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God is good but there is still suffering.

 
 
hmodahl
 
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2015 10:29 pm
For a lot of people a huge stumbling block hindering their belief in Christianity is how could a good God allow suffering in this world? As a student in an apologetics class, I'm looking for some discussion concerning this point.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 9,532 • Replies: 214

 
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2015 10:35 pm
@hmodahl,
Epicurus had a handle on this a long time ago:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

hmodahl
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2015 10:46 pm
@FBM,
Epicurus gives great points. However, my response to those points would be how can mere finite beings, such as we humans, understand the reasoning and purpose of an infinite being, God? How can we be sure that God, in his infinite wisdom, would not tolerate certain short-range evils in order for more long-ranged goods that we, as finite beings, could never understand?
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 01:16 am
@hmodahl,
I think Epicurus was intending to question the very existence of such a being, rather than beg the question regarding its proposed existence.
hmodahl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 08:15 am
@FBM,
Okay I think I see what you are saying. My response to that would be, if Epicurus is intending to question the existence of God, the questions and answers he is giving do not disprove the existence of God. They question the suffering and evil of this world in relation to God and his attributes, but they don't disprove the existence of God. He has hidden presuppositions that, "If I can't think of a good reason for evil and suffering, God must not have one." He is failing to realize that God is so much above him.
Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 08:21 am
@hmodahl,
Quote:
How can we be sure that God, in his infinite wisdom, would not tolerate certain short-range evils in order for more long-ranged goods that we, as finite beings, could never understand?

That's a good question. I've heard others ask why God did not answer the prayers of parents whose children were dying from accident or disease. And to that point, let’s say that little, five year old Jimmy falls prey to some terrible disease and bites the proverbial dust. And now we want to know why God didn’t answer his parents’ prayers for his recovery. Well, little did we know that Jimmy was going to grow up and have a nice little place in the country where he would have had some geese. Then one Sunday, one of his geese--the really mean one with goslings--would get loose. And as it so happens, a Sunday School bus carrying thirty-four children would be passing by Jimmy’s farm. The bus’s air conditioner isn’t working, and, being an especially hot day, the driver would have her side-window open. When the bus stops at an intersection in front of Jimmy’s place, the goose would see the bus as some kind of a threat to her goslings. As the bus is gaining speed after leaving the intersection, the goose would fly into the open window and go at the driver. As a result, she would inadvertently hit the gas pedal, and before you can say WTF--or more appropriately in this case, OMG--the bus would smash into a bridge abutment, burst into flames, and kill twenty-seven of the Christian children and terribly disfigure the rest of them.

Jimmy would hear the crash and then run to the scene. Having been thrown through the windshield, the goose and driver are lying in the ditch, dead. Jimmy recognizes his goose, and, smelling a lawsuit, or worse, grabs the goose and runs farther down the road and throws it into the water-filled ditch. He finds a rock and places it on the dead goose’s body. Suddenly the final scene in the movie “Deliverance” pops into his head, and he quickly finds another, way bigger rock and puts it on the dead goose under the water. Then he runs back to the house and calls 911.

So, just because we can’t see the bigger picture doesn’t mean God can’t. The life of Jimmy versus the lives of thirty-four Christians. And Jimmy wasn’t even a Christian! For God, it was a no-brainer; Jimmy had to go. As an aside, just before the bus tragedy that would have happened, that same goose would have gotten loose and flogged an innocent kitten to death. And that kitten would have grown up to kill the rat that carried the disease that devastated the whole community . . . including children!! But God, being all-knowing, allowed for Jimmy’s demise, which prevented the goose, which prevented the bus accident, and the kitten lived to kill the rat, which prevented the disease. So, all's well that ends well . . . I guess.
InfraBlue
 
  3  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 09:41 am
@hmodahl,
hmodahl wrote:

Okay I think I see what you are saying. My response to that would be, if Epicurus is intending to question the existence of God, the questions and answers he is giving do not disprove the existence of God. They question the suffering and evil of this world in relation to God and his attributes, but they don't disprove the existence of God. He has hidden presuppositions that, "If I can't think of a good reason for evil and suffering, God must not have one." He is failing to realize that God is so much above him.

You've answered your question based on the assumption that God exists.

It's a variation on the rationalization: "God works in mysterious ways."
hmodahl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 12:56 pm
@InfraBlue,
Yes. You are exactly right. I have answered the question on the assumption that God exists because the questions asked and discussion raised hold to this assumption as well.
0 Replies
 
hmodahl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 03:11 pm
@Glennn,
I want to be sure I'm understanding what you are saying correctly, so could you explain what you mean when you say:
"For God, it was a no-brainer; Jimmy had to go."
and:
"So, all's well that ends well . . . I guess."
If you wouldn't mind to clarify that would be great.
Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 03:39 pm
@hmodahl,
I'm afraid I must apologize. My post was meant to be taken humorously. I am out of line, and I will refrain from interrupting your thread any further.
hmodahl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 04:01 pm
@Glennn,
Thanks for your honesty. Best of wishes. If you want to participate seriously feel free to join back in anytime!
0 Replies
 
Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 04:33 pm
@hmodahl,
If there is a god, I would imagine that it would prefer that we learn on our own how not to suffer. So, maybe it's not so much a matter of a god allowing us to suffer, but rather, a god is allowing us to learn how not to suffer. First, we would have to learn what it is that causes us to suffer. And then we would have to determine what it will take to eliminate the cause.
hmodahl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 04:46 pm
@Glennn,
Thanks for joining back in.
I think that God does use suffering to teach us and grow us, however, He doesn't just leave us on our own to fend for ourselves and just figure it out. He promises to be with us every step of the way. Also in response to your point about what causes suffering, I think that it is our own sin that causes us to suffer. What are your thoughts?
Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 05:00 pm
@hmodahl,
If there is a god, I don't believe that he uses suffering to teach us. If your parents allow you to experience life for the purpose of understanding the world enough to keep you safe, they're not using suffering, even though you might suffer in your journey to adulthood. And if there is a god, I would think that its relationship to us would be of the same nature.

Let's say that you decide that brushing your teeth is something you don't like to do. So, later in life one of your teeth becomes abscessed, and you suffer. This suffering is of your own making. Your parents didn't cause it. And you learned in no uncertain terms that it is better to not suffer, and so you start taking care of your teeth.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 07:25 pm
@hmodahl,
hmodahl wrote:

Okay I think I see what you are saying. My response to that would be, if Epicurus is intending to question the existence of God, the questions and answers he is giving do not disprove the existence of God. They question the suffering and evil of this world in relation to God and his attributes, but they don't disprove the existence of God. He has hidden presuppositions that, "If I can't think of a good reason for evil and suffering, God must not have one." He is failing to realize that God is so much above him.


I don't see how it was intended to disprove anything, just cast doubt on it. Big difference there. The burden of proof is on the people making the claim. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical.

"He is failing to realize that God is so much above him."

This is a classic example of begging the question (logical fallacy).
Johnjohnjohn
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 08:47 pm
@hmodahl,
Barbers exist right?

Then why are there still people without cut hair ?

Answer that for me.
Glennn
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2015 08:52 pm
@Johnjohnjohn,
Quote:
Then why are there still people without cut hair ?

I would say it's because some people prefer longer hair.
0 Replies
 
Smileyrius
 
  3  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2015 03:02 am
@hmodahl,
From my understanding of the biblical version of God, as simplified as I can think of.

God made man, whom he would govern.
Man wanted to rule his self, under the assumption that they do not need god to prosper
God then sets aside two time periods, 6000ish years so far of mostly unassisted human rule, followed 1000 years of Heavenly rule to come, at the end of which a conclusion can be drawn.

Essentially it is the Sovereignty that is the issue, The king is at present allowing his subjects the chance to prove the challenge made in the most effective way. Allowing them to rule without his interference, that includes without the added benefits of Godly rule.

Gods only intervention is to preserve his purpose and the covenants he has made with man, preparing the way for restoration.

Of course, this is not a very common viewpoint, neither am I always correct in my discernments. But IMO. it provides a basis for why a just God would allow suffering

Scriptural references available on request.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2015 03:17 am
@Smileyrius,
I think you're full of poop, but, within the terms of christian mythology, this is the first coherent response to the OP.
Smileyrius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2015 03:50 am
@Setanta,
I cant say I'm poop free, so fair comment.
0 Replies
 
 

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