I have a family member who is an athiest. When we have talked, he often says he doesn’t believe in God because evil exists. I have brought up free will, people’s free will allowing them to choose evil which then affects the innocent, and other points like that. Someone here had suggested this resource:
I tried this using point 2 in the article. Here is an excerpt:
(2) “I don’t believe in God because there is so much evil in the world.” Many atheists consider the problem of evil an airtight proof that God does not exist. They often say something like: “I know there is no God because if He existed, He never would have let Hitler murder six million Jews.”
A good approach to an argument like this is to say something to this effect: “Since you brought up this issue, the burden lies on you to prove that evil actually exists in the world. So let me ask you: by what criteria do you judge some things to be evil
and other things not to be evil? By what process do you distinguish evil from good?” The atheist may hedge and say: “I just know that some things are evil. It’s obvious.” Don’t accept such an evasive answer. Insist that he tell you how he knows that some things are evil. He must be forced to face the illogical foundation of his belief system.
After he struggles with this a few moments, point out to him that it is impossible to distinguish evil from good unless one has an infinite reference point which is absolutely good. Otherwise one is like a boat at sea on a cloudy night without a
compass (i.e., there would be no way to distinguish north from south without the absolute reference point of the compass needle).
The infinite reference point for distinguishing good from evil can only be found in the person of God, for God alone can exhaust the definition of “absolutely good.” If God does not exist, then there are no moral absolutes by which one has the
right to judge something (or someone) as being evil. More specifically, if God does not exist, there is no ultimate basis to judge the crimes of Hitler. Seen in this light, the reality of evil actually requires the existence of God, rather than disproving it.
The trouble is, in this sort of discussion, he always says something like this, “Well, society determined what is good collectively.” Or “People as a group decided what are the standards for moral behavior.”
How do I answer this? I become very muddled trying to explain to someone who doesn’t believe in a higher authority, that a higher authority set down what is good and evil.
Thanks, Aunt Martha