The quest as to whether a good and benevolent God exists is a philosophical question inwhich both theists and atheists have invested greatly. For a theist, a good and benevolent God exists; a God absolutely committed to goodness and merciness.
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On the other hand, atheist holds the position that evil experienced in the world is a clear indication that either this world is not the best to live or there is no such being as “good and benevolent god”. The aim of this paper therefore, is to show that, the presence of evil in the world does not in any way contradict the existence of a benevolent God.
For atheists, evil is intrinsically opposed to absolute good. There is so much evil in the world! Therefore, there is no absolute good in the world. What this argument means is that, evil and absolute good cannot coexist at the same time in the same manner. Therefore, it is rationally plausible that, either there is an absolute good in the world; hence God exists, or this world is not the best because evil is witnessed in it; thus God does not exist.
And since it is incontestable, that there is evil in this world, therefore atheists conclude that God does not exist. If God exists, than he is not as good and benevolent as purported by theists, or God is either a sadist or incapable of controlling what he is alleged to have created. For atheists, this forms the fundamental argument against the existence of a good and benevolent God.
Conversely, theists argue that this world is the best because it is created by a benevolent God. And evil experienced in the world is used by God to achieve some good. That God is so powerful that he can use any means whatsoever as long as some intended good is achieved. Therefore, the presence of evil in the world does not in any way whatsoever contradicts the existence of a benevolent God.
Both arguments are logically conceivable, and both contestants can argue their case infinitely. However, atheists have raised a very strong logical objection as to whether God exists, and if he does is he good? They argue that the world is full of evil of all kind. For instance, parents who die in a road accident leaving behind a day old baby, or HIV virus that is claiming many lives. If there is God, then is he so careless as to just sit watching at all these evil happenings without even lifting a finger to evade them?
The objection from atheists is very logical and convincing. This is because it is illogical to think that absolute good and evil can coexist. However, the case argued by theists is equally strong because if God is not limited by anything, then he may use what is perceived as evil to bring greater intended good. For example, if a man prays for his flight only to go to air port and find the plane has left, such a man sees evil but only when the plane crashes killing everyone, that man is able to see good.
The theist position would be challenged with such questions as; who created evil? And whether God at the point of creation foresaw the imminent evil in the world, and if so why did he allow it?
Despite of such heated debate, it is evident that there is so much good in the world as compared to evil. Therefore, a few cases of evil are not enough to conclude that God does not exist.