humanity's progress. As to the question of the "why be moral" I have shown that there is great logic to motivate our good deeds, even our altruistic ones. 

Once again, the question of morality is a challenge to atheism, a challenge to godlessness, but not it's demise.

Since I do not need to retreat to religion to understand good and evil, nor do I need religion to motivate me, I do not believe. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why I Don't Believe pt. II

It is best to start from part one of this series: Why I Don't Believe pt. I

God and the Meaning of Life

As I stated in the previous post, I do not believe in God for the simple reason that, to do so one needs to, at some point, abandon reason. Since in every other aspect of my life I attempt to act in a way that reflects reason, why would my belief in a deity be any different?

However, the case can be made that the idea of "God" gives man a reason to live. God offers man meaning, and a sense of purpose. God answers life's most challenging questions. One need not ask: "Why am I here?" if he knows God created him for a designated purpose. God gives man the ultimate meaning that can surpass all suffering. God can help man weather any storm since he knows he is being watched and protected. It can help man face the cold reality of death, knowing that soon he will enter a new realm, and that it is not the end. God is a friend to the sick, a shield to the warrior, and a purpose to the philosopher. God is, seemingly, everything.

One can then say, if the idea of God gives man so much, who cares if he really exists? As strange as this claim is, I have heard it many times. Many believers when challenged as to why they believe resort to this answer, which I imagine they think to be profound. It is, however, brutally honest, and there is a lot to respect in honesty.

Many men fear a godless life. I have felt this fear as well. This fear has caused me to hold on to some of the fragments of my faith, even if they are pushed the deep corners of my mind. It is truly comforting to know that maybe, just maybe, there really is a purpose to this relatively tiny planet orbiting a enormous fireball. I imagine, when confronted with great suffering, many staunch atheists, entertain the idea that maybe God really is there, however brief this thought may be.

Since God's existence is quite desirable, perhaps then, I should suspend my reason, if only this once, and indulge in a God-filled existence? Firstly, is this really possible? Can one, at will, begin believing in something simply because it adds something to his life? I posit that one cannot.

As an experiment: Take Santa Claus, for example. Everybody knows there is no such person living in the North Pole who comes to our houses on Christmas eve and delivers presents through our chimney.Though a fun myth to tell kids, this is certainly something of which you do not believe. Now, start believing in it. When I write "believe", I mean that now you know without doubt that Santa exists in all his glory that he does, in fact, visit the homes of the good children and brings them presents. Could you do it? Could you believe at will? I imagine you could not. Belief is not a choice, it is a result of something else. It is not something you do, but something that happens to you.

However, perhaps one can lead himself to the place of belief. For example, if someone attends a church service every week, constantly reads literature on Christianity, and completely immerses in it, there is a good chance that he will become a believer. So perhaps, I should take on this method  and re-establish my belief in God in order to have a ultimately meaningful life?

I can understand why man in times of insurmountable struggling may revert to this method of suspended reason, but is this, even if it is possible to do, a healthy way to confront life?

When a loved one dies perhaps the mourner may begin to believe he hears the deceased whispering to him from his bedroom window, this may help him to cope. We, who are not dwelling in his pain can not judge him, yet on an objective level, would we say that he is in a healthy state of mind? Certainly, we hope that a good friend of his can help him through his misery, and eventually he can rid himself of such delusions.

God, though he certainly offers comfort to the tragedies that befall man, cannot or rather should not, be accepted simply based on this fact.

It is certainly a very difficult task to face life for what we can see it to be, but it seems that all would agree it is the healthiest state of mind.

In addition to this, I do not think that a non-believer can't live a meaningful life. This is certainly not the case. Though, I am aware of the question of Ultimate Meaning: Can there be ultimate meaning in a reality void of God? If so, what is this ultimate meaning? And if not, can there be any real meaning without ultimate meaning. I have yet to answer these questions. It is a challenging question, one my mind is deeply confounded by; but it is not a reason to give up, switch off my mind, and accept God, simply because it is the easiest way to answer these profound inquiries into human life.

As not to come off as arrogant, as always is my fear, I will include here that I know there are many religious people who do not believe simply because it allows them to answer these questions. I know many religious people would not make this their case for God. It is a claim, however, that I hear repeatedly and therefore feel it necessary to write the response to why I do not accept God based on the fact that he gives man a sense of ultimate purpose.

Though God is a comforting friend in times of darkness, I do not see it to be healthy to create delusions that warp my view of reality no matter the result, therefore I do not believe.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Why I Don't Believe pt. I

Is God Reasonable?

I feel that though my blog has been an accurate journal of my thoughts and feelings revealing the man behind the doubt; I feel compelled to explain to my readers and more importantly, my future self, what it is that turned me away from faith in God, and not just how I feel.

The God of the theist, as he is known today, is a Being of absolute omnipotence. He is infinite and lacking nothing. He created and sustains all life and matter in the universe and beyond. He created everything for a purpose and protects and attends to all matter from the largest galaxy to the crawling worm. In him, we must place our trust and love. We must devote all the days of our lives in service to him, as he is our king.

Now, all religions have the their methods of service, laws, and practices. Each one -- claiming to know the Divine will -- has established complex systems that are to be studied and carried out by all it's adherents. I will not, at this point, delve into the many differences between the religions of today as I have neither time, interest, nor the necessary knowledge.

The question here is why I chose to abandon my faith in God in the first place.

I remember when I believed in God. I knew with absolute certainty that my God was the true God and all other gods were products of fabrications and mass delusion. However, after viewing the dedication of members of other faiths, I became perplexed as to how I was to know that my inner knowledge was, well, right.

Indeed, the Christian and Muslim would die for their faith as I would have died for mine, how then, was I to prove that my feelings were superior to theirs. As I declared that I was God's chosen, they too exclaimed the same.

In search of the answer, I did what any self-respecting believer has done at one point in his life; I ventured to see why -- using the method of reason and logic -- my faith trumped the others.

Of course this led me to the necessary follow-up question: "Even if I could prove that my religion was more logical than the other religions, how do I know that any of them are right? Perhaps God only communicated to special people in secret? Perhaps he is a sadistic god who thrives on cruelty? Perhaps he is a god who simply does not care? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps... Perhaps he doesn't exist at all? I remember being stricken with fear when this conclusion crossed my mind.

After much contemplation, I concluded quite obviously, that there simply was no objective truth. To quote the brilliant German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: “There are many kinds of eyes. Even the sphinx has eyes - and consequently there are many kinds of 'truths,' and consequently there is no truth.” To be clear, there is of course, a Truth. Either there is or is not a God, a truth known only, unfortunately for us, to the deceased.

For the living, we must accept, that "truth" is only a hunch based on a varying number of factors, some better than others. My truth is not better than your truth, unless I can present my truth using an agreed upon method (ie. Reason) to be superior to your truth.

Reason is a guide for most people today. By it's laws we can manage, or attempt to manage, every aspect of our lives. We create civilized societies, discover secrets of the universe and converse with our fellow man all using Reason as a guiding force. Indeed, many scholars say that it is our supreme ability to reason that sets us apart from the animal kingdom. Our ability to reason has propelled mankind from the tribal evolved primates that once scurried around the planet to societies that have walked on the moon.

This, therefore, became my standard for accepting or rejecting God. Could the existence of God be proved using the method of reason? Certainly there have been many grand attempts, all of which, in my studies, have been debunked or at the very least replaced for other, more reasonable, theories.

God is an unfalsifiable claim. His very nature of Otherness requires us not to be able to perceive him! He is the wholly other. Absolutely incomprehensible. Thus, God is not to be found through the method of reason. How then am I to find him?

Through the miracles? Whose miracles? Which religion does not have a bag full of stories that were perceived as divine intervention? Which religion does not have miracles that testify to it's truth? Aren't their always more reasonable theories that would fit our general sensory perception of reality better?

That may be the most important point. When seemingly miraculous events occur, or have been said to have occurred,  isn't there always a theory that doesn't need God to explain it? Isn't the "our world" theory, which no doubt is a product of reasonable deduction, always more desirable than one that creates a supernatural being? Well, maybe not always more desirable --  but certainly more reasonable.

This, then, was what turned me away or rather made me deeply suspicious of my "knowledge" of God's (my God's) existence. If I could not prove him using reason, then no matter what I felt in my heart to be true, I could not say that I knew it to be.

I can only claim to know that which I can reasonably prove. God is not able to be proven through reason. Therefore, I do not believe.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Holocaust Collides with God

The following is a recording of an event that took place to me last Friday night:

I sit in the synagogue, my prayer book before me. It is open, but I do not read from it. Instead, I am reading a book by Viktor Frankl titled: Man's Search for Meaning. It begins with him describing his experience as a prisoner in the concentration camps. It is raw. His goal is not to sadden the heart -- it is to psychoanalyze the mental state of the prisoner -- yet my heart is weeping.

Along with the sadness, I feel rage. When confronted with the Holocaust I am usually left in rage. So incomprehensible is it's horror that I become enveloped in a childish anger which stems, I believe, from a sense of helplessness.

As I read the heart wrenching words, behind me I hear the congregation has begun singing the "kabalat shabbat," the prayer welcoming in the Sabbath eve.

"Come! -- Let us sing to God, let us call out to the Rock of our salvation." 

The room is full of song.

I read how Viktor had to endure tortures beyond my wildest imaginations, and wave after wave of praise for the great Almighty God, wash over me.

"Sing to God a new song, sing to God -- everyone of earth. Sing to God bless his name, announce his salvation daily." 

I feel as though I want to scream. "Salvation?" What of the children he let be gassed; what of the men and women who starved? Why didn't he save them?

"...righteousness and justice are his throne's foundation."

When babies are murdered can he who let it happen, can he who could have prevented it, be called just?

The songs wash over me, filled with devotion and love. The men sing with full hearts. They pour out their undying love for God. And I sit enraged.

I do not see why anyone would want to praise a being who although able to save lives, allows them to suffer and die? I do not believe in God, but even if I did, why is he deserving of my love? If he truly exists, and is the master of all things, surely I must fear him, perhaps obey him, but praise him?!

Ah yes, what of the goodness he supposedly bestows upon me? Perhaps for that I should praise him? Well, consider a doctor who saved my life, but who lets the man in the hospital bed beside me die in agony, even though he could have prevented it. Should I praise such a doctor?

Perhaps I do not understand his plan? Perhaps there is a great master plot of which I am ignorant? Perhaps. So over the murdered babies I should rejoice? Over death of the innocent I should be filled with glad song? If God is good, and his actions are all ultimately good, then why be sad over a Holocaust? It is all for a master plan of goodness.

Perhaps, he is punishing us. Perhaps the children were murdered because their parents didn't follow in-step with the will of God? I know you don't think that any just God would be guilty of such haphazard punishment, at least I hope you don't.

This post was written as a record of the emotional feelings that sprang to my mind as these two worlds -- the darkness of the Holocaust and the praising of God -- collided. I know that any religious person, who has ever considered the question of evil and God, has his own answers for the challenges mentioned above. I do not mean to come off as arrogant or as claiming that religious people are not sensitive to the horrors of the Holocaust or of any other human calamity. I know many of the faithful struggle in the face of evil, and that they have felt deep anger at God for his seeming complacency.

No, these are not new questions. They are not some great inpenetrable logic that erases the probability of God.  Alas, they are but outpourings of a sensitive agnostic heart. Please read them, not as an offense to belief, but as a challenge. These are not the words of a hater of religion, but of a hater of suffering.

It is these questions and others written in this blog that distance me from the God that is worshiped today.

I will leave off with the question of God and evil, with the powerful challenge of the Greek philosopher Epicurus:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”