The Problem of (Resident) Evil

Pop culture and pop psychology activate!

I’ve got the Resident Evil movies queued up to watch, with the first one out of the way. I’ve actually seen one and two before, but it was so long ago that I remember next to nothing about them. The first one isn’t awful, although parts of it are not so good. In particular, the extras playing the zombies seem far too cheerful, like they’re about to giggle under the makeup at the silliness of it all. I can’t recommend it other than it’s required viewing if you’re going to watch the series, and if you plan to do that then you know what you’re getting into anyway. Still, it’s got a certain Hollywood ‘elite squad with its back against the wall’ verve . And zombie dobermans, which more rom-coms ought to experiment including.

The reason I bring it up in regards to atheism is that a zombie apocalypse would be nice circumstantial evidence for the non-existence of god. Theists who believe in an interventional god have a knack of apportioning all the good stuff to god. Final apportioning for blame for all the bad doesn’t happen until it’s been worked through and come out the other side as good stuff, whereupon god is praised for putting the believer through the wringer. The way theists grapple with fitting moral and natural evils into their world views is fascinating in the way the victim lauds the perpetrator.

Which brings me back to the zombie apocalypse. The zombie apocalypse is a pretty difficult opponent to pin into submission as a character building exercise sent from god. For the trick to work the victim has to personalize the negative experiences, but the zombie apocalypse is too big to do that with. If someone told you that their partner murdering their children and then trying to eat his or her brains out while millions of the walking dead shuffled around them was actually god telling that person to shape up, you’d think they were the most self-absorbed loon to ever exist. It only works with stuff like drug addiction, criminality and the kind of shit we know not to truck with anyway, so god showing us not to by putting us in harms way really isn’t the inspiring lesson it’s made out to be.

Another huge minus for the idea that negative experiences are actually god giving you the chance for a positive experience is when they are applied to children and infants. While we as adults can look at those experiences and after the fact thank god for opening our eyes to the vices and harm around us, for god to put children and infants through those same experiences is plain and simple child abuse. For every road to Damascus there is a Drew Barrymore, a child who was subjected to evils that many adults have difficulty dealing with. And then there are the many children and infants who sadly never make it out alive. I’ve no idea how theist families who’ve lived through a tragedy involving a child or infant can spin it into a positive from god. For those theists who never have, that they can do so is probably because those things – like the mass kidnapping of Nigerian girls – happen to ‘others’ who live in ‘other’ places.

So, the zombie apocalypse. Theists, when it happens and if you find yourself being chased down a dead-end alley by a class of undead preschoolers, it really isn’t a great big trust exercise between you and god. It’s just some really bad shit that’s happening for… reasons.

3 thoughts on “The Problem of (Resident) Evil

  1. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

    You don’t need a zombie apocalypse when you have carnivory, parasitism, cancer, the Lisbon Earthquake, the Ebola virus, the Spanish Flu, etc., etc., etc. I solved the problem of evil to my satisfaction when I was 19 (he said, sounding like the arrogant prat he doubtless is) and my solution is here.

    1. winstoninabox Post author

      I agree. But you’re someone who has actively grappled with the problem of evil, whereas most theists never give it a second thought. I’m trying to get at those theists who believe that god has some special plan for them, and also how god gets all the good stuff, and all the bad stuff is a) not recognized as evidence for the other side, b) blamed on NataS and his evil elven empire, c) just ignored.

  2. Pingback: Hope and the Big G | vex cathedra

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