Benevolence, God and a Little Girl

‘Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture, and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind is not occurring at precisely this moment, it will happen in a few hours, or days at most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical laws that govern the lives of six billion human beings. The same statistics also suggest that this girl’s parents believe—as you believe—that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family. Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this?


The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, “atheism” is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a “non-astrologer” or a “non-alchemist.” We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle.

Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. An atheist is simply a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87 percent of the population) claiming to “never doubt the existence of God” should be obliged to present evidence for his existence—and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day. An atheist is a person who believes that the murder of a single little girl— even once in a million years—casts doubt upon the idea of a benevolent God.’

Harris. S. 2006. Letter To A Christian Nation p. 17-18

7 thoughts on “Benevolence, God and a Little Girl

  1. One must also believe, as a friend once blogged about a similar scenario, that an omni-present god, by definition, must be hovering there, observing the rape and murder, and doing nothing.

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?”
    — Epicurus —

  2. If I knew there was a little girl being held against her will next door, I would do everything I could to save her. I’m just a small woman, but I would risk my life to save hers (even if I didn’t know the child). How can a loving God watch that happen and not strike that pervert dead in his tracks? If I, as a mortal woman, would stop it, why doesn’t an omnipotent God stop it? Wait, Eve ate an apple… Ahhhhh… Seems just!!

  3. This seeming dichotomy caused concern among the early Hebrews as well – how can Yahweh be good, yet allow evil and suffering – but fiction writers of the day had a ready fix: Enter the Devil —

  4. You would think it doesn’t, if one were to subscribe to the belief that the Bible’s god had granted Satan certain powers, that he cannot act without his master’s permission. But then that nullifies the belief that in the “end times,” there will be a great battle (Apocalypse) between the forces of the Bible’s god, and those of the prince of darkness, which would imply that Satan has somehow developed a will of his own and can act independently. THAT does indeed violate the omnipotence issue, as one must wonder how Satan escaped from the control of an omnipotent god.

    If it could be argued that Satan has never escaped from that control, that he always acts under leave of his god, then that negates the purpose of a final battle, when all that is really required is the withdrawal of that permission.

  5. Reblogged this on ~Burning Woman~ and commented:
    I am not an atheist, never have been, never will be for the exact reasons stated in this post: it need not be said that I do not accept we are watched over by a benevolent God – all evidence points to the contrary. I believe in taking responsibility for all my thoughts, my words and most importantly, my actions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s