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God and Evil
The existence of evil is a terrible stumbling-block to the Theist. Pain, misery, crime, poverty, confront the advocate of eternal goodness, and challenge with unanswerable potency his declaration of Deity as all good, all wise, and all-powerful.
A recent writer in The Spectator admits that there is what it regards "as the most painful, as it is often the most incurable form of Atheism - the atheism arising from a sort of horror of the idea of an omnipotent being permitting such a proportion of misery among the majority of His creatures."
Evil is either caused by God or exists independently; but it cannot be caused by God as in that case He would not be all good; nor can it exist hostilely, as in that case He would not be all-powerful.
If all-good He would desire to annihilate evil, and continued evil contradicts either God's desire, or God's ability to prevent it.
Evil must either have had a beginning or it must have been eternal; but, according to the Theist, it cannot be eternal, because God alone is eternal. Nor can it have a beginning, for, if it had, it must either have originated in God or outside God, for, according to the Theist, God is infinite, and it is impossible to go outside of or beyond infinity.
To the Atheist this question of evil assumes an entirely different aspect. He declares that each evil is a result, but not a result from God nor Devil. He affirms that conduct founded on knowledge of the laws of existence may ameliorate each present form of evil, and, as our knowledge increases, prevent its further recurrence.
Charles Bradlaugh (A Plea for Atheism, 1877).