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, 341 B.C. – 270 B.C. ~~
Many famous Romans, including Julius Caesar, were epicureans. A philosophy of live the good life, enjoy it`s pleasures and rewards, and any afterlife can look after itself. If there is not a prize for living a virtuous life after death, then so much the better for the unashamed hedonist. Abrahamic religious philosophy has an admirable get out clause for God`s non-intervention for all the barbaric violence inflicted by, and against his human creation in the world; it`s called “Free Will.” Granted by the Sky Pilot to humanity after the expulsion from Eden. God has washed his hands of us, and left us to our own devices. Of course, Epicurus lived in ignorance of this celestial decision, but would no doubt have countered it with this very neat little quotation of his, which puts a very stark spotlight onto the philosophic conjuring act of a supreme deity disappearing up it`s own backside to justify non-intervention in human affairs. Voltaire once said, “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”, and so we have always found it an imperative to understand the disorder and chaos around us in the best way an unscientific mind could conceive. Before science, there was God to explain the how and the why; but an intelligent man like Epicurus, who was trained to question and doubt, was not convinced by fables. To him, if you believe in something you cannot see or prove to exist, that was “Faith”, and not known fact. The modern world is being torn apart by religious ideology which cannot be proven to be anything other than based on fairy tales. If you see in black and white, without questions or doubts, you are no more than a slave to primeval superstition created by people huddling in the back of caves, afraid of the dark, wild beasts, and the frightening world of Nature. Without scientific knowledge they needed to explain as best they could the world they lived in, and so God came like a light from Heaven to illuminate the darkness. But, by not asking questions, the darkness has remained inside the unbending, religious ideologues who spread by force the darkness of ancestral ignorance upon a world striving to live in the Light. I can`t help thinking that Epicurus had things off to a tee with his neat quote; it is not a necessity to believe in God to possess humanity, compassion, truth, respect and love for others, for these are the elements which should naturally make up a civilized society.