this is why i am an atheist. long ago a friend died, and i had to try figure out why. i was still a mild believer. my grandma had repeatedly fed me the mantra, god is love. so why wud a just, benevolent god, who is love, create this world, filled as it is with evil? thats my question.

nother query. how many of you were turned to atheism by this?

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Wrong, there is evil, evil is when you consciously decide to harm something or someone, you knowingly choice to do something for whatever reason that you know will cause pain or destroy beauty.  God does not make any behavioral rules, or a devil. Do not not believe because you do not understand, decide to an atheist because you have no need for forgiveness, fairy stories or a social hierarchy that is unfair.


First, there is no such thing as evil.  Evil is a concept invented by man.

Wrong, there is evil, evil is when you consciously decide to harm something or someone,


Both the things that you say are contradictory.

Evil is that evil does: It is man who does evil and it is man that defines evil.



I was skeptical for many years, but dare not admit it!  To question was taboo! It made me think "What's wrong with me for not believing??"

One of the events that pushed me closer to atheism happened 5 1/2 years ago.  I met my current boyfriend, who is a widower with three daughters.  His wife died almost 11 years ago.  His daughters were 11, 5, and 22 months old when his wife died from leukemia, which had been diagnosed when she was expecting the youngest.  When I asked my then-best friend, who is VERY catholic, why a loving god would take away someone with three small children.  Her response was..........."well, maybe god meant for you and X to be together."  I was completely floored.  The ridiculousness and immorality of her statement went right over her head.  She totally saw it from a positive viewpoint :/  

We are no longer friends for that reason and many others and her inability to see things in a rational way.

You're so right!  I wish I could remember exactly what my reply was, but all I remember is feeling shock at such a thought.  How they rationalize everything, twist everything to fit what they believe.  A sad side note - this former friend is an elementary school teacher, working with 1st to 4th graders at a catholic school :(  

"...working with 1st to 4th graders at a catholic school."

Where, sadly, she is destroying more young minds.

Before I saw the evil in the world, I felt it in my life, thanks to Catholicism.

I will say it briefly and I hope clearly. First, puberty struck and I received enough testosterone to want a lot of sex--then and after I married. My dad's physical violence convinced me that raising children would be a nightmare. Indeed, a nightmare in which I had fathered a large family did one night frighten me out of my sleep. That vision of my future was the first evil I felt. Felt, not saw.

Second, Catholicism was telling me that birth control is sinful. Still idealistic, I saw injustice in the Church's demand that I have children and its refusal to help me pay for them. Looking into a probable future, I saw that if I complied with the Church's demand, then like my dad I would be so busy providing for a family that I wouldn't have time to answer the questions that would help me make sense of my life. That vision of my future was the second evil I felt. Again, felt not saw.

In those Catholic schools, nuns had for years described what they saw as the world's evils: one being the sufferings of martyrs, another the discrimination Catholics had felt throughout history. (They said nothing of the Inquisition.) Again and again they said Catholics must be strong, and obeying the many rules would help make me strong.

You know what? They succeeded. By the time I graduated high school, my thinking was about as rigid as that of any of the fundamentalists we hear today. I know now that if someone then had mentioned the question of evil, I would have looked at them with a blank stare.

Upon quitting Catholicism but still in college, I was for the first time outside its walls and began to deal with the question of evil. It so perplexed me that I set it aside, became an agnostic and put my energies into graduating. In a post-graduate mathematics course I discovered computers. Amazed, I asked my professor, "People will pay me to do this?" He said they would and, and they did.

I will wrap this up. For about twelve years, until I threw myself into politics, I very happily ignored the question of evil. The politics became hardball--a few people lost their jobs and one, an investigative reporter, was murdered by a car bomb. That's when I began dealing with the question of evil.

After enough thought to require some time, I decided that college philosophy professors lecture on the concepts of good and evil. The words have uses: "good" signifies what its user likes; "evil" signifies what its user dislikes.

Kind of post-modern. English has two excellent uses: poetry and fraud. Be careful.

Need some persuasion? Liberty.

In one context, the word refers to the right people have to do as they please to themselves and with the products of their labor. In another context (think 'taking liberties'), the word refers to the right people have to do as they please to others and with the products of others' labor.

It's why some of us favor government regulation and others of us oppose government regulation.


heh heh heh, im  aware of the relativity of words, and the non reality of good and evil, but these words do have meaning to believers, and the idea of a good god is in our monotheistic religions. altho im very aware its not there in the polythiestic shinto or in non theistic buddhism, at least in many of the sects.

i think the prob of evil affected me so strongly because i have a lot of empathy for my fellow man.(heh heh man that sounds like im taking a lot of credit) i not saying thats a good thing, but wenever i watch the news im always thinking wat wud i do. i think thast some people regard others as compltetly separate from them, whereas i am always seeing the connectrions between me and others. cud this be the difference that made this such a big deal for me? how about you? i remember thinking "frog wasn't any different from me"

"...empathy for my fellow man."

A thought worthy of some thought.

Does empathy for others require a prior empathy for self?

well i have been called "totally self centered", but then ive been called a lot of things. i do think believers must have a low opinion of themselves, after all theve been told they were sinners from childhood, which i imagine would interfere with the development of an identity or self. mebe thats it. mebe a believer can only have a self thru god.  that wud sure explian why they hang on to therir imaginary father so tenatiously.

a believer who has a self only thru god might so need attention from others that s/he will tell others they are totally self-centered.

I don't know that empathy for others requires a prior empathy for self (thinking of all the caregivers who devote themselves to others and burn themselves out), but it seems to require an AWARENESS of self. Interestingly, animals that have shown awareness of self also show evidence of altruism, grief, caring, sharing, and other behaviors which we formerly thought to be only human.

Natalie, my own experience led to my asking if empathy for others requires a prior empathy for self.

While president of a junior college Catholic students club (the first time I was an officer of any kind of club) I acted like an automaton in the belief (learned in Catholic schools) that setting a good example would result in the other members becoming more active. Wisely, they didn't fall for my naive manipulation and my burning out resulted in my learning how to delegate.

Thank you for your post; it reminded me that sometimes, either of two inconsistent and even contradictory beliefs can motivate an action, a change of view, or a better-phrased question.

I now ask, does empathy for others without a prior empathy for self define workaholism?

Asked differently, do workaholics have empathy for themselves?

Whether they do or don't, workaholic officers do harm organizations; they make themselves too busy to develop successors to their positions.


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