Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is the problem of evil a problem?

Christian philosophers spend so much time devising theodicies, and that's a valuable exercise. However, we also need to stop and ask ourselves what presuppositions underlie the argument from evil.

Antinatalist literature presents an especially blunt, unsparing version of the problem of evil. Here’s a sample:

I am sure you’ve heard people–both the childfree and parents–say these things. What they can’t seem to comprehend is that is the world and life is as they complain it is, then why keep bringing people you supposedly "love" into this "dog eat dog" place?

People like us who choose to be childfree in order to spare people the trouble, stress and pain that life brings are often accused of being negative. We prefer the term realistic. There is good and joy in the world and we acknowledge that. It is our opponents who want to brush the bad under the rug with mindless "make lemonade out of lemons" slogans who are only seeing one side of the coin. A lot of you who don’t like our views are battling your own demons. What we say about life subconsciously makes you feel worse about YOUR life and therefore you reject us. All we can say is the truth shall set you free. Spouting politically correct slogans will not. We face life for what it is–the good, the bad and the mundane.

There is an infinite number of horrors that can befall a person on Earth. People are shocked when their children are murdered, robbed, shot or stricken with some terminal illness in the prime of their life. If they read or watch the news, then they’ll see that these things happen all day, everyday to many people. How are your children immune to the horrors of life? By choosing to drag your children here, you basically put them in that situation. I don’t care if you were 16 or 17 years old when you bred. If you’re old enough for your body to allow you to breed, then you’re old enough to read, to think and if nothing else, you’re old enough to see the things going on around you.

A good thing that life has to offer like a sunset does not and cannot erase the hurricanes, emerging epidemics, wrecks, murders and obituary columns that line the papers everyday. You may say that newspapers under report good news. In the unlikely event that such a conspiracy is going on, the good news still does not erase the bad. It’s not like anyone made up Hurricane Katrina just to sell papers. These things actually do happen. Trying to blend them in with the good is like trying to mix oil and water. It does not change the characteristics of either, it only makes a bigger mess and most importantly it does not work.

Whether you love this site or hate it, numbers do not lie. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cvictgen.htm), in 2004, U.S. residents ages 12 and over were the victims of 24 million crimes ranging from robbery, assault, murder and more. 24 million crimes! Compare that with something good like winning the lottery–you have only a less than 1 in a million chance in the U.S. (www.plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager.)

Let’s say you spend 15 minutes reviewing this or any other website. In the time that it takes you to do this, over 6 people have already been sexually assaulted (data courtesy of Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network www.rainn.org/statistics/). You can doubt people all you want, but numbers don’t lie.

Why do people blind themselves to the realities of life? Why can’t they see while hiding from reality they are exposing others to that which they’re running from? Why do people become angry with Moral Childfree for stating facts? Psychologist Mark Griffiths learned why when he began investigating why people are so attracted to lotteries. He says, "If you were told that you have a one in fourteen million chance of getting cancer in the next seven days people will say ‘oh well it is obviously not going to happen to me it is so infinitesimal’ but the fact that there is a one in fourteen million chance of winning the lottery people think ‘yes, it’s got to be someone why can’t it be me?’" {the fourteen million statistic is in the UK, not the US} (BBC World Service Trust, http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/sci_tech/features/figure_it_out/lottery.shtml.) In other words, people underestimate the chance and impact of something bad happening, but they overplay the good happenings.

To live is to suffer. Everyone will have hassles, trouble or pain. All will cry even if it is only in childhood. Even the best of lives and the richest of people will have pain, sometimes lots of it. Just because it shall happen to everyone does not diminish the fact. It but strengthens our position. Suffering lurks behind every type of joy for sooner or later, as night follows day, that joy must end. The only difference from life to life is the amount and type of suffering. There are many types and causes of suffering and stress from minor and major illnesses and injuries to accidents to grief to financial problems to chemo to infinity. I could fill up a whole webpage on the types of suffering available to us but you get the picture. Even so-called "trivial" suffering such as colds, headaches and car trouble all add up to a person’s quota. An elephant is made up of small cells, but it is still a big creature. One person’s life may be made up of “small troubles” but they all add up to make even the best life full of trouble and ending in death.

Good in the world does exist, but it often takes much trouble, suffering, money etc. to bring it about. Having a successful business may be good, but think about all of the eating 10 for $1 Ramen noodles and almost getting evicted from your apartment it took for you to get to that point.

Life has not only the extremes of good and bad, but shades of gray as well. These shades of gray include the mundane such as housework and work itself. Almost no one wants to do these things. If they did, they wouldn’t hire a maid to do their laundry and quit their jobs as soon as they win the lottery.

You may argue that your children bring suffering upon themselves. But it is human nature to try to avoid suffering so that’s what they will do. There are many causes of suffering such as inherited diseases and accidents that cannot be avoided. If a person on the roadway can avoid the drunk driver that will paralyze them, don’t you think that they would do so? Sometimes even when a person makes a stupid choice—either age or life experience has hindered them so that they don’t know any better.

Rarely does the good in your child’s life just fall into their laps. It is the result of blood, sweat and tears and they are often hindered by their so-called “parents”. You cannot say, “I only gave it life, the rest is up to the kid”. This is an excuse and a pathetic one at that. There are many facts that they cannot control (war, inherited defects, certain illnesses, the crippling of aging, death, bills etc.), including the fact that you brought them here in the first place.

Parents also willingly pass on all sorts of genetic defects to their children. I’ve seen children practically living in the hospital due to severe allergies and the infections it predisposes you to, asthma, and diabetes to say nothing of cancer or sickle cell anemia. Yet parents just shrug their shoulders and squawk as their children hack until they are purple, "I couldn’t help that....it’s INHERITED". Yet, when the child exhibits "good" genetic traits such as beauty, athleticism, intelligence or musical talent, these morons proudly take responsibility for that. It’s time for these cruel, hypocritical herd animals to take the bitter with the sweet and learn how to take responsibility for their choices and actions. They sentence us to do it with regards to our lives. Now, they have to do it as well.

Speaking of genes, even contagious diseases have a genetic component. Your genes determine how your body responds to a pathogen (i.e. whether you fight it off or fall prey to it, how severe the symptoms are and even what the symptoms are).

1. The Biological parent owes far more (not necessarily financially) to the child than vice versa. That can never be fully erased by the age of the child because reaching a certain age won't cure your genetic illnesses nor will it pay your rent or otherwise stop stress, struggling or other forms of suffering. (It cannot be erased just because you took the kid to the doctor or because you took it to a PTA meeting. Some parents think that they are owed 50+ years of servitude for this and they are not. The parents choose to bring people into this dangerous world knowing that they would suffer numerous defeats, injuries, disappointments, physical and emotional pain, suffering and eventually age, decline and die. By bringing people here, the parents cause them to need food, clothing, care, shelter, medical care and more for their entire lives even if they live to be 100. Yet they get off very easy by only legally (to say nothing of morally) being required to provide certain things for 17 years and many times they don’t even want to do this. Parents also pass on numerous diseases and defects from asthma to diabetes to cancer to sickle cell anemia to MS to Lou Gehrig's etc. to their children. No amount of care can erase this and by bringing your kids here, you parents caused them to need to be cared for.)

2. Morally, the best thing that you can do for a human is to simply spare them life in the first place. Being childfree is the one of the best, if not the best moral choice a person can make. By not breeding, we have saved countless people from disease, suffering, a lifetime of wage slavery, certain death and more. By not breeding, we can focus on the being already here who need help. Why breed up more problems when you haven’t solved the ones we already have? Unless you are willing to die this very minute, then you don’t have the right to sentence innocents to die. Everyone who is born, dies. So by causing someone to be born, you are causing their demise. It’s that simple.


It is neither intelligent nor compassionate to want to contribute your blood to the gene pool if you have a genetic defect such as diabetes or sickle cell anemia. It is neither intelligent nor compassionate to sentence someone to certain death under uncertain circumstances if you yourself don’t want to die. It is neither intelligent nor compassionate to expect your children to be your slaves for the next 50 years when you only gave them what you forced them to need for 17 years. Intelligence and logical compassion are fully human traits; traits that breeders seem to lack.

“How dare you say that my love for my child is not real!”, some self-righteous sow is probably bleating right now. I never said it was not real. It is real alright. It is really animalistic and primitive. It is really based upon hormones and instincts—the same hormones and instincts of a fruit fly. Hormones and instincts are the only two things that could cause someone to love a murdering rapist or to be blind to the fact that your children’s blood is upon your hands. Animals, bless their hearts, are ruled by hormones and instincts. To be fully human means that you are able to override these things at least some of or most of the time. Being human also means being able to reason logically, see the consequences of our actions on the lives and the eventual deaths of these children and to be far-sighted in our thinking. Sure that six-month-old baby is cute. By what about when that baby is 76 years old and crippled by arthritis and blinded by cataracts? Do you want to live in constant pain? Do you want to be blind? Then why sentence that to your children knowing full well that that is going to happen to all but a few of them?

I will never understand how someone can read about the state of the world in the news everyday and still want to breed up another obituary column. I will never understand how someone can be arrogant and foolish enough to believe that their child of all of the millions born, will cure cancer or become another Einstein when their parents haven’t done anything similar to this. I will never understand how you can take your child halfway around the world for an experimental treatment for an inherited disorder when you simply could’ve avoided breeding if you or your mate had certain things in your genes. I will never understand how people can use “keeping the race strong” as an excuse for breeding when there are still children of their race rotting away in orphanages and foster homes. How will any race be strong if its members do not take care of first things first and when they try to walk before they can crawl? How will any race become strong if its members insist on breeding up defective children (cystic fibrosis for you whites, sickle cell anemia for you blacks)? I will never understand the brain of a breeder any more than I can understand what’s going through the mind of a cocker spaniel.


At one level I find reading this unintentionally comical. There’s something funny about a man or woman who has such an utterly jaundiced view of life. It’s like a parody of a Woody Allen movie.

For the antinatalist, nothing is ever good enough because anything bad spoils the good. The antinatalist is a perfectionist. Unless life is absolutely perfect, it’s better not to be alive.

Antinatalism represents the reductio ad absurdum of the argument from evil. It takes the argument from evil to its logical extreme, and–in so doing–exposes something fundamentally twisted about the argument from evil–by exposing the nihilistic presuppositions of the argument.

Ironically, antinatalism is so nihilistic because it’s so idealistic. When idealism comes into contact with a fallen world, the result is bitter disillusionment.

There's a grain of truth to the antinatalist argument, but it's really an argument from atheism rather than an argument for atheism. If you reject the existence of God, then the situation is, indeed, hopeless. If you reject God, then all these evils are, indeed, gratuitous evils. In a godless world, there are no compensatory goods to redeem the moral and natural evils.

At the same time, antinatalism illustrates the perverse ingratitude of fallen man. The antinatalist can find nothing in life to be thankful for. He rues the day that anyone, anywhere, at anytime, ever existed.


  1. I don't understand. If life is so bad and painful, why prolong it? Why don't they just kill themselves? It's a bogus position since they obviously continue to try and live. They eat, see the doctor, all those things that ultimately bring more pain and suffering on themselves. Why don't they apply to themselves what they preach?

  2. Atheists are always talking about poor people in Africa getting river-blindness, malaria and AIDs, but not many of them would say what the anti-natalists are saying about their parents being 'selfish' for bringing their children into existence. So how can God be immoral to make us exist?

    Even if someone dies as a child, it was better that they lived for the short time they did, than if they had never existed at all.

    If you ever bring up the argument from beauty and goodness in the world, then, like Pavlov's dogs, they will counter with the argument from suffering. However, the beauty and goodness in the world outweighs the suffering. If it didn't, people would be commiting suicide in their droves.

    Maybe atheists just don't appreciate their lives as much as Christians do?

  3. "If you reject the existence of God, then the situation is, indeed, hopeless."

    Then some folks, not wanting to be identified as either an atheist or as a Christian theist, will run towards something like universalism or deism or pantheism or paganism or agnosticism or .... , anything other than atheism or Christian theism.