If this is what Purcell believes atheism is based on, then he doesn’t understand atheism.

Evil and suffering constitute the most formidable argument against monotheism, for those who believe in the existence of one good and transcendent Creator God.

I’d hardly call this the “most formidable argument against monotheism”. Atheists hardly care what the attributes of the multitude of gods are; there are evil, good, and all persuasions in between and with out. If you’re in need of luck at the card table, there’s a god somewhere for you to pray to! Added to that, theists have plenty of reasons to justify to themselves why bad or good things happen in a world with their god. Maybe it’s a test, maybe it’s a learning experience, maybe it’s a judgement… take your pick. So, no. Evil might be a way to introduce the topic of the supernatural and disbelief to a theist, but it’s hardly going to challenge their belief.

A much more interesting discussion can be had with theists when they explain why their god does evil. There’s a big difference in allowing evil to exist, to actually being the perpetrator of it. Most theists either never think about it or have weak sauce justifications for the evil that their god does. In the Bible, God straight up slays thousands of people over several slaughters. Whatever reasons the theist gives for why these deaths are not evil actions says a lot about the kind of theism they believe in.

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