Atheist Song (Theodicy Rag) by Steve Baughman





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Published on Feb 6, 2013

A little musical counternarrative. This song was inspired by Christian philosopher (University of Notre Dame) Peter van Inwagen's excellent book, The Problem of Evil. Another brilliant mind at work lawyering for God! I was impressed by his "arbitrary line" defense of his client (and intrigued by its pastoral benefits.) My take does the trick better than his, though, IMHO :-)

Musical Interlude 1: Pass Me Not Oh Gentle Savior (verse). A great old song from my childhood.

Musical Interlude 2: Pass Me Not Oh Gentle Savior (chorus). Sam Ting.

Queensland - the second largest state in Australia, made famous by Slim Dusty's true song, A Pub With No Beer.

"Hasa Diga Eebowai" - google

Musical Interlude 3: Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. Another great Gospel song. They have so many! In that regard they are waaaaay ahead of us atheists. And I don't figure my song here helps us catch up, sigh.....

Augustine of Hippo - Fifth century Church Father who believed that evil is a just punishment for the naughtiness in the Garden of Eden. That was one costly apple!

Irenaeus - Second century Christian philosopher who believed that the suffering brought about by evil is good for the soul.

Musical Interlude 4: I Surrender All. A very addictive guitar piece. I learned it two days before we filmed this clip. Really fun to play.

University of Notre Dame - perhaps the best philosophy of religion school in the U.S.

Peter van Inwagen - a brilliant Christian philosopher at Notre Dame, and inspirer of this song. Thanks, Doc! Hey, I would love to do to my doctorate at Notre Dame. Any chance you can help get me in?

Alvin Plantinga - a hugely influential Christian philosopher also at Notre Dame. (Nice guy, too! I sent him an email once, and he replied. I was thrilled. Maybe he was, too. But I doubt it.) Plantinga has little faith in the human ability to discern why God allows so much bad stuff to go down.

Musical Interlude 5: Notre Dame Fight Song. (Sorry, I screwed it up, but it's the thought that counts.)

Musical Interlude 6: Nearer My God to Thee. A great old song! My grandfather's favorite.

Thunder and Lightning - I could be wrong, but unlikely.

Rosary - the beads Catholics pray with after they've screwed up. (OK, it's also used as a comtemplative tool for prayer and meditation.)


Sometimes you're feeling lonely, sometimes you're feeling blue
Sometimes the doctor says stuff that kind of troubles you
Like, you've only got a day to live, if you're lucky two or three
So you get down on your hands and knees and say "Dear God, why me?"
You think that God will answer and you'll know just what he said
But you can't tell the voice of God from the voices in your head
So you have you a little tantrum, like you did in junior high
Hey God, if you're gonna pull that crap you oughta tell me why.
But I say don't be mad at God, oh don't be pissed
It ain't that he's mistreating you, it's just he don't exist
and it makes no sense, only makes you tense, to be pounding on his door
so don't go blaming God for your troubles anymore.

Somewhere out there a forest fire burns a baby deer
and there's a pub in Queensland that once ran out of beer
In Africa the pestilence and the pesky tsetse fly
Have got some folks a-saying "hasa diga eebowai."

Augustine says its Adam and Eve, yeah! they're to blame
for holocaust, for famine, for plagues that kill and maim
Cos they angered the great Jehovah when they ate that fruit, you see
and Jehovah he don't care much about proportionality

Irenaeus says that freedom means free to not be nice
And suffering improves my soul though it don't feel so nice
But them poor soul-less animals, burned and gouged and gored
Well, that don't fit the theory so it's back to the drawing board.

Van Inwagen says the poor Lord He was forced to draw a line
you happen to be on the suffering side, nothing personal, so don't you whine
Plantinga say God's reasons are private, not for show
and why the heck should we expect we'd be the first to know?

So, you see, the poor philosophers, they really can't agree
just why the good Lord lets the world see so much misery
three thousand years of thinking and they still ain't got a clue
by now I'd start to worry, and I think that they should too

But listen up believer, trying to get God off the hook
There's a way that's nice and quick, no need to write another book
it's simple, parsimonious, and clearly saves the day
Just get God out of the picture and the problem goes away

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