Atheists when they point out the terrible suffering in the world to believers want them to give a reason why God might allow that for atheists are aware that human nature has a bad trait where horrors are excused or watered down.  Don't ask people to think that you are not just making excuses!

St Augustine of Hippo preached the excuse that God is not to blame for evil for evil isn't a power and some dare to trust every word he wrote after his silliness. It is disgraceful to condone a God who stands by looking at human suffering and evil despite his having the power to stop them. It is horrible to make excuses for God for allowing them to happen.
The argument is a distraction. The problem is how evil does so much harm. It is that it happens - that is the problem. But Augustine wants you to think about what it is! What it is is not the point. The Handbook of Christian Apologetics defends the excuse that God never made evil so we can't complain about him making evil on page 132. Thankfully it confesses that if evil is a being, real or an entity like a power or force then the idea of an all-good God is decisively refuted.  That would mean God evilly made it.  So far so good, but there is this problem. A God who withholds power to let evil happen is no different from one that makes evil forces. He is still trying to cause harm. It follows then that whether evil is a power or not, God is still not all-good.  The point is not WHAT evil is but THAT it is. Belief in God requires us to ignore that so such belief is evil and opens the heart to embrace it. To try and stop people perceiving that the problem is that evil is is really trying to make them water down their perception of evil and its seriousness. To argue that suffering is something okay because it is not a thing is callous and an attempt to condone evil.
Augustine was the eccentric who said that he would not believe in the gospels if the Church did not tell him to believe. Yes the Church says he only meant that its authority gave him good reasons to see the gospels were true. Don't believe that for he could believe in the gospels for scholars rather than the Church were saying it. What he meant was that he was going to believe only what the Church ordered him to believe and that was enough for him. What would you think of a man who said that he wouldn’t believe in God had it not been for the authority of his parents? He is just saying he prefers to let other people do the most important thinking for him and that is laziness.

Augustine thinks God made only good and evil rose by itself spontaneously. So that means evil is spontaneous. God had to have made the spontaneity and put it into the creation so God is still to blame for evil and even more so than a blatantly bad God would be for he tries hard to hide it and cover it up.

According to Augustine’s view, if you say that a human being is evil, or that their actions are evil, you are saying that the way they behave does not match expectations about how a human being should behave. There is something inadequate in all that - it is as if he is watering down what evil is.  But anyway that expectation is evil because Augustine believed that being and goodness are identical so it follows for Augustine that nothing could be wholly or properly evil. This is because if something were to be completely evil it would cease to exist.  The idea of pure evil makes no sense unless a person can be pure evil. In that case they should be destroyed as soon as possible.

Evil is, in Augustine’s view, parasitic on good.  To translate him he is saying good is existence and evil is that which works against existence.  He has sneaked a redefinition of evil in that is no good.  It is like defining bad homework as quirky.

Iron is good.  Iron with rust not so good.  But the fact remains that iron has a flaw that allows rust to be a parasite on it.  Augustine's account does not turn evil and good into opposites in any sense.  Good gives rise to it.

Augustine talked about sin and evil but that is thin and weak when the notion that evil is just good with a failure in it turns unrighteousness into a lesser form of righteousness.  The consequences of his doctrine have been horrendous. Evil people can only be encouraged by it.


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