1. Joined
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    21 Dec '06 09:43
    Christians claim that God is an entity that loves humanity, and that all of the suffering in the world is due to people choosing the side of Satan, abandoning God so to speak.

    If God truly does love humanity, then why would God allow evil and suffering to exist?

    If the answer is that God wants humanity to choose because we are capable of choice, then all of humanity is suffering and dying to amuse God in a cosmic game, because that system requires that some choose the shadow.
  2. Standard memberspruce112358
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    21 Dec '06 10:12
    Originally posted by sear november
    Christians claim that God is an entity that loves humanity, and that all of the suffering in the world is due to people choosing the side of Satan, abandoning God so to speak.

    If God truly does love humanity, then why would God allow evil and suffering to exist?

    If the answer is that God wants humanity to choose because we are capable of ...[text shortened]... d dying to amuse God in a cosmic game, because that system requires that some choose the shadow.
    This is an interesting question. I like to look at it from a father's perspective since I have kids of my own. Of course, I am not omnipotent or omniscient. But still an analogy can still be instructive even if it is not perfect.

    If I make (or buy) something for my children, it can one day happen that they break it. Maybe it is the child's fault, maybe not. Sometimes even those things I CAN fix I don't take the time to do so, for a variety of reasons.

    Do I not love my children because I don't always immediately fix all their broken things? Not at all. Giving them the thing in the first place shows that I care about them and think about them.

    Am I creating evil because I allow my children to break things, or because things get broken by accident? No, I gave them the item to use. They are free to use it as they see fit. I hope they don't break it, but if they do, well, that's that. I didn't break the thing. If it breaks out of bad luck -- well, that's not my fault either. I don't control luck.

    I certainly hope that one day my kids will learn to look after or fix their own stuff. I also hope they don't run into a lot of bad luck.

    Extrapolating this to God, one has to decide what "God" is and what he can control. If you think he controls everything except you -- then I can see certain bad luck situations where you might have a reason to bring a complaint. Birth defects, for example. Or dying from a "mistaken" bomb attack.

    Personally, I don't believe God controls luck. I also think he expects us to do for ourselves. It is our world now. If you like, He "gave" it to us. We can make it a Paradise if we so choose. Or we can fight each other, blow it up, destroy ourselves -- whatever.

    It's all up to us.
  3. Joined
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    21 Dec '06 11:27
    That was a very lucid and intelligent answer, thank you. The analogy of the father and his children was enlightening.

    One thing that I have found is that when two people begin to talk about God, they fail to clarify what they think God is first, and this leads to confusion. I was presenting the question from the standpoint of the way that I think Christians view God, although for the record I don't think that God is a concious entity that is separate from the self.

    In your point, you said that you don't always fix everything or make everything right for your children, and that doesn't mean that you don't love them. Maybe God has the same sentiment as you, but in saying that you are admiting that God had strikingly human characteristics. Perhaps too human to truly represent a power that created all that we know.
  4. Joined
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    21 Dec '06 15:12
    How can one know joy without a counterpoint to compare it to? Yes, God could stop suffering. And who knows, in certain situations God may do just that (though which cases he intervenes and which he doesn't is possibly the topic of a different thread discussion, I think).

    Suffering is a learning tool as much as it is a painful thing. If I put my hand on the stove hotplate, I get burnt and my reaction is to feel pain. Without that pain reaction, I can hum merrily as my flesh goes crispy. Whatever doesn't kill ya, only makes ya stronger, isn't that how the phrase goes?

    To suggest that God would prevent us from experiencing certain forms of suffering is to suggest that our purpose in this life is to be happy. Not that being happy isn't the desired outcome for most people, but if being happy isn't the ultimate goal of life, then there's something else more important than that.

    A Christian believes in the importance of eternity, and that the finite lives we live now are negligible compared to that. So what's a little suffering in the face of an eternal joy with God? The non-Christian, on the other hand (assuming they have no belief in an after-life - there are of course those who believe in reincarnation or Paradise or Neshmah, or Valhalla or any other form of after-life) has a much narrower focus. Without an eternity to consider, this finite life suddenly becomes a damn sight more important, and to think that if a God exists but doesn't intervene to stop suffering then he/she/it is just plain mean.

    I hope I'm making sense.

    ~ All the best,
  5. Joined
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    21 Dec '06 17:49
    The concepts of evil & suffering are a real headache for Christians.

    1. A good God would destroy evil.
    2. An all powerful God could destroy evil.
    3. Evil is not destroyed.
    4. Therefore, there cannot possibly be such a good and powerful God.
  6. Donationkirksey957
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    21 Dec '06 17:56
    Originally posted by sear november
    Christians claim that God is an entity that loves humanity, and that all of the suffering in the world is due to people choosing the side of Satan, abandoning God so to speak.

    If God truly does love humanity, then why would God allow evil and suffering to exist?

    If the answer is that God wants humanity to choose because we are capable of ...[text shortened]... d dying to amuse God in a cosmic game, because that system requires that some choose the shadow.
    I don't think it is a correct Christian concept that all suffering is because people choose the side of Satan. I don't disput that some Christians may voice or believe that, but that is not a Christian concept.
  7. Joined
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    21 Dec '06 18:021 edit
    Originally posted by Squelchbelch
    The concepts of evil & suffering are a real headache for Christians.

    1. A good God would destroy evil.
    2. An all powerful God could destroy evil.
    3. Evil is not destroyed.
    4. Therefore, there cannot possibly be such a good and powerful God.
    This is of course assuming that evil is not also a part of God's plan. God created everything, including evil, remember that. Oh yes, I know there are some Christians that will tell you that God didn't create evil, but the Bible will tell you different. Everything is under the control of God, including evil.

    Does this make God evil? No. Does this make God the big cuddly teddy bear that many new-age Christians make him out? No.
  8. Joined
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    21 Dec '06 18:13
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    This is an interesting question. I like to look at it from a father's perspective since I have kids of my own. Of course, I am not omnipotent or omniscient. But still an analogy can still be instructive even if it is not perfect.

    If I make (or buy) something for my children, it can one day happen that they break it. Maybe it is the child's fault, may ...[text shortened]... t each other, blow it up, destroy ourselves -- whatever.

    It's all up to us.
    I disagree with the analogy. You said it yourself, you are not omnipotent or omniscient.

    Tell me then, if you could fix your childs toys with a snap of your thumb, would you still not do it right away? If with a mere thought you could prevent child abuse and rape, would you still not do it?


    When a child and his mother are being beaten by a drunken step-father/husband, where is your god then?
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    21 Dec '06 18:31
    Originally posted by Wayne1324
    I disagree with the analogy. You said it yourself, you are not omnipotent or omniscient.

    Tell me then, if you could fix your childs toys with a snap of your thumb, would you still not do it right away? If with a mere thought you could prevent child abuse and rape, would you still not do it?


    When a child and his mother are being beaten by a drunken step-father/husband, where is your god then?
    Yes, but that little kid learns so much from being ritualistically beaten & raped you see?
  10. Joined
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    21 Dec '06 18:32
    Originally posted by Squelchbelch
    Yes, but that little kid learns so much from being ritualistically beaten & raped you see?
    You think so? Have you been in that position?
  11. Joined
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    21 Dec '06 18:37
    Originally posted by Wayne1324
    You think so? Have you been in that position?
    God moves in mysterious ways...

    Oh no, wait a minute - we have free will. Even though God already knew every possible outcome of every event from the moment of Creation.

    Wait a minute again.
    We think we have free will, though of course we don't.

    Bear with me a sec...
    God gives us free will even though He already knows the result of His experiment of Creation.

    He enjoys watching us stumble along abusing each other etc.
    It's all part of the plan.

    I think
  12. Joined
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    21 Dec '06 18:39
    Originally posted by Squelchbelch
    God moves in mysterious ways...

    Oh no, wait a minute - we have free will. Even though God already knew every possible outcome of every event from the moment of Creation.

    Wait a minute again.
    We think we have free will, though of course we don't.

    Bear with me a sec...
    God gives us free will even though He already knows the result of ...[text shortened]... njoys watching us stumble along abusing each other etc.
    It's all part of the plan.

    I think
    Ummm....
  13. Standard memberknightmeister
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    21 Dec '06 19:43
    Originally posted by Squelchbelch
    The concepts of evil & suffering are a real headache for Christians.

    1. A good God would destroy evil.
    2. An all powerful God could destroy evil.
    3. Evil is not destroyed.
    4. Therefore, there cannot possibly be such a good and powerful God.
    3. Evil is not destroyed........YET!
  14. Standard memberknightmeister
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    21 Dec '06 20:05
    Originally posted by sear november
    Christians claim that God is an entity that loves humanity, and that all of the suffering in the world is due to people choosing the side of Satan, abandoning God so to speak.

    If God truly does love humanity, then why would God allow evil and suffering to exist?

    If the answer is that God wants humanity to choose because we are capable of ...[text shortened]... d dying to amuse God in a cosmic game, because that system requires that some choose the shadow.
    If God truly does love humanity, then why would God allow evil and suffering to exist?


    The simple answer to your question (although there is no complete answer) is that God wants to allow or create free will and creatures that are truely alive. This means that they need to be able to love and appreciate the difference between good and bad. God is love and creating creatures who are able to love is the reason for evil and suffering.

    Now ,the ablility to love requires freedom because love cannot be forced. If God forced you to love it would not be love because you would either be a mindless robot or under coercion. Anyone who has had a meaningful relationship will know the importance of love freely given. So if God allows this freedom and this freedom is to be true and real (and not some dress rehearsal) then the possibility of us choosing to not love has to exist logically otherwise we are still robots.

    The next part of this means that logically God cannot guarantee that we will do something that is contrary to his law of love (ie evil). Now this does not explain everything by any means but it is a starting point to understanding. God is in a kind of dilemma if you like. The more freedom he gives the more chance of evil , the less freedom the less chance of love.

    Personally , I think it's logically impossible for God to create the freedom for love to exist without there being the posiibility of at least some evil. Others may disagree , but I think their definition of the kind of love God intends for us to share in would be different.

    Bear in mind that this doesn't explain evil completely or explain earthquakes etc but I think it hopefully gives an insight as to why these things may be the way we are. It's just a way of thinking about it. What we do know is that if God exists he must have a very good reason for allowing things to be the way they are. Some may say allowing for love is not worth the price , God must have disagreed.
  15. Territories Unknown
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    22 Dec '06 00:15
    Originally posted by Squelchbelch
    The concepts of evil & suffering are a real headache for Christians.

    1. A good God would destroy evil.
    2. An all powerful God could destroy evil.
    3. Evil is not destroyed.
    4. Therefore, there cannot possibly be such a good and powerful God.
    Quite the contrary, mon signor. In the absence of God's direct voice, evil, pain and suffering are all PROOF of God's existence... causing quite the headache for the hardcore agnostics and so-called atheists.

    Think about it, will you please?
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