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answering skeptic's argument against the existence of God

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 12:53 pm
by will
Thought you might find this interesting.


I imagine most of us have heard the argument against the existence of God in a fashion similar to what I give below which is from a skeptic's website. I would appreciate any feedback on this argument. What are the fallacies in such an argument? What response would you give? What is the best way to handle such arguments? It can be, and has been, a very convincing argument for many, especially since it appeals to the emotion. Any comments would be appreciated.

The argument:
Prayer would be unnecessary if there were an all-knowing, all-good, and all-powerful God. Let's suppose that the most gifted doctor in the world happens to be your friend. This doctor has the ability to cure any sickness known to modern medicine. Let's also suppose that this doctor is living with your family, which includes a six-month-old baby. Now if this infant were to become violently ill in the presence of this super-doctor, what would you expect from him? If the baby is choking, for example, you would expect him to use techniques that will relieve the baby's problem. You would not expect him to ask you first if you believed that he could cure your child before he was willing to help the child. You would not expect him to require you to show how much faith you had in him before he would help your child. What you would expect is for this super-doctor to act as soon as he sees the child choking. Let's also suppose that this doctor has the ability to prevent cancer in all children anywhere in the world even before it occurs. Undoubtedly, you would expect that if he had this ability then he would use it, if he really fits our definition of "good." But if the doctor has this ability, and does use it, then you would not expect there to be any cases of infantile cancer in the world. If this super-doctor has this ability, then he should not wait for anyone to ask him to prevent the suffering of children with cancer. We would expect him to act immediately out of pure goodness. Similarly, an all-good God would not want anyone to suffer. An all-knowing God would know who would suffer ahead of time, and an all-powerful God could prevent suffering before it happens. Thus, if there were an all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful God, then there would be no need for prayer in the first place, especially if the prayer is used to alleviate illnesses or any other type of suffering.

working on a *concise* answer

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 1:40 pm
by m273p15c
Yes, that's a fairly common argument. I have never developed a concise answer, but I think there are at least a few relevant points:
  • The world was good until man sinned (Genesis 3:16-24).
  • God cursed the world as punishment, but ultimately in hope of corralling man toward Him (Romans 8:20; Acts 17:26-27).
  • This earthly life is just the beginning, not the end. Heaven makes up for all evils suffered here (Romans 8:18; II Corinthians 4:16-5:4).
  • Innocent children go to heaven, unconditionally (Matthew 18:3-5, 10).
What do you think?