Atheism and the goodness of God

Earlier this week I had a hour long debate with Ciaran Mac Aoidh of Atheist Ireland. It was hosted by Steven O’Neill on his Monday Night Radio Show (Nightlife) on LifeFM 93.1, a local station based in Cork City. This is the first specifically Christian radio station to be given a licence to broadcast by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland [BCI].  Steven is doing a series on Christianity and Atheism.

I think it was a civil and good conversation and it sure covered a lot of ground. The main theme was God and morality. I was arguing that atheism logically cannot believe in any objective basis to morality. To be fair Richard Dawkins tries to construct some sort of evolutionary foundation for morality in The God Delusion. But what he suggests in the end is not objective morality at all – simply an explanation for why it may be mutually advantageous to act nicely to eachother in certain circumstances.

Ciaran (as best as I can recall) rejected the idea that Bible is an objective metaphysical basis for morality since it is a human book interpreted in different ways by humans. And even the content of that book is full of immorality – God is not good at all, he does (and commands others to do)  horrible things – we’re back here to issues we’ve posted on earlier such as the conquest of Canaan in the OT and the injustice of hell in the NT.

One reflection on our discussion:- faith or un-faith ultimately revolves around who we believe God is. Is he utterly good or is he not? I believe that he is. Yes atheists like Ciaran are asking real questions. But Christopher Hitchens, Dawkins et all give the impression that Christians are either too credulous or too naive ever to have thought of these questions themselves. Christians have been wrestling with these questions for centuries precisely because they believe and know God to be completely good.  One recent and very readable book is God is Good God is Great edited by William Lane Craig and Chad Meister.  I’m not going to work my way through the whole thing – but will post some reflections from different chapters along the way.

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2 thoughts on “Atheism and the goodness of God

  1. Im curious if ciaran noticed that to say God cant exist cause he thinks that he is portrayed as not good is to actually say that he doesnt like God as opposed to not beileiving in him. Which would make him not an atheist but more of a “hatetheist” ?

  2. ‘Fraid I can’t speak for someone else without probably unfairly misrepresenting them. Generally Atheist Ireland stands for ‘building a rational, ethical and secular society free from superstition and supernaturalism.” The not too hidden subtext being that the first two qualities are intrinsically opposed to the last one – which is equivalent of the one before it!

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