Monday, July 8, 2013

Free Will and the Problem of Evil

The other day, I ran into a proselytizing Christian (a rare breed, I know), who was attempting to defend the problem of evil (Why doesn't God intercede to stop bad things if he's omnipotent and benevolent?), by quoting the typical "Well, he gave us free will, and it's our choice to do evil" argument.

Of course, this has never made sense to me, but I think I've found a way to more clearly explain the problem.


People use their free will to get into bad situations, and God supposedly helps some of them out sometimes - like miners trapped in a mine, or people who voluntarily took a flight in shoddy weather and ended up in a crashed airplane, but most survived.

How is orchestration of survivors not a violation of free will? If God can't violate our free will, doesn't that mean that he can't interfere at all with human affairs? Wouldn't even the mildest miracle, like Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich, influence people?

After all, "Free will" is cited for why God can't provide any actual evidence of his existence, right?

This version of God would basically be deistic; his hands bound by his own rules.


There's a way to orchestrate aid to people without violating anyone's free will. Meaning, that rapist who's exercising his/her free will to rape a victim could be thwarted in such a way as to not violate anyone's free will... like trapped miners can be helped without violating theirs.

... like ensuring that the events of a police officer's day cause him/her to be in the area of the potential crime, and be able to render assistance.

 God, in this light, has lost all excuse for not helping those in need.

At the end of the day, these concepts of non-interference due to free will (which God decided for no apparent reason would be a bad thing, even though cops do it all the time), and miracles and other influences, are mutually exclusive.

Choose one (or neither).

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