More atheist ignorance

Ilya Somin demonstrates that ignorance of theology is no basis from which to pontificate about the nonexistence of God:

Atheism is not a complete theory of the nature of the universe. Rather, as I discussed here, atheism is simply a rejection of the existence of God, by which I mean a being that is omnipotent, omniscient and completely benevolent (the definition [traditionally] accepted by [the vast majority of adherents] of the major monotheistic religions). One can reject the existence of God without believing that we “can or will be able to explain how and why the universe came into existence.”

There are numerous arguments against God’s existence that don’t depend on any particular theory of the origins of the universe. In my view, the “problem of evil” is one of the strongest. For a good and accessible summary of the major arguments for atheism that don’t require explanations for the nature of the universe, see David Ramsay Steele’s recent book Atheism Explained. The “new atheists” whom Rosenbaum attacks also don’t rely on any comprehensive theory of the universe in making their case against the existence of God. Writers like Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkins have their flaws; but believing that they can explain the origins of the universe isn’t one of them.

If that’s your strongest argument, you had better give up on atheism now. The so-called problem of evil is one of the most ignorant arguments that can possibly be made against the Christian God’s existence, let alone various other conceptions of the Divine. The existence of evil is absolutely central to the Christian faith, so it requires a remarkable amount of theological cluelessness to claim that the existence of observable evil can possibly serve as any sort of evidence against the Christian God. Moreover, anyone with an even cursory familiarity with the Bible, or for that matter, CS Lewis’s Space Trilogy, knows that “the god of this world” is not the Creator God. And finally, Sunday School theology notwithstanding, there is no serious Biblical claim for Divine omniscience; the various claims to God’s knowledge tend to involve a complete knowledge of human nature.

But no doubt “the problem of evil” is a serious objection to a God in whom no one of any religion actually believes, let alone worships.