Out of the 200 plus 1-3 hour Christian apologetic debates I have listened to, nearly every day for the past couple of years, most of those have included atheists, agnostics, evolutionists etc. on the other (about 20% have been inter-Christian debates on contending doctrinal matters) . . . .
I can say in practically every instance so far, the atheist eventually devolves (yes, I believe in DEVOlution) into a shrieking high school sophomore pounding the table, sneering epithets at the Christian, yelling, "What about the holocaust!? How could a "good" God allow so much evil and suffering in the world!?" . . . or something to that effect . . . . .
The slightly alarming part of it, also in every case (So far that I've heard) is the strange inability of atheists to understand that . . . in the atheististic, purely "naturalist" materialistic world . . . THERE IS NO EVIL! Yet, these spiritual moles will carry on and on, and often with great passion and intention, that there is too much suffering in the world, and too much going wrong . . . too much "evil" etc., that surely no God would have made such a place and, if He did, "then I don't want to believe in a God like that!"
It never ceases to amaze me that the atheist cannot seem to grasp that he doesn't get to use words like "evil" . . . "wrong" . . . "right" . . . in his naturalistic world. For in his world . . . there are no transcendent morals--no objective "right" and "wrong" . . . . But at the most, only preferences . . . . Which philosophy--as history has shown time and again--leads to inexorably to blunt, might makes right, totalitarian dictatorship . . . and the worst suffering and evil the world has known, if you want to talk about human suffering . . . .
When I was in law school, and the professors were extolling the progression of our country's law from having a basis in "natural law" . . . into "positive law" . . . I use to shudder. Natural law says there ARE absolute rights and wrongs . . . that rights are God-given, inherent . . . NOT granted from or by the state . . . derived from God, primarily as given in the 10 Commandments (as to the moral) but also discoverable in nature and ongoing human concourse. Hence, the importance of the Constitution--written law--and living under a "rule of law", rather than a (capricious--depending on the benevolent or cruel ruler) "rule of men" . . . . .
Communism is a system of "positive law" . . . . Whatever serves "the revolution" is good, whatever opposes it is "bad." The "law" may be adjusted, depending on "circumstances" to further the goals of the leadership of the "party."
Positive law--which is the kind of law that we are increasingly living under . . . .
"Positive law" . . . says there really is no ultimate "right or wrong" . . . and just like atheism, says basically that whatever is the consensus . . . ought to be the law. And that might change, according to the changing culture and morays. Hence, the definition of marriage being changed to "fit with the times" and modern "progressive" thought. Positivism/progressivism always assumes, like evolution, that we are advancing to a better state, a "higher" development . . . .
Biblical teaching, conversely, says that we have devolved, deteriorated from a better state (that of the Garden) . . . .
I realized in law school--and even argued my case in papers and with professors--that "positive" law . . . is an inevitable disaster . . . and clearly unmoored from the reality that there ARE "right and wrongs" . . . there IS "good and evil" beyond just what current society determines by popular vote or by some "intelligentsia"--some "progressive" ruling class . . . .
For instance, I argued, what if . . . some day it became a majority opinion . . . that . . . raping and torturing little babies and children . . . is not only a "good" thing . . . but a required thing . . . for the "advancement" of society . . . . Are you seriously going to argue that . . . indeed, there is nothing inherently wrong with that? The atheist . . . the naturalist . . . would have to say, "Correct. There is nothing absolutely right or wrong, good or evil about that. If the preference of society were that the highest "good" is found if we are all required to rape and torture children, then WHO is to say that it is not "right?"
ONLY when you have a transcendent Law giver and judge . . . do we have an anchor, a final authority . . . on what is right/wrong . . . good/evil . . . .
But the atheists, when arguing and complaining about how God made the world, versus how THEY think it ought to have been made (their hubris here always cracks me up, lol) always resort to using terms of morality and judgment when advancing their case, even though, in their world, there IS no morality, no ultimate judgment . . . no ultimate meaning or purpose . . . . And I am always wondering why they even bother to care? If everything ends in annihilation--at the very least, each individual life . . . then who bothers to get up and operate in the world, work, play, have relationships . . . as if there were purpose and meaning. Sorry, I just don't believe and cannot see . . . in any way . . . that purely materialistic, evolved animal, chemical, energy and matter automatons . . . would ever be bothering about much of anything. And I can see, quite obviously, that the atheist does NOT live as though there is no ultimate meaning. They do NOT live as though everything is relative, that there is no "truth" . . . that right and wrong, good and bad . . . are mere "evolved animal" conventions . . . . .
I don't care how lettered with Ph.D's and doctorates . . . or how many books they've written or conferences headed . . . or the erudition of their words . . . . In EVERY debate I have heard between a Christian and an atheist, creationist versus a scientist . . . it ALWAYS (so far) has boiled down to . . . something resembling a lot of stoned or drunk debates I recall witnessing in high school, in the corner of some room at a party . . . . The atheist . . . simply doesn't like the Christian God--has a better idea of how the world OUGHT to have been created . . . and can't comprehend why there is so much suffering--the "problem of evil."
What they also can't seem to comprehend . . . because they don't want to, I suspect . . . is the proposition that this life is not about . . . simply being "happy" and avoiding suffering.
Yep. What if this life is not ABOUT . . . just being "happy" . . . or "having a good life" ?
Indeed, if that were only the purpose, or the only purpose of life, then yes, this seems to be a messed up world and quite unfair.
BUT . . . if the purpose . . . of this creation . . . is to "glorify" the God . . . and . . . for his creatures to be able to live perfectly in His presence forever . . . then, it might just be that . . . a world mixed with evil and suffering . . . which fell into such a state when man tried to go his own way . . . but which, God saved through His grace . . . and which will be REDEEMED and made eventually into the perfect world the atheist wants now--then, this IS the exact and perfect kind of world . . . to accomplish the end goal.
And what little created fool has the audacity and asserted intelligence . . . to dictate how God "ought" to have made things for His purposes? It is ever amusing, though sad and somewhat pathetic at the same time . . . to listen to the "sophomoric" atheist, whether he is that genius at age 19 or 20 . . . or that same "genius" at 40, 50, 70 . . . devolve to the same, tired old tirade . . . .
If one doesn't know the PURPOSE of life, then the prescriptions for "fixing" or "improving" it . . . are bound to be off the mark . . . . It depends on the purpose!
If there is no ultimate PURPOSE . . . then this discussion has no more relevance than riding the plastic pony in front of the supermarket . . . and we might just as well put on clown noses and twiddle our thumbs for the rest of the day . . . .
If there IS an ultimate purpose . . . then there is no more important thing to be doing . . . than sorting it out . . . .
oy, so much to say . . . on all of this . . . .