Faith and Philosophy

Volume 38, Issue 4, October 2021

Guy KahaneOrcid-ID
Pages 460-483

Should Atheists Wish That There Were No Gratuitous Evils?

Many atheists argue that because gratuitous evil exists, God (probably) doesn’t. But doesn’t this commit atheists to wishing that God did exist, and to the pro-theist view that the world would have been better had God existed? This doesn’t follow. I argue that if all that evil still remains but is just no longer gratuitous, then, from an atheist perspective, that wouldn’t have been better. And while a counterfactual from which that evil is literally absent would have been impersonally better, it wouldn’t have been better for anyone, not even for those who suffered such evils.