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Antitheist Apologetics

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This is an antitheist apologetics post by Seth Kurtenbach.  It is meant to show how easily one can make a ridiculous theological argument.  Of course I don’t endorse any of the premises that follow, but many theists do, and so I show that by twisting faith-based beliefs one can conjure up almost any argument.

Thanks to Anthony A. for posting this on the SASHA wall.

A theist might respond by saying that satan’s torture/torment of evildoers is not done as an act of punishment, but merely because it gives him pleasure to torture and torment. Without just intentions, the infliction of suffering on evildoers is not itself just, but is merely the infliction of suffering on evildoers.

For example, suppose it is just to punish murderers by killing them. Suppose also that a prison guard happens to have access only to murderers, and kills them because killing them gives him great satisfaction. He does not kill them out of a sense of duty, or because it is just, and these reasons play no motivating role in his actions: he would kill them even if they were innocent. One might balk at calling him a good guy. In this way, it is possible for satan to inflict suffering on evildoers without being a good guy.

However, if this is the case, then it seems that the guy ultimately in control is allowing a lot of unjust suffering to happen at the hands of satan, allowing satan the satisfaction of torturing people. God is supposed to be all powerful, and in virtue of this power he can prevent satan from torturing anyone, and yet he allows it. This is like the prison warden knowing about the rogue murderous guard, being able to prevent the guard’s transgressions, but allowing them to continue. Is the warden justified in allowing this to go on? No, he should stop the rogue guard and administer the punishments himself, to ensure that justice is done rather than power abused.

So, if satan tortures evildoers, then either he does so justly or unjustly. If justly, then he’s a good guy. If unjustly, then god unjustly allows it to happen. If satan is a good guy, then god is a bad guy, because it is assumed that they are on opposing sides. Therefore, either way, god is unjust.  Bummer, theists!  Wrong team!


About Seth Kurtenbach

Philosophy grad student who wandered into a computer science PhD program with a backpack full of modal logic and decision theory.

2 comments on “Antitheist Apologetics

  1. An Informed Atheist
    August 28, 2011

    According to the Bible Satan does not punish evildoers—that’s God’s job. Satan is in hell along with all of the others who deserve damnation. It is his punishment as much as anyone else’s.

    Where did you even get the idea that Satan has dominion over hell? Hollywood? If you are going to criticize (or defend) Christian beliefs, at least make an attempt to understand them.

    • Seth Kurtenbach
      August 28, 2011

      Most Christians believe that Satan and other demons torture and torment the souls in hell. I don’t care where their beliefs come from, Hollywood or the Bible. Hollywood is as fine a source for fiction as Bronze-age Palestine. The point is that many believe it, and from this belief, in conjunction with their other beliefs, an unexpected confusion follows.

      One could do a survey to this effect: Ask Christians to select an answer to the following question: “In Hell, who, if anyone, tortures the souls of the damned?” Possible answers might be: 1. God; 2. Satan and his Demons; 3. No one tortures anyone. I bet most Christians will select 2.

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This entry was posted on August 27, 2011 by in Author: Seth Kurtenbach, Web Links & Videos and tagged , , .
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