Why can't an omni(potent/ scient/ benevolent/ present/ ...) god do away with really nasty stuff that happens to humans like genocide, gruesome murders, painful and terminal illnesses and so on...
Some of the usual theist responses:
- God wants us to have free will (and so he couldn't give people like Hitler and his minions a stroke or some well placed bolts of lightning when they decided to act on their free will to destroy the lives of millions)
- You want God to be a babysitter? (I'm sure those who are about to have their lives, lands and daughters pillaged would!)
- Without evil, one cannot appreciate goodness (that doesn't do those on the receiving end of said evil any good!)
- It will all be ok when you're enjoying eternal life next to God (unless you're a false god worshipper, atheist, agnostic, or anyone else who hasn't ben saved - at best you suffer then cease to exist, at worst you suffer on earth, die, then suffer for all eternity in the fires of hell. A losing proposition for pretty much everyone but the lucky few who "know" that their particular variant of god is the only god that exists)
People don't pray hard enough Where's the precise specification on the amount of and strength of one's prayers required to get some help from God?
- The lord works in mysterious ways (yeah it's a tricky one isn't it...best fall back on the standard defence ;])
Here's an analogy for you...suppose you and almost everyone else who's running windows and using the internet has fallen foul of some clever and destructive virus that has damaged the hardware on their computer.
(they can do this, see for example: http://www.hardwareinsight.com/how-can-a-virus-damage-the-hardware/)
Now some of these aren't in any desperate need of getting them fixed but lets suppose Jimmy the computer whizz and engineer and his large entourage of equally talented friends have the expertise to mend any software and mechanical faults with computers and they have plenty of resources/spare time to do it - also it's said he's a genuine geezer and would like everyone to have their computers in ship shape and hates people who write viruses or any other computer menaces. Now suppose your computer has been wrecked and some important data desperately needs to be recovered; and suppose further:
Jimmy could have pre-empted the virus before it was released; and moreover, he won't fix your computer (or anyone elses for that matter!)!
Can one of his friends fix it
No...they're too busy!
But he has lots of friends!
Ah yes...good point, but then do you really need him to be sitting over your shoulder stopping you from making typos and forgetting to save your drawings in MS Paint!?
No - just fixing my computer that's absolutely bolloxed will do, petty problems I can deal with on my own thanks
Well you see - we need a few screwed up computers so that people can appreciate what it's like to have working computers
The lesson is less important than my current need to recover my data; and anyway, it's hardly a few, pretty much everyone running windows has it!
Don't worry, Mac OS is releasing a patch for its current operating system at some undisclosed point in the future, and you won't get these pesky viruses - they've also done a deal with the software giants and you all their good stuff for free!
Yeah but I'm not on Mac OS, I'm on windows...and either way, that doesn't help my current predicament, I really need it fixed
Have you asked Jimmy for help with all the humility, sincerity, and obsequiousness that befits a person of his caliber?
I neither know how much I need to be obsequious, or where I can even find him...Indeed why is he so elusive, and why is it that no one has had their computer fixed yet?
Jimmy is very clever, I'm sure what he's doing is all for the best
I'm starting to think this Jimmy dude doesn't even exist - indeed it is said he could have stopped the virus from causing any mischief by warning us all about it, and making available some software that detects the virus the minute you're infected (or something else)
Yeah but Jimmy has to let these virus roam free because otherwise people who write them and everyone else will become mindless slaves to their computers