Luke “The Common Sense Atheist” has a new essay, Arguing About Evil.
After evaluating "Plantinga’s Free Will Defense" in favor of God, Luke writes…
Even if this is possible, it only explains a world in which there is some evil, not so much evil as we see in this world. In fact, it is easy to give examples of how God could have made a less evil world without ending human freedom. For example, he could have tweaked Hitler’s genes such that he still could have freely chosen the life of a fascist warmonger, but he would have been much more likely to freely choose the life of a peaceful gardener… Doesn’t the sheer abundance of evil in the world at least make God’s existence improbable?
I wrote back…
Even though I believe in God, I share the concern of atheists on this issue. The problem of evil is vexing. And more importantly – to paraphrase you, Luke – the problem is not just the mere existence of evil, but the vast amount of it. “Why so much, God?”
Where do I stand on this issue? Well, I’m tempted to say that even while God’s ways are mysterious, “We should have faith in God, because we know through Reason that God is worthy of that faith.” However, I’m sure many people would find that unfulfilling, and I don’t blame them. So I’ll try again…
We should be open to the possibility that God is not perfect, and more importantly, we should be open to the possibility that God WANTS us to acknowledge his imperfection.
When he’s made mistakes, he wants us to join him in an act of co-creation to fix them. And when he’s made gross mistakes – serious moral errors – then he invites us to do what we do for any worthy human being in that situation: Forgive Him!
Yes, forgive God! Seriously. I realize that’s a speculative, controversial idea, and I’m certainly open-minded to better alternatives. But atheism, in my opinion, is NOT one of those better alternatives. Why? Because it is false.
To this day, I still think my idea of “forgiving God” is the most controversial idea in The Mustard Seed.