Suffer, Little Children

I recently wrote the post below for The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser and thought that if you missed it, you might like to read it here. 

I was reading Gary Marston’s latest post on Escaping Christian Fundamentalism God Is So Good! He Allowed Ten Thousand Children to Starve to Death Today.

Gary has his very own Christian troll (All atheist/agnostic bloggers have them) called Swordmanjr, who leapt to God’s defence, the mighty Creator Of All Things needing fallible, flawed human beings to do this for him. Swordmanjr accused Gary of scapegoating God who, apparently, is not really responsible for suffering, nor indeed anything horrible.

I guess God could be being scapegoated if it wasn’t for the fact, his Son, God Incarnate according to some, tells us he cares for human beings much more than he cares for sparrows (which is, admittedly, not much at all), that he is concerned to the extent that he numbers each and every hair on individuals’ heads (Matthew 10:29-30). This must be before he allows so many of them to die of starvation and in natural disasters.

The evidence is that God does not care. He doesn’t care if you’re a child born into poverty who then dies a slow, miserable, painful death through malnutrition. He doesn’t care if you’re caught up in a natural disaster like the recent earthquake in Turkey (which, according to some Christian nutjob, was God’s response to Sam Smith’s performance at the Grammies) in which your entire community and you yourself are wiped out. He doesn’t care if you die of a nasty virus, which ultimately he’s responsible for, as millions including Christians did during the pandemic. He doesn’t care that you die, when, or how horribly. He – just – doesn’t – care, period.

Jesus, as he was about so much, was plain wrong about his Father’s caring. The real world does not and will not match up with this early Christian fantasy.

Believers who leap to God’s defence invariably do it by launching vitriolic ad hominem attacks on non-theists who dare to criticise his shoddy performance. In doing so, they demonstrate yet another of Christianity’s disconnects; it’s promise that it makes new creatures of people, filled with love and compassion (2 Corinthians 5:17).

By their fruits shall ye know them,’ proclaims Jesus in Matthew 7:15-20. If the Christians who lurk around atheist blogs are anything to go by, those fruits are often pretty rotten: vitriol, spite, hatred… ‘evil’ Jesus calls it. These Christians frequently end their comments with a threat: one day the atheist will stand before God’s judgement throne and then they’ll be sorry: hell awaits!

God is not there in this kind of behaviour. He’s not there when humans suffer and die, frequently horribly. He’s not there in the Bible verses that promise he is there in such circumstances. God is not there.



33 thoughts on “Suffer, Little Children

    • Well, that’s okay then. Nothing to do with the fact you live in a society with (scientifically derived) health care. Those 10,000 children who God’s not there for can, despite your brilliant ‘idea’, just go f**k themselves as far as he’s concerned.

      And stop plugging your blog on mine.


      • I have not told you my whole story nor the stories of others whom God has protected, healed, and provided for, many in more dire circumstances. Nor have I told you of those who have suffered death in natural disasters and at the hands of those who hate them because of their faith. I’ll only say that he does. You can read their stories if you care to. Start with Corrie ten Boom. Her whole family died in a German prison camp or because of the injury suffered there. Or read Justin Martyr. Or Fox’s Book of Martyrs.

        You and Bruce may wring your hands at what seems like injustice or shake your fists at an uncaring God, but that is not how Christians face the extremities of life and death. Maybe you and Bruce are projecting your own angst upon us.

        We’ve discussed near death experiences. They are more common than you imagine. Many have experiences like mine and rarely talk about them. But those experiences seal the deal for us. We’ve been to the edge and faced death and pain, and we know it is not as fearsome as you and Bruce seem to think. From that moment on, death has lost its sting. We do not “rage against the dying of the light”. Nor will we do, as Dylan Thomas, rage over the pain and death of our loved ones, those who are safe in God’s care. We know that it is not about life and death but life and LIFE. And we are at peace, even though we may suffer pain.


      • This is an edit of Don’s latest essay:

        (My illness was) one of the many times God has been there for me. Some have been to save me from my own stupidity. Others to supply what I needed … a car (more than once), funds to continue my preparation for ministry, etc. I have found that I can trust him to provide whatever my need might be (not necessarily my want), including grace to bear with trouble, difficulties, and pain. He cares for me as I would care for my children. And through it all, he gives wonderful peace.

        My 89 year-old brother-in-law is experiencing that right now. He is caring for his wife who is deep into dementia. She cannot feed herself or get up out of her chair without his help. It is 24/7. He made a commitment to God 65 years ago to see her through whatever would come … life, death, sickness or health … and he is keeping that commitment. No regrets, even when it is hard. But he is also discovering that God gives strength and endurance and joy for the task. That is God being with us and providing grace.

        One day I will die, and I am confident that he will be there for me through that time. He certainly has for many, many before me. The old-timers called it dying grace. And they knew what they were talking about.


      • So if your god, Yahweh, looks after you and yours why do you think he allows thousand of children to die of preventable illness and starvation every single day?

        Liked by 3 people

      • Quick answer (and one you will not like) sin. The fact is there is plenty of food and medical care available IF WE WOULD DECIDE THAT ENDING THE SUFFERING OF THESE CHILDREN IS IMPORTANT. But we don’t think so. Why? Because we are more interested in our own comfort than in the a suffering of these children.

        And that makes the complaints of those who sit by and allow the suffering all the more ironic. Does that include you? Does it include me? It is that which should cause us to pause and think.


      • This does not answer my question.
        There must be thousands of devout Christian parents who are simply incapable of feeding their kids, especially in drought torn areas.
        To label the reason for this as sin is beyond callous, especially as you, a westerner with all mod cons, claims your god, Yahweh

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ark: What, if I may, was the issue Yahweh was there for?

        God was there for Don that time he starved to death. Just like God was there for the 10,000 kids who starved to death today.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don, you cannot speak for the personal experiences of anyone except yourself. The fact that you think you can underscores just how delusional you are.

      The fact that 10,000 kids starve to death EVERY DAY is no okay. The fact that you think it is because God is “there for them” makes you a monster. Ever wonder why people are turning away from Christianity? It’s because Christianity makes people like you moral monsters. I wish there were a Hell I could look forward to you burning in forever.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Then do something about it. I do. Burt whether either of us do anything, life does not consist of the food on out table. I know you have a have a hard time understanding this, but the extremities of life even if that includes death do not separate us from God’s love.


      • It’s easy for the well fed to say life does not consist of food on the table.

        Not easy at all for those who haven’t got food or clean water, and for whom your God doesn’t care.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Have you talked to any of those for whom ‘God doesn’t care’? Have you talked with any who trust in the Lord in the midst of want and suffering? I doubt it because I think you would find their story different from that which you paint.

        There have been plenty who have told their stories. For most suffering is purging and redemptive. They find hope in suffering.

        Others suffer, of course, who have no hope. But suffering for them may be redemptive as well, for it drives them to God because it destroys false hope.

        You, Neil, have not spoken of any personal suffering. And perhaps that is much the pity. You depend on false hope.


      • So your God uses the 10,000 children scheduled to die today to see if those who could help actually do. When they don’t God says to the 10,000, ‘tough shit, kids, but maybe the agony you’ll go through on your last day will be enough to draw you nearer to me. Probably this won’t work for the majority of you, but again, tough shit. After your miserable life of suffering here on Earth you can, once you die today, be assured of an eternity in hell.’

        This is the God you believe in and promote? I wouldn’t worship the callous, vicious bastard even if he did exist.

        Liked by 2 people

      • See my reply to Ark.

        There is no reason that there should be such suffering in the world … except our (yours and mine) indifference to it. There is adequate food. There is medical care. There is water. So, indirectly the suffering these experience is our fault. We could change it.

        I look in my closet and find shirts that will outlive me. I look in my cupboards and there is food enough for weeks. I imagine if I should look in yours I would find the same.

        I watched a bit of the Oscars this week. Did you? There was no lack of gowns that cost thousands of dollars. I watched as the celebs were delivered in cars costing many tens of thousands of dollars. Hey, I have a car in my parking spot worth maybe $4,000. And all this while there is suffering in the world?

        Who are we kidding, Kos? Why is there suffering in the world? You answer that.

        You can blame God if that makes you feel better. But the fault lies elsewhere.


      • Don:
        “For most suffering is purging and redemptive. They find hope in suffering.”

        That’s sick!
        Tell that to the children at MD Anderson hospital…how do you help them?
        Their parents don’t think their children’s suffering is redemptive! They want their kids to not have cancer!
        That’s an entire hospital full of kids with cancer…where’s god?
        Why doesn’t he cure their cancer?
        Could he?
        It’s just a little kid…No sin involved.

        Liked by 3 people

    • He’s not there for the children that live in a village in Africa that my school is raising money for so they can have a well drilled to have water to drink BECAUSE THEY’RE DYING FROM NOT HAVING CLEAN WATER TO DRINK!
      I know Don will say “look at all the money that god is raising for the well”…but using Occam’s Razor, his god is unnecessary!
      My students are raising the money.
      No god involved.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, he does. Do you? That is the question. God has given us every means to alleviate this suffering and prevent it. And he has given us the responsibility and privilege of being his caring hands.

      Something Jesus said comes to mind: “if you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.” Christians take that to heart and go or give to do it unto the least.”

      May I recommend World Vision


      • Don, stop sidestepping. You have repeatedly talked about the power of your “God” and all that “he” can do. Yet you then turn around and write: he has given us the responsibility … of being his caring hands. Either “God” has the power to take care of the human race or “he” doesn’t.

        As Ark asks … if “he” can take care of you and answer your prayers and do all the things you claim “he” can … why isn’t “he” there for the starving children i

        Liked by 2 people

      • Curing childhood cancer…why is god making us try to find the cure for cancer after all these millennia, instead of him just curing it?
        Suffering children and parents want to know.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This whole “god is with you while you’re suffering/dying” is a load of bullshit!

    Could god provide the whole world with food and water? Absolutely! He did it with the hebrews.
    But he chooses not to…THAT is the definition of a dick!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay. Here we go.

    Don: God was there for me, and I have an idea that he is there for each of his children.

    Don has an idea that God is there for each of his children. At least Don is admitting that he has no evidence that God was there for anybody. It’s just an idea in his head. Of course it is.

    His brain must protect him from the fact that if this God exists it is a moral monster. But if Don’s malfunctioning brain can imagine some presence comforting starving children than it’s somehow okay that God is allowing those children to starve. Don can hum a pleasant tune to himself as he imagines his good God “being there” for these children as they slowly suffer and die. What an awesome God!

    Kos: The fact that 10,000 kids starve to death EVERY DAY is no okay.

    Don: Then do something about it.

    Once again a theist tacitly admits that people must do what God cannot. Don is admitting that humans must feed God’s children because God cannot. An impotent god.

    Don: life does not consist of the food on out table.

    Yeah, it does. No food, no life. Ask the starving kids.

    If a human father had the means to feed his children yet let them starve to death, we’d call that man a moral monster. Christians tell me God can do anything. Yet he refuses to feed his starving children. Again, I say: The Christian God is a moral monster.

    Don: the extremities of life even if that includes death do not separate us from God’s love.

    Yet many, perhaps most (as Christianity is still a minority in the world), of those starving kids don’t know Christ or Christianity. The moment they die they are destined for Hell. Such a loving God. Such a Father figure.

    Don: For most suffering is purging and redemptive. They find hope in suffering.

    So they’ve been taught to be masochistic. Not a healthy relationship to have with anybody, even God.

    Don: Who are we kidding, Kos? Why is there suffering in the world? You answer that.

    Beside natural disasters and accidents, because people are selfish assholes.

    But I don’t believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-kind god. Why make humans that require food and clean water? God could have eliminated one cause of suffering right there. But he’s an evil bastard that somehow gets off on starving people, including starving kids.

    Don: You can blame God if that makes you feel better. But the fault lies elsewhere.

    Yet God does not intervene. Again, the father who can feed his children and doesn’t is a moral monster. Or, since we are talking about God, a Moral Monster. (Christians do love to capitalize everything they think refers to God.)

    Don: And he has given us the responsibility and privilege of being his caring hands.

    Imagine a Father who can feed his children but instead gives that responsibility to a 4 year old. The 4 year old must make money to buy the food, buy the food, prepare the food and feed it to the other children. Is that Father to be praised? Or is that Father an Idiot as well as a Moral Monster.

    God gave us a sinful nature – including being selfish bastards. That we (collectively) are selfish bastards is then God’s fault and he bares responsibility for the consequences. Again, God is the Moral Monster here.

    Pretend in your head that God is good all you want, Don. The evidence on the ground is that if he exists, he’s the Selfish Bastard. He’s the Moral Monster. He’s an Asshole.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. More preaching and condescension from Don. I debated not posting it, as it’s little more than a catalogue of excuses for how ineffectual his God is in the real world. (I’ve also edited it to remove his customary plug for his own blog.)

    A few comments to set the record straight:

    Kos: “Once again a theist tacitly admits that people must do what God cannot.”

    Don From Genesis chapter 3 on we have been on our own BY OUR OWN CHIOICE, and suffering has been our lot (Gen. 3:16-19) You have made that choice, Kos. We all have. Now you are complaining that God does not run to our rescue? You have intentionally distanced yourself from God and intentionally tried to erase him from your life. You have what you want, and now you complain?

    Still, God does act. He saves many out of trouble and suffering … when they seek it from him. That is simply history. He saves some in the midst of trouble and suffering, and they find God more than sufficient in their suffering. … that is also simply history. And many have told stories of such rescue. He saved me.

    But the bigger picture is that God from the beginning made mankind his agents in the world. So, though God does step in to rescue those who call upon him, he has generally made his agents of that care. We are to love one another and care for one another. (In that we live out our true humanity as God’s co-workers. And when we don’t, we become the real monsters in this story.) So, stop this stupid complaining and DO SOMETHING about the suffering. Step up to your calling.


    • Don:
      “Still, God does act. He saves many out of trouble and suffering … when they seek it from him.”

      From the American Cancer Society:
      Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14. About 1,040 children under the age of 15 are expected to die from cancer in 2023Jan 12, 2023

      You’re telling me these parents aren’t seeking his help…his cure?
      We’re saying “HE’S NOT HELPING ANYONE!
      They’re DYING!

      You’re being deliberately obtuse, because you know that every xtian believes that god will help them…they’re not praying for comfort, they’re praying to be healed!!

      (In that we live out our true humanity as God’s co-workers. And when we don’t, we become the real monsters in this story.)

      WRONG! We’re not the monsters, your god is! He could help, but won’t!

      BTW, you don’t begin a sentence with a conjunction. “And when we don’t”…should be “We don’t “…

      Liked by 2 people

      • And you goyo could help. Do you?

        There are a lot of people who do. I don’t know if you are paying attention, but many children are cured of cancer. One of my friend’s sons recently finished a several year-long treatment and is now cancer free. They have new treatments available because we contributed to places like St. Jude’s hospital. Others became researchers and doctors to treat childhood cancer. As they do they live out their humanity as God designed.

        The same goes for kids starving. Many of us give to organizations like World Vision to provide not only food but aid in producing food in places where hunger is serious. And of course, others go taking the food and the expertise to help. And as they do they live out their true humanity as God designed for them.

        Do you see how that works? If we all intentionally fit into his plan and used the gifts and skills he has given us to meet the needs of those around us, there would be no starving children. There would be many more, perhaps all, of the kids with cancer who survive. There would be no homeless. There would be none of the other ills that afflict us such as wars and violence, broken families, abortions, etc.

        Yeah, I know that seems like a lot, but the cumulative effort would have a cumulative result.

        To be truly human is to fit in some way into God’s design of loving our neighbor. To live for yourself alone is the exact opposite, and it results in our becoming less and less human and the world becoming more and more inhospitable.

        You see God has a plan. He is not watching the world go to hell without a care. He is caring through us. Are you living as God designed. goyo?


      • To be truly human is to fit in some way into God’s design … Ohhhh! That sounds so … “religious.” 🙏

        Don, do you truly believe that people can only be caring and helpful to their fellow humans with your god’s help? If so, you are more indoctrinated than I thought.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Of course not. I do believe that God made us to be caring and helpful and that when we are we live out God’s design for us – whether we know it or not. When we do that we are truly human.

        What other earthly creature does that on the level we are capable of? My goodness, we have it in our power to eliminate hunger and poverty and end violence and war … if we wanted to.

        What other creature goes rogue like human beings do and serves themselves and their interests at the expense of others? What other creature has the power and makes the threat to unleash destruction on the whole world? When we murder millions and destroy nature we deny our calling and humanity and are the least human. We become monsters.

        That might give you a clue that there is more to us than any creature of the animal world? It might even suggest that there was someone who made us that way.


  4. Don:
    “He cares for me as I would care for my children.”

    Then you’re a bad parent…you’re admitting that if your child had cancer, and you could heal them, you wouldn’t!
    You would hold their hand and watch them die in agony.

    Because that’s what your “loving god does.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.