Lie #7: ‘If God was really powerful and good, he wouldn’t allow so much evil and suffering to go on.’

This is raised by just about everyone: Priests and ministers, college students and housewives, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers.

It’s one of the hardest questions anybody ever asks.

Just a few days ago, a close friend of mine, Laurin, passed away after a fierce 18 month battle with cancer.  What a horrible experience this was for him and his wife Diana.

I’ve visited the slums of Sao Paulo Brazil, where 500,000 homeless street kids sniff glue and steal for a living.  Sometimes the police hunt them down and kill them, just to reduce the crime rate.

Last year my wife spent a week in Mozambique where she saw an infant in her mother’s arms, dying of pneumonia in a hospital waiting room.  She met hundreds of other kids with malaria and malnutrition. We’ve given some money for a medical clinic, and every bit helps.  But the problems are so huge, what little you try to do still seems like a teardrop in the ocean.

If you took all the parties, the humor, the success and happiness in the world, and put it side by side with the suffering and pain, the comparison would be almost absurd.

There’s a lot of sickness and sadness in this world.

How can God let it go on?

Well, I can’t give you an answer.  I can only tell you a true story.

~~~

A certain man threatened the Religious Gestapo, who in turn convinced the Roman government that He was a threat to them, too.

His followers were disappointed that He didn’t overthrow the Romans and declare himself King, like the Messiah was supposed to do.  So they abandoned Him.

The ancient Romans pioneered what was possibly the most cruel form of torture ever devised by man:  Crucifixion.  They would drive spikes into their victim’s ankles and wrists, smashing his nerves.  He would hang there in blinding sheets of pain, slowly suffocating and dehydrating for days, until he finally expired.

Jesus was whipped and beaten, literally beyond recognition, then nailed to a cross between two common criminals.

One of these criminals was cursing and shouting at Him in a fit of rage: ‘HEY! If you’re the KING, why don’t you get yourself down from there!  And US, TOO!!!’

The other guy went along with this… for a little while.

But he saw that Jesus wasn’t hurling insults at his torturers.  Instead He was asking God to forgive them (?!).

He sobered up.  He said to the other criminal, ‘Hey dude, you and I are here because we deserve it.  But this man Jesus has done nothing wrong.’

Then he said to Jesus, ‘Remember me when you take charge of your Kingdom.’

Jesus simply replied, ‘Today you’ll be with me in Paradise.’

~~~

Stop the camera.

What you have here, in this brief conversation, is a snapshot of the entire world.

You have two criminals who have gotten themselves into a horrendous, awful mess.  And you have the Son of God, who has not only chosen to live with us in our world of pain and suffering, but has personally taken all of it upon his own shoulders.

Even though he is completely innocent.

One thief refuses to accept any responsibility for his actions. He’s unwilling to admit that he created the very mess that he’s in.

He lives in denial until the bitter end.  He grits his teeth and dies in his sin.

The other thief comes clean.  He recognizes that Jesus possesses divine authority.  He admits his guilt.  He is required to do nothing, other than to let go of his pride.

He asks for forgiveness.

Forgiveness granted.

Jesus’ pardon doesn’t make the cross or the agony go away.  But finally the struggle ceases and this man crosses the Great Divide. The intense pain dissolves and he steps into a New World, designed by God Himself — with renewed body and soul.

That’s a picture of the entire world, right there. You and I are in this mess together, and we’ve all contributed to it.

We’ve all rejected God in some way or another, we’ve all committed some kind of crime, and we all experience suffering.

The situation is what it is.

So we have a simple choice: Accept that fact that God has suffered with us — or mock him and be furious because the suffering exists in the first place.

Which way do you want it???

The decision is yours.  You and I will never get a true ‘answer’ about the pain and suffering we experience in this life.  But in the midst of our pain, we have a companion.  You and I can have the same conversation with Jesus that this criminal had, and we can experience the same forgiveness.  All we have to do is ask, just like the thief on the cross did on that sad day.

~~~

This is the last of the Seven Great Lies of Organized Religion. I pray that I’ve helped to strip away all the baggage that the Religious Gestapo adds to the story and reduce it to the bare essentials.  I hope this has stirred your mind and your heart.

Are you trying to strip away the baggage and get to a deeper truth? We’d like to hear from you. Simply submit a comment below.

We often run behind, but will do our best to respond.

Respectfully Submitted,

Perry Marshall
www.CoffeehouseTheology.com

640 Responses to “Lie #7: ‘If God was really powerful and good, he wouldn’t allow so much evil and suffering to go on.’”

  1. Shayan Khan says:

    God knew Man would create havoc and become a potential bane for this world. The creation of Man is a very intricate creation of God (in our opinion). Man had the freedom to choose between right and wrong. God granted man the right to live their lives in any way they want with restrictions to destiny. They can’t choose what families they may belong to, what parents/siblings they may have and so forth. It’s just like, if you grab one of your legs and stand on one leg, you can maintain balance. But, if you try to grab the other leg, you will fall to the ground. Try to correlate this with the control God has granted us, and the control God has not granted.

    It is our own choice to act in certain ways. We decide what to do with our lives, or the lives of others. God has decided a specific time when to end the Universe, along with the Earth. He had sent messengers to deliver his messages. Some people found them rational, some people did not, because it was their own choice. God did not make belief in Him an obligation.

    In my opinion, there still are quite a lot of good people left in this world. But unfortunately, people seem to be deviating from a more preffered path/direction to a considerably harmful path, for them and for the world.

    “The Almighty desires not to place a hardship on you but He desires to purify you and to complete His favor upon you, so that you may be thankful.” 5:8 (The Holy Quran)

    “Whoever goes aright, for his own soul he goes aright; and whoever goes astray, to his own detriment he goes astray.” 39:41 (The Holy Quran)

    “Say: O people, the truth has come to you from your Lord; So whoever goes aright, goes aright only for the good of his own soul: and whoever errs, he errs only against it. ” 10:108 (The Holy Quran)

    So, i believe God has certainly laid a limit to which man can act upon, but he is given freedom within the “boundries”.

    • If we continue to call God ‘He’, ‘Him’ the debate will never develop. It will be stuck in “Did He create life or did He not.?” If we call the omnipresent creative energy ‘It’ we include our own responsibility for our own lives and actions. This is one obvious reason why most people will not say ‘It’

      While the creative force encompasses motherly and fatherly attributes, it is misleading and unscientific to refer to a power as a person and encourages the passing of blame.

      It also sets a limitation on life to say that we only have one. This is not a matter of ‘right’ thought or ‘wrong’ thought. We will not be punished for using ‘God given’ intelligence. Intelligence must be used if we are to respect all our attributes.
      If, for the sake of argument, we imagine we have countless lives in which to make life a better place for our fellow man, we can start to see how limitless are our opportunities.
      If we can appreciate this idea as a fairer one than just one life, just one bite of the cherry, I am sure the creative laws would too.

      Jesus’ greatest commandments were hard to understand without a wider aknowledgement of ‘God’
      Mathew, 22,verse 37-39:-

      “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind.
      And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”.

      If a God is ‘Him’,it suggests bowing down,kneeling to an unrecognised personality. Behaviour observed and possibly punished if not obeyed, by law.
      If God is ‘It’, it suggests one’s own spiritual evolution. An entitlement to life, one’s own creative connection with the great source of life and one’s responsibility to develop as a human being to our utmost, knowing that we are experiencing creation from all angles.
      To love our neighbour then follows automatically; our neighbour IS ourself.

      Physics tells us there are many radio waves within the spaces we inhabit but we only tune into one at any time. Just because we are unfamiliar with laws does not mean they do not exist.
      We asked to be born.
      Reincarnation is a blessing and a priveledge.
      We have a contract with life.

  2. NAYER MOHAMMED says:

    just a simple qestion from a 17 year old boy
    are the people that pray for GOD and GOD ONLy and worship GOD no matter their religion is( christian, islam, jewish) will be accepted by GOD?? .. because from whereican see some christian say that christianity is the 100% atrue religion while other religions has deficits , the muslims say that too, alsothe jews say that(i think this is why we can’t accept each other and this is the why the world peace can’t happen not because some political issues)
    i just need a simple answer

    • perrymarshall says:

      Jesus made a very divisive statement: He said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.”

      Even if people are Muslim or Hindu, the only way they will become one with God is through his son Jesus Christ.

      I encourage you to read the book of John at http://www.biblegateway.com.

  3. The Answers says:

    If we have time to question the existence of God then we have time to ask ourselves: What is bad? People live, people die. It’s irrelevant to blame God for cancer or a disease as such. He didn’t go “Hey, I’m bored. Let’s give this person cancer.” It just so happened that a person’s anatomy dealt them a bad hand. Everyone has cancer cells in their bodies, some people’s cells just react, others don’t. But. We all fear evil and evil men. But the truest evil is the indifference of good men. Christianity is like most religions. A plea for money. I worship God and believe he is benevolent and kind yet vengeful. So let’s get on with our lives. Worship God or any god of your choosing the way he taught.

    • Conway Redding says:

      Anent your comment, “It’s irrelevant to blame God for cancer or a disease as such.” How is it irrelevant, if you believe that God created this frame of existence and that nothing happens in this frame of existence without God’s either directly willing it, or, at the very least, allowing it to happen? If a person’s “anatomy dealt them a bad hand,” then God must have either have arranged for that to happen, or allowed it to happen. I also take issue with your statement that God “is benevolent and kind yet vengeful.” Benevolence and kindness do not accord well with vengefulness, one of the pettiest of motives, and hardly something I would expect of an entity usually viewed as being “perfect.”

      • Kieran Toohey says:

        “How is it irrelevant, if you believe that God created this frame of existence and that nothing happens in this frame of existence without God’s either directly willing it, or, at the very least, allowing it to happen?” I absolutly agree with that statement, the first part anyway. God does allow bad things happen to good people (Job for example), he created everything including disease, however this is all part of his plan. Now bear with me. think broader than your life or those immedietly around you. think of life as more a a chess board one piece indirectly coincides with another depending on the opposing force. Satin acts, and God must back up areas of is board even if it involves losing a player (possibly involving disease, suiside, war, murder, etc) however ultimatly benifiting the one side as a whole. God allows everything to happen, he must. He can act indirectly however. This world he created has free will. he can directly intervine if he wanted, but why give free will if he favors one and not the other? Bad things happen to good people for the better of the team, free will, or to test faith (again refering to Job). Also as far as being “kind and vengefull” imagine if your son (assuming you have one) was put on trial for a capital charge he didn’t commit, was found guilty, sentenced to death, and was exicuted infront of you in the most brutal fassion you can think of. Now imagine he did it for someone you love so dearly, that you would ask him to go through with it. Then that person who he died for spat on his grave and your face. Wouldn’t you be vengfull for them disrespecting your unconditional love for them? Wouldn’t you? I would.

        • Conway Redding says:

          Kieran, you can think as broadly as you like, and you can maintain that God’s plan is completely beyond the comprehension of us mortals, but I maintain that, if God is all-powerful, which is certainly one of the attributes that is usually assigned to him, then, whatever his plans are, however broad they may be, and however incomprehensible we mere humans might find them, God could accomplish those plans without causing misery to a single living soul. Now, as to your positing a situation in which I might be vengeful, let me remind you that I am a mere human, with no pretense to being perfect in any way, and I, therefore, might be expected to experience any one of a number of emotional states, such as vengefulness, that I would not expect of a being conceived of, as God is, as being “perfect.” Finally, if God’s love for us is unconditional, as you seem to be implying, and as many theists explicitly maintain, well, “unconditional” means God loves us without conditions — the love is not dependent on our behavior. So why would such a God be vengeful? Sorry, Kieran, but, once again, I must point out that belief in the real existence of this God, entails such glaring contradictions and inconsistencies, that it is hard for me to conceive that those who do so believe, are operating with a full deck.

          • perrymarshall says:

            Ever had a child in your family get molested? Ever had a friend get killed by a drunk driver? Ever met someone who lived through the holocaust? I would fully and completely expect a perfect being to be vengeful.

            God’s love for us is not unconditional. We can reject it – and we can reach a point of no return.

  4. Shayan Khan says:

    Man certainly has the choice to choose, and God did not take away freedom of actions/choice from man. Does God have the right to punish man for his actions? Absolutely. He created us, he can certainly destroy us for disobeying him, even when the truth was displayed. People KNOW God exists, what God asked from them, yet, man still disobeys his commandments and has a proclivity for bad deeds/sins. Does not this type of a creation deserve to be punished? Should he be given a second chance? No. What would be the point of providing a second chance when man automatically submits himself to God. The point is to blindly submit. Angels are perfect because they have conversated with God, they know God exists (and because they have been made in a particular way, which are as sinless beings).

  5. Conway Redding says:

    With respect to your assertion, “People KNOW God exists,” well, here’s one person who knows no such thing, and who thinks that the preponderance of available evidence points in the direction of God’s existing only in the same sense that Scherezade, Ali Baba, and Sinbad the Sailor exist, to wit, as a creation of the human imagination. In addition, I cannot forbear pointing out that you contradict yourself when, on the one hand, you claim that “man automatically submits himself to God,” but on the other you say “God did not take away freedom of actions/choice from man…” If man’s submission to God is “automatic,” it is hardly free. Of course, you seem at the same time to agree that man does NOT automatically submit to God, but has the freedom to choose not to submit, and you posit that such a choice is what accounts for the evil in the world, and for the manifold punishments that God visits upon the wicked. So you seem to be saying simultaneously that man has free will, which accounts for his evil acts, and that man automatically submits to God, which latter assertion is palpably false, by your own admission that it is that very lack of submission the accounts for the presence of evil in this world.

    It might be good if, before you comment further on these matters, you took some formal training in logic. And by the way, simply quoting from the Holy Qur’an, as you did in one of your earlier posts, is not, in and of itself, one of the techniques of logic, and does not establish your bona fides as a logical thinker.

  6. Larry Johnston says:

    If I were a betting man, I would bet that no theist can watch more than twenty minutes of this, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-206887275399093528#, in an unbiased manner, before their circular logic takes over.

    • Richard Vidrine says:

      I watched more than 30 minutes of it and saw no need for any kind of logic, especially circular logic. Most of the program is based on misinformation and conjecture and what little truth is in the report is where they followed the biblical accounts. Still, their conclusions were mostly all wrong. The belief in God didn’t happen the way they propose. Their assumption is that God was a fabrication of man in his quest to understand his existence and his role or purpose in life. This is wrong. Men believe in God because man was created by God and this knowledge has not been lost. The first man had a personal knowledge and relationship with God. In fact, in the beginning it was God that taught man language and the first man Adam even gave names to all of the creatures (just like we still do today). Yes, deception has been introduced by the spiritual enemy of God that lives and rules upon earth (for the moment) and the true God is not anything like the one(s) portrayed in the world, even in the Christian religion which is based upon God’s holy instruction manual, the Bible. God is a powerful alien but mankind sees Him more as a fantasy or a mythological figure. There are not many who know the true God. This will change in the future. He has gone away to a distant land but He will return. For most, His return will be a fearful thing…an alien invasion.

  7. adhurim uka says:

    I see that you guys are talking more about(against)Christianity,but can somebody study Koran,compare it with science facts,study mohammed(a.s)words objectively and sincerely tell us what does he/she think about religions.It must be a Koran translated by a muslim.Does anybody have heart to do that?PLEASE

  8. Shayan Khan says:

    I suppose you need to develop your logical understanding/comprehending skill level thoroughly.
    As i said earlier: “Should he be given a second chance? No. What would be the point of providing a second chance when man automatically submits himself to God.” Yes, this is an assertion, and im sure everyone would be able to understand what this denotes. Providing a second chance, as in, after man personally sights God, or listens to God (which ofcourse, will be presented on the day of judgement), he will “obviously” obey God in every second of his life (If God granted him with a second chance to live in the world, which won’t really happen). So, automatically in the sense, man wouldn’t be retarded or stupid enough to not accept Gods second offer and instead, accept the fires of Hell.
    You seem to twist my argument in another angle, which is clearly means you never understood what i said.

  9. Shayan Khan says:

    The quotations purpose was to merely support logic using authentic sources of scripture. And, to verify what i was stating. No, it may not diminish the level of logic presented, in any case.

  10. Rick Sturm says:

    Sorry, but Perry Marshall’s “proof” that god exists is pathetic. I’ve had graduate courses in computational linguistics and the formation (evolution?) of language. The crux (yes, I like irony) of his argument is the following syllogism:

    P1) Patterns cannot naturally self-copy or be repeated.
    P2) Some patterns – Perry calls these “designs” – are copied or repeated.
    C1) Designs, therefore, cannot occur naturally.

    To quote Aristotle, “Bullcrap.”

    If we zoom in on a DNA strand so closely as to see quarks colliding, are two cytosine strands guaranteed to be have identical quantum characteristics? Nope. A “cytosine strand” is really just a label we’ve slapped onto a “thing” that *with very high probability* has a set of useful properties that some researcher chose to call “cytosine”.

    And that’s just one counter to the naive assertion of P1 above.

    Switching topics, I like how dogmatic christians respond to examples of suffering with hearsay by mentioning the suffering of other people they know. Notably, these christians don’t talk about their *own* suffering, only that of others. This blog posting contains several examples. It goes something like this: “Your son was stomped to death by a marching band? That’s nothing! My friend’s son was flattened by a steamroller! Now why are you so bitter, friend?”

    Congratulations on witnessing the suffering of 500,000 in the slums (FYI they’re call “favelas”) of Brazil. Did you take their names and pray for them? You’re a big-hearted man to observe such suffering. Hope your flight back went well.

  11. REGIS DEANS says:

    The True God has proven Himself to be a Spirit.
    This is at every point in life proven undisputably true.
    He revealed Himself to the unlettered,whose message have been both spiritually and scientifically beneficial to both the lettered and the unlettered in this world in anticipation of a desired peace and bliss reposed is New World promised to those who believe in Him.
    Without Him we will want to relocate to a better place from the planet earth probably for true peace and bliss.
    Yet, we have to remember that He is still the ONE and ONLY WHO created the entirety of space and the universe.To find and satisfy our instinctive desires for fulfilment-let’s accept His Truth in Adam and in JESUS, THE CHRIST of God.
    Let’s follow His WAY and WORD and that settles our woes.
    The spiritually thoughtful will live for Him because He is spiritually descerned.
    DEANS.

  12. Virendra Giri says:

    I think our sufferings start as soon as our dreams and expectations exceed our ability and capability.Pain and sufferings are required to make our character strong, do introspect our dream and reality.As long as we are keeping our requirement at the minimum we will be by and large happy but the fact is opposite.We have more requirement, we create more everyday but we do not develop the kind of skill, character and personality to cope with that.God is here to guide us, give us positive strength which help us maintaining a healthy balance between work and relationship.One major reason of sufferings in life is of being selfish to own need and desire and show the false modesty that you care for others more than your own.It doesn’t matter which religion we follow there are some basic things to be follow up to be happy and satisfied.But everybody sees their own need and desire and judge others based on that.Reason is many relationships end up in divorce,many love ends up in bitterness and friendship in rivalry. See from other points of view and then behave.Every one does this and i guess every body will keep others happy and at the end everybody will be happy.Material sufferings are temporary.We need spiritual connection with our world to get rid of majority of sufferings.

  13. Paula Fether says:

    Science? The Quran is even easier to debunk: see this link.

    I have read the entire Quran, in several translations. I have also read history books from Muslims, ex-Muslims, and academics who never were Muslims, some being atheists. And I conclude that not only is the Quran wrong on basic science, its morality is contradictory at best.

    There are good reasons most atheists don’t focus on any religion but Christianity, and you would do well to ask them why. But regardless of how one compares the Quran to the Bible or anything else, the issues being raised here are unaffected. I’ve debated Muslims as well as atheists, and it seems that both groups are obsessed with Christianity. Why are you asking this question here? Don’t atheists come to Muslim sites to debate these things? Just some questions you might want to ponder, I don’t need you to answer them here.

    • Conway Redding says:

      You ask, “Don’t atheists come to Muslim sites to debate these things?” The answer is, “In the main, no, because some devout adherents of Islam have demonstrated their belief that shootings, beheadings, and bombings are elements of reasoned discourse.” BTW, issue can be taken with your statement that atheists are “obsessed” with Christianity. I think atheists are concerned about any belief system, Christianity, Scientology, Islam,
      that dispenses with logic and rationality in an attempt to assert the real existence of a deity. It just happens that in this country, the U.S. of A., Christianity is the dominant such belief system.

      • Paula Fether says:

        “…some devout adherents of Islam have demonstrated their belief that shootings, beheadings, and bombings are elements of reasoned discourse.”

        Good point. 😉

        I dunno, Conway… it seems to be a mainly Christian obsession worldwide, at least judging from the message boards.

  14. Leo Thoman says:

    Don’t think you think the simple and plain answer to why God allows pain and suffering is that he created it? I mean, really, if God had not wanted us to feel it, there would be no point [from a designer’s standpoint] in going through the effort to wire our nerves up for pain, pleasure, suffering, etc. Similarly, if God had not wanted evil in the world, he would have just made us robots incapable of doing anything “bad”. Admittedly, life would be a lot more boring.

    Wouldn’t it make much more sense to say that God gave us free reign over our body and emotions, and that we are capable of feeling, or inducing feeling, in whatever way is humanly possible, and we shouldn’t blame God for simply designing the capability? Unless, of course, you’re under the opinion that God makes people hurt people, causes natural disasters [instead of say, weather patterns], etc. in which case, I guess you’ve got no common ground with erm, rational thought, anyways.

    Peace out.

    • Conway Redding says:

      Leo, you write, “Unless, of course, you’re under the opinion that God makes people hurt people, causes natural disasters [instead of say, weather patterns], etc. in which case, I guess you’ve got no common ground with erm, rational thought, anyways.”

      I, myself, am not of that opinion (i.e. that God makes people hurt people, causes natural disasters, and so on) since I don’t believe that the entity people call God has a real existence, but those who claim to believe in the real existence of that entity certainly appear to be of that opinion, since they claim that nothing happens in this world without God’s either willing it directly, or, by inaction, permitting it to happen. That would include, of course, natural disasters, referred to by insurance companies and others as “acts of God.” And you’re right, such an opinion has, as you put it, little common ground with rational thought, especially when the claim is also made that God is both all-loving and all-powerful, and that he cares for and watches over humankind as a fond father cares for and watches over his children. Nor, as far as I am concerned, is the opinion rational that this hypothesized entity exists in any other sense than that in which, as I’ve said elsewhere, other creations of the human imagination, such as Daffy Duck, Dick Tracy, Long John Silver, James Bond, Porky Pig, etc., exist.

      • Paula Fether says:

        Not all believe God causes everything directly.

        Suppose I invented a board game (yeah, I’m that old). I decided how the players move, where the boundaries are, how a winner is determined, etc. Now suppose I let two of my friends play the game. One wins, the other loses.

        Did I cause this outcome? Did I decide who must win or lose? No, I only set up the parameters and let people act within them. They had limits, but within those limits they had choices, and the outcome was not predetermined.

        Now add another factor: a cheater, hiding under the game table, using magnets or whatnot to move pieces. The players cannot see or detect the cheater, though I told them there was one, and showed them the effects that indicated when a cheat had happened. They can choose to ignore me and call me a liar, but it doesn’t change the truth.

        God set up the world perfectly, but people decided to thumb their collective noses at Him, and as He told us plainly in scripture, He “gave them over” to their choices. There is also an unseen Adversary who presses people into great evil, though he too is constrained by God-imposed limits, or we’d all be dead. And as those scriptures tell us, this Adversary can cause storms, incite rebellion, inflict disease, and basically wreak havoc on the world. For a time.

        Free will is a principle God will not violate just to save us from ourselves. He made a way for us to live in peace for all eternity, though here we are tested and our characters forged. It is a test of faith, a test of endurance, but painful as it is, the outcome of this “game” will be incredibly good for those who trust God, and who don’t set themselves up as His judges.

        Some Christians do believe in a kind of fatalism, where God must cause every little thing, because they first believe human philosophy before scripture (they also howl when I say that, but it’s true!), because they insist that free will is impossible. But we don’t all believe that. Just sayin’.

        • Conway Redding says:

          Paula, since the coffeehousetheology web-site doesn permit allow me to format my response to your recent posting the way I would like to, with your comments in black and mine in blue, I have simply placed your comments in quotes, and left mine without quotes.

          “Comment:

          Not all believe God causes everything directly.”

          No, but all seem to believe that, the things that God does not cause directly, he permits to happen, a sin of omission rather than of commission.

          “Suppose I invented a board game (yeah, I’m that old). I decided how the players move, where the boundaries are, how a winner is determined, etc. Now suppose I let two of my friends play the game. One wins, the other loses.

          Did I cause this outcome? Did I decide who must win or lose? No, I only set up the parameters and let people act within them. They had limits, but within those limits they had choices, and the outcome was not predetermined.”

          But Paula, to continue the analogy, you, as the creator of the game, are God, and as God you are all-knowing and are aware of how the game is bound to turn out during any round of play, right? Of course, there are major inconsistencies entailed by the divine trait of omniscience, having to do with whether or not events are predetermined. It seems that if God is to be all-knowing, then he must perforce have knowledge of everything, including the way things are going to turn out on this plane of existence; but the only way that could happen is if things are in fact somehow predetermined. So, for example, God, if he is omniscient, knew that John Couey would kidnap, rape, and murder, by burying alive, little Jessica Lunsford. Or would you say that that outcome was a big surprise to God? And if it wasn’t, what is your understanding of why God would allow such a thing to happen? Don’t give me that stuff about free will. Free will may explain what Couey did, but it’s kinda hard to figure out how little Jessica’s free will figures into the unpleasant scenario. One more point about the free-will dodge as an explanation for the many vile things we can observe occurring on this plane of existence: it works fairly well for the evil that we humans do to one another, of which there is no dearth, but not so well for natural disasters (often called “acts of God”), such as the recent earthquake in Haiti.

          “Now add another factor: a cheater, hiding under the game table, using magnets or whatnot to move pieces. The players cannot see or detect the cheater, though I told them there was one, and showed them the effects that indicated when a cheat had happened. They can choose to ignore me and call me a liar, but it doesn’t change the truth.”

          Did you put the cheater under the table, Paula?

          “God set up the world perfectly, but people decided to thumb their collective noses at Him,”

          As he had to know they would, right?

          “and as He told us plainly in scripture, He “gave them over” to their choices. There is also an unseen Adversary who presses people into great evil, though he too is constrained by God-imposed limits, or we’d all be dead. And as those scriptures tell us, this Adversary can cause storms, incite rebellion, inflict disease, and basically wreak havoc on the world.”

          So how come this entity you call God, being all-powerful and all-good, doesn’t, with the merest wave of his pinkie, render this “Adversary” harmless, Paula? Indeed, who made the Adversary part of the game in the first place? As far as I am concerned, by positing this “Adversary” you are attempting to get around the conceptual difficulties entailed by belief in the real existence of one imaginary being, God, by creating a second imaginary being, the Adversary, or Satan, or The Evil One, and nothing is gained except the compounding of irrationality.

          “For a time.”

          Why at all? If you had children that you loved and you knew there was a bad person in the neighborhood trying to see that they came to harm, what would you do, if you had the power to do it? Wouldn’t you arrange for the bad person to be put somewhere where he/she could do no harm?

          “Free will is a principle God will not violate just to save us from ourselves. He made a way for us to live in peace for all eternity, though here we are tested and our characters forged. It is a test of faith, a test of endurance, but painful as it is, the outcome of this ‘game’ will be incredibly good for those who trust God, and who don’t set themselves up as His judges.”

          As evidenced by what, exactly? Surely not because you find passages in the Bible that support this belief, for in order for you to be assured that these passages tell the truth, you must assume that they are in fact the word of a deity that has a real existence. But it is that deity’s existence that is precisely what’s at issue here, and to argue that what’s in scripture is true, and then to say that you know it’s true because the Bible is the word of God, and finally to conclude that it’s the word of God because the Bible itself says so, is circular reasoning that a first-year student of logic would blush to employ.

          “Some Christians do believe in a kind of fatalism, where God must cause every little thing, because they first believe human philosophy before scripture (they also howl when I say that, but it’s true!), because they insist that free will is impossible. But we don’t all believe that. Just sayin’.”

          So, Paula, do you believe that there are some things that happen on earth over which God has absolutely no control? I don’t think I have to spell out for you the implications of a “yes” answer to that question.

          Conway Redding

  15. When I consider what exists from the biggest galaxies to the tiniest subatomic particles, I find it perfectly natural that some of the creatures in there be born with defects. This has nothing to do with lack of love or excess of hatred on the part of the universe.

  16. D.Victor (VyckRo) says:

    “This is the last of the Seven Great Lies of Organized Religion”.

    Nice! Certainly there are religious organizations,that seek only money and power!
    But can we really put the same label to all? To the killer and the victim?
    Disappointment left by religious organizations, who wanted only money and power, and influence led to this idea “Lies of Organized Religion”
    By definition, such a claim cannot be valid for all churches, all priests, all pastors.

    one question: If you think that about all the churches, what is your position in reference to:

    1 Timothy 3:15: But if I tary long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behaue thy selfe in the House of God, which is the Church of the liuing God, the pillar and ground of the trueth.
    and
    Ephesians 3:10: To the intent that now vnto the principalities and powers in heauenly places, might be knowen by the church, the manifold wisedome of God,
    There are people who when they held a position, it is hard to changed it.
    So in this case will say “church” means something spiritual, and for that, they should examine the meaning of the word church, and for that I highly recommend:
    Act 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him vnto Antioch. And it came to passe, that a whole yeere they assembled themselues with the Church, and taught much people, and the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
    Acts 11:27: And in these dayes, came Prophets from Hierusalem vnto Antioch.
    and
    Acts 13:1: Nowe there were in the Church that was at Antioch, certaine Prophets and teachers: as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had bene brought vp with Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul.

  17. Shayan Khan says:

    Well, in this case, you should visit: http://www.answering-christianity.com. The link you have presented is restricted. The website is restricted aswell.
    This debate has no predictable climax point. Further argumentation regarding this matter seems quite pointless, as neither side would be willing to accept the validity of any portion of each holy book.
    I personally do not care about religion. The only thing i believe is in moderate spiritualism and accepting/obeying the commandments of God. Extremism is devised by man himself. It clearly shows lack of profound intellect and conception.

    Conway, ofcourse, man would never be able to conceive God, or know about God, unless some form of information was provided.
    With respect to your perception, i have stated: “What would be the point of providing a second chance when man automatically submits himself to God”, and not just “man automatically submits to God”, which alters the meaning entirely. In short, man would certainly obey the commandments, or he would perish in hell, only if he is stupid enough to still defy God. For less confusion, i would replace the sentence with: “what would be the point of providing a second chance when man would impulsively accept (and perform) Gods commandments”
    Actually, it is the lack of belief and faith which leads a man to a corruptive life, and creates a gap between God and man.
    Quoting may not be a technique of logical presentation, but i believe it certainly is helpful in validating information.

  18. Shayan Khan says:

    Leo, you are absolutely correct.
    If God has created pleasure, he has also created an anti-feeling of pleasure, which is discomfort/pain. If all microbial life wield the possiblitiy of severe disease(s), then God has also provided the more capable members of the society with minerals/materials/objects needed for curing/healing purposes. God has provided us with everything. Everything within our realm of possibility can be achieved.
    We may not “see” or “hear” God, but most of us may experience the involvement of God in certain matters. Such as, if you deeply pray to God for assistance, you may be provided with assistance. Did not God provide us with intellect? Ofcourse, He did. Can’t we use the available intellect to solve puzzling questions and find answers? We can. If we have “all knowledge”, we can surely understand the very fabric of our multiverse system, aswell as every phenomenon in existence. And accept reverence to the creator of everything in existence.
    Lack of knowledge: False conclusions/perceptions.
    Complete knowledge: Undoubtedly correct conclusions.
    God is too intricate to be understood at this current level.

  19. China and Russia put the blame on some screwed up experiments of US for the earthquake that happened in Haiti.
    Chinese and Russian Military scientists, these reports say, are concurring with Canadian researcher, and former Asia-Pacific Bureau Chief of Forbes Magazine, Benjamin Fulford, who in a very disturbing video released from his Japanese offices to the American public, details how the United States attacked China by the firing of a 90 Million Volt Shockwave from the Americans High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facilities in Alaska
    If we can recollect a previous news when US blamed Russia for the earthquake in Georgio. What do you guys think? Is it really possible to create an earthquake by humans?
    I came across this [url=http://universalages.com/hot-news/what-happened-in-haiti-is-it-related-to-haarp/]article about Haiti Earthquake[/url] in some blog it seems very interesting, but conspiracy theories have always been there.

    • Paula Fether says:

      Read up on the life and genius of Nikola Tesla, and you’ll be convinced that this is plausible. People will cry “conspiracy nut” and ask you to show them your tinfoil hat, but Tesla was one heckuva genius.

      To borrow a line from the old movie Ben Hur, “The world is more than we know”.

  20. Either there is a God or there is not, but if there is one, it is everything and there are no commandments. Whatever one can do, it is always within the realm of God since God is everything always. You are not good because of the commandments, you are good because you are good, that’s all. No religion necessary.

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