Summary: The most common argument against faith is the existence of suffering. If there was a God, there would be no suffering. This argument is hypocritical in that we choose suffering. God gave us the choice, and we chose suffering rather than bliss.
1. Atheists love to play this card, it is their trump card
• The Problem of Evil takes the following form:
A God that is all powerful would be able to prevent evil and suffering.
A God that is all knowing would know that evil and suffering happen.
A God that is all loving wouldn't want evil and suffering to happen and would take needed action to stop it.
Evil and suffering happen.
Since evil and/or suffering happen, these statements are contradictory. An all powerful, all knowing and all loving god cannot exist while suffering continues.
• Epicurean paradox:
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? –Epicurus (Greek philosopher, 341-270 BCE)
• We live in a world in which a child dies every five seconds of starvation. Every five seconds. Every minute there are twenty-five people who die because they do not have clean water to drink. Every hour 700 people die of malaria. Where is God in all this? “How the Problem of Pain Ruined My Faith.”
2. If there was a God, there would be no suffering
a. I say, because there is suffering, there is a God
i. How are we here to enjoy pleasures or suffer from troubles?
b. I say, suffering teaches me to look elsewhere.
1. Suffering is a result of what we did and do, not what God did or doesn’t do.
2. Suffering is a part of freedom of choice
a. We confuse kindness with love.
b. "Kindness cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering", while Love "would rather see [the loved ones] suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes" CS Lewis
c. Yes, God allows us to suffer because that is the right and loving thing to do.
i. We get cancer, we have surgery and treatment, all of which makes us suffer. So why do we do it? Childbirth is nearly insufferable, why go through that?
ii. We suffer because we have the right to choose, and we make bad choices.
iii. Life is choices, without choices we have no life. E.g. the person who is on a respirator and without brain function, they have life, they are not suffering.
d. One more thing about kindness, we are willing to extend kindness to another as long as they do not infringe upon us.
3. Using this as an argument against Faith, is hypocritical
a. I use this term in 2 different senses:
i. In the classic meaning of the word, they (atheists) condemn in others what they practice themselves. They look down on others for doing the same thing that they themselves do all the time.
ii. They are also hypo-critical
1. Critical=involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc.; judicial:
2. Hypo=under (Gr)
3. In other words they are not using true critical thinking, but they pretend to.
b. We don’t care if we suffer or cause others to suffer.
i. E.g. war
ii. Why are those children starving and there is no clean water? Because they are in a constant state of war. God provided plenty of water and food for these children, we steal it from them.
iii. Guarantee-God could rain down manna from heaven to these poor countries where children are starving and others would steal it from them and they would still be hungry.
c. We are hypocrites because we fault God for allowing suffering in man, but we turn around and cause suffering to other creatures lower than us.
d. We do the same thing. We have children. We open the door for their suffering.
i. Why don’t we put them in a bubble, feed them through a slot?
ii. Why do we allow them to learn to drive?
iii. Why do we allow them to get married?
iv. Why do we have children? That’s suffering.
e. If God eliminated suffering, we still wouldn’t believe
i. Garden of Eden
iii. Jesus’ miracles
Matthew 11:23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.
4. Suffering can be a blessing
a. Children are a case in point.
b. If there were no suffering, we would not appreciate our blessings
• In Jerusalem there is a Holocaust Museum dedicated to the memory of the millions of Jews who were killed by the Nazis in World War II. It has been said that going through the museum is a very depressing experience because you see these horrible pictures and read the accounts of the ghettos and the concentration camps. But in the midst of all the dark tales of suffering, there is one amazing story of how God can transform horror into hope.