A dialogue with An Atheist Written by Dr. Mostafa Mahmoud illuming the essence of religion and goodness and why was the evil created in the first place
A DIALOGUE WITH AN ATHEIST
- He Begot None, Nor Was He Begotten
- If God Preordained My Deeds, Why Should He Judge Me?
- Why Did God Create Evil?
- What About Those Unreached By The Quran?
- Paradise and Hell
- Is Religion An opium?
- Islam and Women
- The Spirit
- The Conscience
- Is Pilgrimage A Pagan Rite?
- Could Muhammad Be The Author of The Quran?
- The Quran Did Not Come From A Human
- Religion and Evolution
- There Is No God But Allah
- KHY ‘AS
- The Miracle
- The Meaning of Religion
- We Won Worldly Happiness And You Got Delusions
Why Did God Create Evil?
He says: My friend resumed his arguing in a derisive note of voice.
How dare you speak of your God as the Perfect, the Omnipotent, the Merciful, the Bounteous, and the Ruthful while He is the creator of all evils in the world: disease, old age, death, earthquakes, volcanoes, microbes, poison, scorching heat, freezing cold, and the torments of cancer that spare neither new-born babe nor decrepit senile.
If God is truly Love, Beauty, and Goodness, how then did it come that Ile created hatred, ugliness, and evil? –
This problem, raised by my friend, is among the basic questions of philosophy; opinions differed and schools of thought split over it.
We say that God is all mercy and goodness. He did not enjoin evil but suffered its existence for a wise end: “God does not enjoin what is indecent. Do you tell of God that you do not know?
Say: My Lord ordered you to act in justice. Turn to Him wherever you kneel in prayer and call on Him with true devotion”.
The Heights, 28 God only enjoins justice, amity, charity, forbearance, and benevolence. He only accepts what is good.
Why, then, does He suffer the unjust, the murderous, and the thieving to perpetrate their deeds?
The answer is that He wanted us to be free; freedom necessitates error; it would be meaningless if it did not allow us the right to trial, error, and right judgment and the unrestricted choice between sin and obedience.
God was quite capable of making us all benevolent by compelling us to obey him. This, however, would have entailed that He deprive us of the freedom to choose.
But in His Plan and Law, freedom with suffering is more honorable to man than slavery with happiness.
That is why He let us sin, suffer, and learn; this is the wisdom in His sufferance of evil to exist. Nevertheless, a just and objective consideration of the matter would reveal to us that benevolence is the rule in the universe while evil is the exception.
Health is the rule, disease the exception; we spend most of our life enjoying health and are visited by sickness only for a few days in comparison. Similarly, a total of the times during which earthquakes have struck would amount to only a handful of minutes in relation to the age of our planet which is measured in many millions of years.
In the same reckoning, volcano eruptions or wars are but short-lived convulsions in the life of nations interrupting long periods of quiet and peace. Moreover, we can discern a benevolent aspect in almost everything.
Sickness bequeathes immunity; suffering engenders hardiness, fortitude, and endurance; earthquakes relieve the pent-up pressures inside the earth preventing its crust from blowing-up and restoring mountains to their places as ‘belts’ and ‘weights’ that stabilize the crust; volcanoes spew up minerals and other hidden resources thus covering the land with rich soil;
wars unify and amalgamate nations leading to llicir gathering in blocks and alliances and then in a League of Nations and, finally, in a Security Council which is like a universal tribunal where complaints are aired and settled.
The greatest inventions were made during wars; peniciline, atomic power, rockets, jet planes and many others came out of the crucible of war.
The ancient wisdom still holds true: “Out of the snake’s poison comes the antidote.” Even now we manufacture the scrum from the microbe.
If our forefathers have not met their death we would not have attained the positions we now hold.
Evil in the universe is like the shaded spaces in a painting; if you come very near to the painting, you will see these parts as defects and faults in it; but if you craw back to a distance and take a general view of the painting as a whole, you will discover that the shades are necessary and indispensable fulfilling an aesthetic function within the structure of that artwork.
Could it be possible for us to know health if disease did not occur? Health glitters as a crown on our heads that is only known when we are ill.
Likewise, it is impossible to know beauty but for ugliness or to know that which is normal without getting acquainted with the abnormal.
This is why the philosopher Abu Hamed El-Ghazali said that the universe’s imperfections are the essence of its perfection just as the curving shape of the bow is the essential feature of its usefulness since ‘a straight-shaped bow’ would be unfit for shooting arrows.
Another use of hardships and sufferings is that they sort out men and reveal their true nature. As an Arabic verse eloquently put it:
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