One recurring complain from Atheists is the problem of evil. Regardless of how this complaint is formulated, it is a persistent theme. It’s certainly a valid complaint worthy of a response, but I think the Atheist has just as difficult a hurdle when trying to explain it through their worldview. As a Christian theist, my worldview predicts and addresses evil at the hands of man. However for the atheistic worldview, and by extension philosophical naturalism, predicts and makes no allowances for this evil we see.
On naturalism, the concept of moral good and evil is non-existent. Assessments of good and evil from a naturalistic perspective are by nature utilitarian, and really aren’t about morality as much as about achieving an end. Instead the recognition of moral good and evil is borrowed from an outside worldview.
What is lacking from the Atheist’s worldview is the ability to answer a very important question: Why does the moral neutrality of survival of the fittest stop with human beings? In other words, much of what we would consider moral evil is exhibited in the animal kingdom with moral impunity. For example, the equivalents of murder, infanticide, theft, rape, etc. are regular behaviors of the animal kingdom. But we don’t punish animals for these behaviors.
I suspect the Atheist would put forth some variation of human flourishing, but that only addresses what works — utilitarianism. Often what would work best we might consider morally wrong. This doesn’t even answer the problem though. Animals which practice these behaviors do flourish based on a naturalist’s definition, and in fact, helps ensure the most fit of a species gets its genes passed on.
For those Atheists concerned with the “problem of evil” the question of why we don’t hold human evil with the same moral neutrality of survival of the fittest, should be more concerned that it isn’t answerable via their worldview rather than blaming someone else’s.
Does a non-arbitrary answer to this exist?