Theodicy – how to square suffering with an all powerful, loving God. A meme doing the rounds neatly summarises the four possibilities as applied to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here it is and here they are:
Assuming God exists and given his apparent indifference/inaction during the current crisis (not to mention numerous previous ones) these are really the only four options. However, if
- he is unaware Covid-19 is happening then he’s not omniscient
- he is aware of it but is unwilling to stop it then he’s not all loving
- he is aware of it but is unable to stop it then he’s not all powerful
- he deliberately caused (or allowed it) it then he’s nothing but a complete and utter bastard
Oh wait – turns out there’s a fifth option! (Pause while we phone a friend.)
So that’s it – God doesn’t exist, which is why we see him doing f**k all in this and every other calamity we’ve ever faced.
As for me, I’ll put my trust in science. Already those damn scientists with their ‘man’s ideas’ (©Ken Ham) have started solving the problem. No need then to rely on an imaginary, non-existent friend. Thank God for that.
It’s funny. I recently saw this meme and thought about making a post about it. You did the work for me. Thanks for that.
As for the meme itself, those four options are quite problematic for believers. God is either ignorant, impotent or a monster who designed the whole thing. Or, like you pointed out, he is simply not there. The fact that a loving god who is supposed to intervene on our behalf when we call on him is nowhere to be found, is a damning piece of evidence pointing to his nonexistence. Now, of course, there are those who wills say that we can’t prove that. They’re right. We can’t prove he’s not real. Maybe he is. Maybe God is really real. Maybe he exists for unknown reasons doing unknown things while we suffer over and over again…OR…the Bible stories we are told are about a creation from within the minds of humans who had no better explanation for the world in which they lived. Either way, the result is the same. An uninterested god or a nonexistent one both have the same effect on our lives. Zero. We’re still on our own. That is a fact that history shows quite clearly.
Nice post. Simple and to the point.
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Well said, Ben. While we can’t disprove God exists I think we can assess the probabilty of his doing so. As far as the Christian God is concerned the probability is extremely low, for a multitude of reasons (I can feel another blog post coming on.) Certainly history and the current circumstances miltate against him. I don’t think the chances are all that high for a generic, disinterested god either, but as you say that hardly matters when such an entity has no effect on our lives, or anything else for that matter.
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There is a way to square suffering but it doesn’t include a god. Isn’t that evidence there isn’t one?
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It certainly is, Jim. And not just suffering: god is not necessary for the explanation of anything. The application of Occam’s Razor demonstrates his non-existence. God is a superfluous construct that can safely be jettisoned.