As I Please

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One Piece of Evidence That There Is No God

Or more precisely that there is no God in the traditional Western sense of being benevolent and all-powerful. This morning I went for a plateletpheresis donation, more than ten years after my first donation in which it turned out that my platelets collected were less than perfect and so rejected, though after several visits to a haemotologist I was assured that this meant no health problems for myself. A few months I was called by Canadian Blood Services and asked to try again, since my platelets may well have come up to the level required for donation. This time within five minutes of the procedure (the last time it was within a week) I was informed that my platelet count was insufficient and that it was pointless to try again at a future date. Even though I had lost a small amount of red cells in the process I would not be able to make another whole blood donation for 56 days.
My point, and I do have one (as Ellen DeGeneres would say) is this: If we assume the existence of a benevolent, all-powerful deity, at any time in the intervening years between my last apheresis attempt and today's, He could have improved my platelets so that I could donate and thereby help the cancer and other patients who have developed an intolerance for whole blood donations. It would not have been considered a miracle and therefore not an event that would have overcome the lack of knowledge of God's existence that, so it is argued, God Himself desires so as to ensure we have the freedom to choose whether or not to believe in His existence. Putting aside the question of why a benevolent, all-powerful God would permit cancer in the first place, what possible purpose could be served by denying me the capacity to help my fellow beings when so enabling me could be done without endangering human free-will? Perhaps one could justify God permitting the actions of the mentally ill murderer at Virginia Tech on the basis of the free-will defence, assuming that that mental illness had no organic causes (is that possible?), but I see no justification for this.
While I have been for the past several years an agnostic, I have also been in relative terms an atheist, relative that is to the existence of a God who is both loving of humankind and omnipotent. Today I have yet another example to confirm my position. To my mind traditional Western theists have never satisfactorily answered the question put over two thousand years ago by the Greek philosopher Epicurus: Either God is willing to take away evil but is unable, then He is not omnipotent; or He is able but unwilling, then He is not benevolent; or He is both able and willing; why then is there evil?


Post a Comment

<< Home