The other day an apostate of a monotheist religion asked the originator of
the neutral-inclusive Norm whether
'e agreed that the existence of
evil in this world proves that God does not exist.
This the originator said in reply: "For ages theists have been
confronted with this so-called 'problem of evil'. The problem for them is
not the evil, which every mortal soul would expect, but rather the possible
nonexistence of their god or gods. For atheists the existence of evil has
always served to prove the nonexistence of gods, whereas for theists it has
proved the necessity, if not of a god, then of at least one demon. The
awkward problem has brought home to theists how badly in need they are of a
more pliable type of logics more willingly bent to what they want to keep
on believing anyhow and in spite of everything."
Then this theist-turned-atheist interrupted the originator to tell
'im that the problem had already
been solved decisively, and to ask 'im whether 'e didn't think that the
issue was one of the utmost importance.
"What is not of the utmost importance at all", the originator answered, "is
that the two parties involved may or may never accept together the
existence or nonexistence of gods and demons, of course, after first having
established clear and impartial definitions for those weird entities. What
is really of the utmost importance", 'e continued, "is that the two parties
involved have already recognized together the existence of
something, namely the existence of evil.
What you and your fellows of the theocentric persuasion —theists and
atheists alike, and not to forget those hazy-eyed agnostics— don't
seem to realize is that this recognition of the existence of 'evil'
presupposes and is only possible because of the existence of value.
In themselves floods that destroy lands, cats that scratch and humans that
hurt or kill are merely empirical phenomena no different from waterfalls
that create sceneries, cats that purr and humans that help or care.
It is only on the basis of value, not fact, that a distinction can
be drawn between what is evil on the one hand and good or right or just on
"Therefore, it is the existence of values which matters first of all, not
that of gods or demons in the singular or plural. The exchange of
arguments between theists and atheists with respect to the problem of evil
might make sense for their worldview, which, paradoxical as it may
seem, is a common worldview based on the primacy of the authority of a real
god for theists and a fake one for atheists. What both of them take
implicitly for granted, however, is something that demonstrates again
that their worldview does not start from the right beginning, for
denominational primacy does not lie with
gods. It lies with values or, if you prefer, norms."
And this the originator of the Norm added: "In the distance
i observe a pack of theists and
a pack of atheists. I'm glad these ones only bark and don't bite, as they
do elsewhere. But, unfortunately, they're barking up the wrong cosmic tree.
In this way none of these pitiable dogs will ever succeed in finding
relevance or any other fundamental value".