The Evil God
by Randy Everist
Stephen Law’s argument concerning Evil God was very interesting. Within the Internet discussion that followed some suggested this argument lends itself to a parallel moral argument. It goes like this:
1. If Evil God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.
2. Objective moral values do exist.
3. Therefore, Evil God exists.
Now, at first glance, one may be tempted to say that the first premise is false, since we believe the Christian God (who is all-good) exists. Hence, it is the case that Evil God does not exist, and yet objective moral values do exist. However, as an objection to the argument it qualifies as question-begging. Hence, we must find another way to critique the premise(s) if we are to avoid the conclusion.
(1) seems to rely on just the same sort of reasoning we use to justify (1*) (the premise of the original moral argument for God– “If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist”). That is to say, plausibly, objective moral values can only originate from a
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person. Well, Evil God is a person. The atheist or Good God Skeptic (GGS) here contends there is just as much explanatory power in Evil God or God, and therefore we should remain, at best, agnostic about both (1) and (1*).
I do not think this succeeds either. A number of considerations need to be explained here. First, it is somewhat controversial whether or not evil is actually a “thing” in relation to good. Evil just seems to be a privation of the good. The GGS may here simply state that it is the other way around on an Evil God-account of objective morality. This leads us to our second consideration. Most people perceive objective moral duties as obligations to do good. Note what this is not saying: this does not claim that what people perceive they ought to do is always objectively good. Rather, it is the mere fact that they perceive what they ought to do (regardless of what that actually is) is actually good. This is an incredibly powerful observation when one thinks about it…
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