The problem of Evil: Why doesn’t god do something


Caroline’s take.

We have missed Caroline, I know I have and it is with great pleasure that today while I was strolling on the internet, don’t ask me how, I found this very interesting post in which she weighs in on the problem of evil and attempts to offer a solution to this thorn in the flesh, forgive my use of cliché, of religion.

She starts very emotionally, in a way that all of us would easily get roped into the story and want to read more. Her opening paragraph starts thus

“I prayed every night to God, asking him to rescue me from my father’s abuse. Why didn’t he?

Here she has Identified a case of what the philosophers, well I mean the real ones, not armchair philosophers like yours truly, have called moral evil. We are in agreement with her, at this point, that is a logical point to start from. After that grand opening, she posits the real question

Can such suffering by innocent children be reconciled with a reality of a good, loving, and all-powerful God? Do we have an answer for her question?

Before we look at her solution, yours truly says the answer to her first question is a resounding no. The second question then can only be answered in the negative unless we posit a godless world, which yours truly believes is the case, then shit happens and some people are born such that they do lack the ability to see other people as manifestations of the same will as they are and as such trample on their wills so to speak. Back to this later.

Caroline, lists five truths as possible responses to the problem. Allow me to list them here

  1. suffering deserved and undeserved can result in some good
  2. god has a purpose for our lives far deeper and more meaningful than just to enjoy them
  3. we are not the centre of the universe. He is
  4. he has chosen to give humanity free will
  5. there is life after our bodies die, when all injustices will be made right

Reread those five points then take a break. We will shortly demonstrate why Caroline’s theodicy fails to take off.

She presented us with a problem, the question we will ask her is how or in what way does being abused result in some good. How does living with the knowledge that the person who should protect you is the one abusing you lead to some good? I need your help here ladies? Can you conceive of a world where such a thing results in some good? I can’t!

If I understood her question, she is attempting to reconcile if such a problem with the reality of an all loving god. To then say god has a purpose is to sidestep the question she started with, that is, in my view, if such a being is real. The question of whether there are plans then doesn’t even arise. We have not proved the reality of this being how do we claim it has plans for us or rather for this abused child? Ignoring what have said for a moment, what good is it for any of us, if the reasons we suffer are not known to us but are the private knowledge of this god? What sort of god would want that for creatures he created out of love? I don’t know about you, but for me, it would make the suffering worthwhile if I knew what is at the end of the rope.

In point 3, Caroline paints the picture of a dictator. No questions are  asked. He decides and we are supposed to suffer quietly or he will kill you! How lovely? Show me some love!

Oh, free will again. Please Caroline, I would want you to tell the little girl in her face that god has given her free will so she can be abused! I don’t want to make this post about free will as you already well know where yours truly stands on that debate. Indulge me for just a moment, how is having free will beneficial to this little girl? In the movie God on Trial, those who have put s/h/it on trial ask what free will did they have when they were being put in the gas chambers? Did god give others more free will to be able to abuse others? A lot has been written on the FWD and it is wanting and I advice Caroline to acquaint herself with the relevant literature on the topic.

What hogwash! How does telling a girl who has been violated that this punishment will be paid for in a future life? What does such a promise do to the current life? While at it, what really does Caroline understand by to die? Where I come from, it means cessation of life, finito, end! To talk about life after dying I think is itself a contradiction unless I miss something. Related to this question then would be, if the next life is so glorious, what stopped god from killing the little girl before she is abused so no one has to be punished later or is that too hard for god to accomplish or is s/h/it a sadist? In Brothers Karamazov, the chapter on the Grand Inquisitor, Ivan asks Aloysha what good does knowing her child will go to heaven does to the mother who sees her baby cut into pieces by the soldiers? And how does knowing that this person will be punished in future do to the wife whose husband has just been killed? I don’t think there is any and I can’t believe anyone would spread such stories.

Having said that, let us hear what she tells us and I will endeavour to point out what I think is wrong with her assessment. She tells us

if we have an inaccurate understanding of why we are here, our evaluation of how well things are going will also be inaccurate. Couple that error with a view that sees God as existing for our sake instead of the other way around, and you have the makings of a life marked by huge disappointment, discouragement, and even disbelief.

If we take god to be a slave driver, then, by all means, this makes sense. I am your lord and you live as I want you to. Tell me how lovely that is! Please someone tell me am missing something. If as she had said earlier on, that god has a plan, then please tell me, how if he doesn’t share this [un]holy plan with us how we are to insure ourselves from disappointment, discouragement and disbelief? Am patient!

She the continues to advice us to see life as

life as a gift, a proving ground, a rehabilitation center, a temporary home, and/or a journey to our true and eternal dwelling place, we will view our circumstances in an entirely different light

and I feel my whole system revolted by such myopic thinking! Why for the life of me, shouldn’t this god have transported everyone to this land of bliss? Is it in his plans to first have countless number of people suffer to assuage his ego before he can finally say welcome home my children, here is where I wanted you but I needed you to take the torturous route to here so you can know am a loving father! What the fuck! Who reasons in this manner? For all I know, before I was born I wasn’t given life lessons, we learn as we go along and if this other life exists for Caroline, am sure she doesn’t need to train for it. This can’t be a response to one who is suffering. It is revolting. It is appalling! It is stupid to say the least!

In declaring

Pain and hardship are what bring many to seek God. If our lives were trouble-free, would any of us recognize our need for him?

She portrays her god as a slave master, as a being that believes in the adage, no pain no gain! It is like the employer who makes his employees work like beasts of burden just so that they can know he is boss! Please count me out. I don’t want any relationship with such a being at all. And seriously, was this god touted as all-powerful? There must be other ways, ways that do not involve abuse that he could employ. I don’t use that with my friends and they haven’t claimed ever that am all-powerful!

And she does not tell the whole story when she writes

You always hurt the one you love

since for most of us this is far from intentional. You would not let the people you love suffer if there was a way to prevent it especially you would not let your daughter or any child for that matter be abused because some good may come of it if you could prevent it. I don’t know if there is anyone who could allow such a thing to happen and still have a sound conscience. Well maybe lets forget Mohammed, he liked them young!

It is not as she says

Our refusal to allow suffering to sanctify or save us will likely result in loss and more suffering, both in our lives and in the lives of those close to us

but that sometimes the suffering we go through, to the best of our knowledge, is meaningless. There is no good we get from having a toothache. It is pointless suffering and can’t be called sanctifying.

In conclusion, I contend that Caroline has offered no solution to the child to her question. She has behaved like god does when Job inquires as to why he is suffering and he comes out asking job irrelevant questions. We need answers that would make suffering here bearable for the short duration that we are here and it is better to say we don’t know why we suffer than to give any of the above responses.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

21 thoughts on “The problem of Evil: Why doesn’t god do something

  1. what a sad person Caroline is. We do not always hurt the ones we love. It’s a shame if she does, she thinks her god does and that she has been hurt, but to claim that this “always” happens only shows that she does not know much at all.

    It is a disgusting thought that suffering is necessary to sanctify (to make holy, to purify) something. That is the claim of a sycophant desperately scared of a being that is demonstrably sadistic, if the stories are true. All of her excuses are those of an abused person. She must insist that she deserves the harm done to her, that it is for her own good, that her abuser is much more important than she is and that it is his right to abuse her. She insists that it’ll get better, honest. Of course that’s after she’s dead.

    Believing in an imaginary being is delusional. Believing that this entity deserves to hurt people is even more so.

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  2. john zande says:

    # 5 (there is life after our bodies die, when all injustices will be made right) is the saddest part of religious delusion. It’s here where i truly do feel for the theist for they reveal themselves as simple children desperate to believe in Santa Claus.

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    • makagutu says:

      How do we help them out of this desperation?

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      • john zande says:

        Seriously, i don’t know. I wish i did because ultimately we are here to help our brothers and sisters. This particular delusion though is deep. it pervades the persons identity, and that is a desperately hard thing to shake. She wants “justice.” We all do.

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        • makagutu says:

          You know when I read her post I thought for a moment I was going to be blown over especially since she said she has been reading and meditating about the issue. I was sadly disappointed when I got to her answers. I hope one day she does read my observations

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  3. mixedupmeme says:

    Most people do not look past the 5 points. Don’t blame them. Takes too much thinkin’. Certainly don’t want people thinkin’.

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  4. aguywithoutboxers says:

    I agree with mixedupmeme above. Thinking requires effort and thought. Much easier to swallow the pill of belief systems than to actually engage one’s mind!

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  5. stitches says:

    She makes sense if you understand what free will means. Not that the child has free will over what hapens but that the abuser is going to do what he chooses to do and for “God” to interviene would mean that there is no free will of the abuser. I am not a christian nor do I believe in the christian god I have read and done research with all major religions to see things from their points of view. As a woman who was abused as a child I do feel I was made stronger by what happened to me. I don’t feel in any way that any kind of abuse is ok or right or justified, but in my case I feel it shaped me in to the individual I have become. I do believe that we are all just energy and this whole realm is an illusion, i.e birth, death, pain, right, wrong, etc its all based on the perception of our senses. To write something off because you’re not able to process with the limited knowledge or understanding based on that perception is I feel is closed minded or willful ignorance. JMHO

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    • makagutu says:

      She makes sense if you understand what free will means.

      Would you be kind to educate me on what free will means?
      You make me wonder whether you really believe what you have written. That a god allows a little girl to be abused so that a man can exercise his free will! How strange your god must be? How strange, however, is you to hold such a notion of a god.
      Things that happen to us shape us in one way or another. There is nothing strange with yours.
      Well you can believe what you will, but do me this favour, as the person sitting close to you to punch you in the face if whatever you will feel is not pain but an illusion of pain and get back to me.
      To call me close minded or willfully ignorant because I have dismissed the free will defense is to make a judgement based on ignorance and to assume you know something about me that you don’t. I dismiss the free will defense because it is inadequate and makes no sense to any rational person.
      Thanks for your comment.

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  6. stitches says:

    What do you think free will means? The ability to make choices that are not controlled by fate or God is what it means to me. If god is choosing to allow someone to do something then how is that free will? Do you understand what close minded means? Intolerant of the beliefs and opinions of others; stubbornly unreceptive to new ideas. Correct me if I’m wrong isn’t that what you are doing? I never claimed to know anything about you I just stated my belief which can not be proven false or true. You are entitled to believe what you choose to just as everyone is. What is considered rational? What the majority believes? I believe dismissing others beliefs based on personal feelings or choosing to believe what other people tell you to can be considered irrational but that is just what I believe. To clarify I never called you ignorant or closed minded I put “To write something off because you’re not able to process with the limited knowledge or understanding based on that perception is I feel is closed minded or willful ignorance.” Maybe I should have put I feel first so that it wouldn’at have been misunderstood. I will say once more these are just my beliefs. Thank you for responding.

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    • makagutu says:

      Thanks again for your response.
      You have defined free will to mean

      ability to make choices that are not controlled by fate or God

      in this case you imply they are random and as such are still out of a person’s control, that is, if I get you correctly. My problem with the FWD is because in the bible, where for me, I first learned of a god, there are several instances where he intervenes in human affairs. Would it be too much to ask that in a situation like this, if he existed and he was all loving, that he does something to prevent the commission of search a crime?
      In case you want me to be receptive to the idea that FWD makes sense, then by all means am close minded! I have read on the problem of evil and looked at this particular defense and I don’t buy it. If you think being open minded is accepting anything, even those that are not plausible, so be it, we are not together on that one. How I may intolerant? If you consider rebuttal of an argument intolerant then it appears me and you use different dictionaries.

      I believe dismissing others beliefs based on personal feelings or choosing to believe what other people tell you to can be considered irrational but that is just what I believe.

      I agree with you slightly, but in this case, I dismiss the defense not because of personal feeling, but because I have spend some time reading about it and I don’t think the FWD makes sense.

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  7. stitches says:

    As far a my view on pain have you ever heard of the placebo effect or mind over matter? I would love to see your beliefs on that.

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    • makagutu says:

      Interesting question.
      I have heard of the placebo effect. What am going to try and do is to punch one of my friends in the face, a bit hard to see if they will not feel pain and report back to you, that is if I don’t land in jail.

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  8. Neal says:

    God works in mysterious ways? Not. It’s very easy to understand. If it has something to do with pain, suffering or misery, the big guy is responsible. Not mysterious, only psychotic at best.

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  9. Chris G says:

    The Epicurean paradox answers this question, does it not?

    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

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    • makagutu says:

      I think Alvin Platinga in his Free Will Defense argues that one there is no paradox, that the existence of god can be consistent with the existence of evil in the world.

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  10. […] asked if the morality of Jesus was sound, made forays into the question of suffering, wrote a response to a debate on the existence of god, and about the Garden of Eden among many […]

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