A fellow who I’ve crossed swords with before has listed 7 reasons why his god, one of the versions of the Christian one, isn’t a bastard for allowing suffering in this world. I asked him about how heaven fits into all of this and it quickly became an excuse fest that this god “could” create a world without suffering, but didn’t for some mysterious reason. It also ended up in a rather strange claim that there are “classes” of angels, which means rank is important to a supposedly omniscient/omnipotent/benevolent god. Where is that lovely equality that so many Christians claim? I suspect the answer would be that the angels are “satisfied” with their position. Seems I’ve heard that argument somewhere else….
Where is an omnipotent god that can create a world without suffering and with free will? Why is this god now limited? As for my opponent’s claims that it is not immoral to create a world with the possibility of suffering, he has one problem: the question is missing something. What the question should be: Is it immoral to create a world where it is guaranteed, perhaps not for a certain individual, but for someone else? Shall we not care what happens to our fellows? As I have observed before, Christianity is a religion based on selfishness. Everyone is out for his own place in heaven.
BTW, there is nothing new here in content. If you are a frequent reader, you’ll see the same points again.
- Free will necessitates the possibility of suffering.
The first problem here is that the bible doesn’t support free will. As soon as the bible claims that everything is this god’s will and plan, free will ends. As soon as this god interferes with any human action, free will ends.
He also tries to claim that suffering is “always a possibility” if free will exists. Nothing supports this either. As for refusing to follow this god’s directives, do tell what those directives are since Christians do not agree on what their god wants. If they have no idea what this god wants, then there is no way to “cause unnecessary suffering” by not doing something.
- God’s plan of redemption and glory far outweigh all suffering.
A baseless assumption since there is no evidence of this god nor that any plan that it might have exists. This is to make a promise that never can be checked out, something quite necessary for a charlatan. The fraud selling his miracle elixir to a townsfolk is never around to be held accountable if the liquid doesn’t do what is promised.
My opponent tries to claim that some suffering results in improvement, which is true for a few things. The problem is when the suffering serves no purpose at all. Recently, a poor fellow’s 5 month old baby died of brain cancer. To try to claim that the suffering was beneficial is simply a sycophant’s excuse for his tyrant. The reward is never always greater.
“God’s promised eternal glory is more than enough to inspire faithful, joyful perseverance.” A promised never fulfilled is worthless. And since this promise is also accompanied with threats of eternal torture, it is nothing more than the actions of an abuser.
- God’s just judgement will right all wrongs.
Another baseless claim and we can see from the bible, that justice is not important to this god at all. Justice is based on fairness, equalness in treatment. This god has no problem at all in harming humans for the actions of others. There is nothing “just” about killing a child for the actions of its parents, nor damning an entire species for the supposed actions of two of them. If we are held accountable for things we cannot change, then free will is again destroyed.
Our Christian tries to claim that this god somehow takes into account what we could/would have done, and nothing in the bible supports that invented bit of nonsense. This was made up in order to invent a new Christian god, one that isn’t the vicious one in the bible. If this bit of nonsense were the case, it makes no sense for this god to hold all humans responsible for “original sin”, since if it takes other realities into account, it would be negated for everyone.
He also tries the claim that suffering can “create space for greatness” aka “builds character”. Nothing shows that this is needed, especially in the bible where Job got no better from being abused by this god.
- Suffering is not evil in itself and can actually be a means for good.
Hmmm, tell that to the 6 million+ who died in the Holocaust. Do they say how great it was to suffer and they would have preferred it not be “easy”?
And if suffering is so great, again, how does heaven fit into this apologetic excuse? Why should a child starve in some country and I have no problem in gorging myself to repletion? Per our Chrsitians argument, the child should be happy for the misery.
They aren’t. What we have is an apologetic made up by a first world Christian who wants for nothing, and piously tells others how they should be happy to suffer. Gee, it must be god’s plan for this to happen, and then our Christian doesn’t have to feel responsible.
- Suffering teaches important lesson.
See the argument against this pious bullshit above. That a god has to harm people to teach others is nothing more than a tyrant making an “example” of some people to keep the others in line. To say that this god makes harm happen so we are dependent on it shows this god to be no more than an abusive parent or spouse.
This argument is where the Christian thinks he is so important that other people deserve to be harmed for his benefit. Someone can starve to death so he can learn compassion. Someone can be killed by terrorists so he can learn to not be complacent.
Again, the selfishness inherent in the religion rises again.
- God shared in the suffering of his creation.
Actually, no it didn’t, not even per the bible. At best, this god had an uncomfortable weekend when it decided it needed to have itself killed by a blood sacrifice by torture to make itself happy.
There was no loss, and per the gospel of John, not even a moment of fear. I do love the hilarious list of what this imaginary character went through. Poverty? No. Shame? No. Ridcule? Per the bible, he didn’t care. Physical pain and torture? Depends on what gospel you read. Death? Nope, he didn’t die at all, but just kept on living. Difficult travel? Nope, nothing supports that even in the bible. Isolation? Nope. Abandonment? Again, depends on what gospel you read. Rejection? Didn’t care. Danger? He managed to get out of situations by just disappearing. Emotional stress? Again, which gospel? Celibacy? Per the bible, this is the best thing to do, so no suffering presented. Ignorance? Well, that’s not limited to this god or ol’ JC, and again, rather hard to be ignorant if it is omniscient. Homelessness? Not at all, he was always welcomed unlike most homeless now. The struggles of fame? Depends on what story the Chrsitian wants to claim: either everyone knew ol’ JC or no one did. The loss of a loved one? He just raised them from the dead, rather impossible for humans. Submiting of one’s will to God the father? He is this god and again, per John, no problem with this at all.
This god stepped into nothing at all and deserves no respect for a blood sacrifice by torture that was needed by it because its failure in Eden.
- God could morally create an almost limitless number of possible worlds, this is just one of them.
Rather curious that a Christian would try the multiverse hypothesis to try to claim that it’s okay that this god causes suffering here because maybe in the next one over, it’s just fine. Doesn’t do much for the person suffering from intractable pain here. Immorality doesn’t change if you happen to do a benevolent things somewhere else. Hitler may have liked dogs, but he still was an immoral bastard.
It ends with the Christian being aghast that someone might look at suffering “negatively”. Yep, we should all just ignore how this god fails so we can keep thinking we get our magic presents.
Sorry, I’m not that immoral. If a human tried offering any of the above excuses for malevolent actions, they would be laughed at and scorned. That such excuses are okay for a god shows how followers don’t question tyrants, either imaginary or real.
For more on the problem of suffering, John Loftus has compiled a new book “God and Horrendous Suffering”. It’s a little salty in price, though I’ll probably get it, but you can see some of the arguments on his website, Debunking Christianity.