The best atheist arguments, explained by a Catholic bishop | Bishop Robert Barron

– You know, I think
the very best arguments Against the existence of God Have been formulated by believers. Now here’s what I mean: The story of Job is one
of the great arguments Against God’s existence Because of the awful suffering
that Job, a righteous man, He’s a good righteous
man, follower of the Lord, And yet he goes through
every type of suffering. And it leads Job to question,
at least the goodness of God, If not the existence of God. Go forward many centuries
to Thomas Aquinas: When Thomas sets up the
question, ’Does God exist?’ He first lays out objections. If one of two contraries be infinite, The other would be
altogether destroyed. So if there were infinite
heat, there’d be nothing cold- But God is described as
’infinitely good.’ Therefore, if God exists
there wouldn’t be any evil, But there is evil. Therefore God doesn’t exist. That’s a darn good argument. Dostoevsky was a deeply
believing Christian. And yet he puts on the
lips of his character, Ivan Karamazov, This awful argument against God. And Ivan is trying to
convince his brother Alyosha Who had been a monk, And was a devoutly
mystical, religious person. And he says,
”Look at all these examples Of innocent children Being tortured, in some
cases, tortured to death.” I mean read that, and it’s
as convincing as anything. So three believers-

The author of Job, Thomas
Aquinas, and Dostoevsky- All lay out this argument, Which is if there’s so
much evil in the world, Let’s face it, there
can’t be an all-good God. These are very good arguments against God. They’re the best that
the atheists have- Is the argument from evil. Thomas Aquinas says, ”God is so good that he
permits certain evils, So as to bring about a greater good That could’ve never been accomplished otherwise.” There are examples where we can see that happening. Because of this evil, something really good happened to me that Wouldn’t have
happened otherwise. That job I didn’t get that was so devastating to me And caused so much suffering, But because I didn’t get that job, I got this other job, which, in fact, has proved to be so life-giving. That relationship that
meant so much to me That breakup just broke my heart into a thousand pieces, But because of that I met this woman, whom I’m now married And I found the joy of my life. Aquinas extrapolates from
those experiences To say, ’Well, that’s the
way to think about God’s permission of suffering.’ I think a lot of people
are tripped up By a misunderstanding of
what we mean by God. If you imagine God as one
more big, contingent thing Among others,
well then there’s just, There’s no evidence for that reality. But what’s extraordinary is
when you look at the surveys Of a lot of young people
who are disaffiliating, It’s amazing how many
say some version of, ”Well, I don’t believe in this
Old Man in the Sky anymore.”

Well, I would’ve
hoped you let that go When you let go of Santa Claus. I mean, it’s the same kind of thing. And the fact that so many
young people had been co-opted By these really inadequate
understandings of God, of faith, Of the Bible, of suffering, of all that. He’s a reason, I’ll put
it more philosophically, Why there’s something
rather than nothing. Why there is a contingent,
finite world at all. So I think that’s the
fundamental mistake That a lot of atheists, both
old and new, tend to make. They don’t understand what
serious believers mean By the word God. That’s, to a degree, our fault. We’ve been lousy at teaching
and catechesis and preaching. Catholicism is a deeply
intelligent tradition, But why do we hide those
treasures away From young people? Young people are saying
the stupidest things About their own religion. Well, I mean, that’s to a
large degree, our fault. So there is a crisis in preaching,
teaching, and catechesis, And we gotta take some
responsibility for that.

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