03.28.14 by brent hand
WHY I BELIEVE IN GOD: PART FIVE
Bad Things Shouldn’t Happen
READ PART ONE RIGHT HERE
So where were we? Oh, yes, the problem of evil. This should be easy. I mean people have struggled with reconciling a good, all-powerful God with a corrupt and evil creation for all of time. I should be able to knock it out in a single blog post.
I’m not going to seriously pretend for a second that I can adequately tackle this subject and put to rest all the debates and doubts that have hounded the religious and the non-religious for centuries. I can’t do it. But I can tell you how I see it; how I have wrestled with these questions. Sometimes I come away feeling satisfied and sometimes… not so satisfied. All I’ve got are my thoughts and that’s all I can share.
When you start thinking about the idea that God is good and he can do anything, and yet we live in a world where hate, war, violence, cruelty, rape, slavery, neglect, abuse, torture, disease, loss, disaster, drought and starvation are all very real, it can seem like something is messed up. And it is. Our world has a lot of messed up stuff in it.
These BAD THINGS can pretty much fall into two categories: things people do to each other (violence, rape, abuse, etc) and things people have little to no control over (disasters, death, drought, etc). Let’s talk about the BAD THINGS people do first and we’ll get to the BAD THINGS we have no control over next week.
Let’s imagine the alternative: a universe where people aren’t able to suffer. Would that work? Couldn’t God just take away all physical pain? Wouldn’t that solve everything? I’m not sure. Is murder wrong even when someone feels nothing? Is there a way to make someone suffer without feeling physical pain? Wouldn’t evil always find a way to cause suffering with or without physical pain?
In that case, couldn’t God AT LEAST not allow us to cause pain to one another? Well, if we don’t have the capability to do bad, that means there’s no free will. In this universe, we have the ability to choose what we do. We have the capability to achieve great things and the ability to cause great pain. I can’t imagine having the power to do one without the other.
This way of thinking is limited mainly because it’s all hypothetical. I’m assuming a lot because we’re talking about ALTERNATE UNIVERSES here. What about an example from the real world?
Think back to one of those times when you heard a story on the news, or read something online, or saw an accident on your way to work and wondered “How could a good God allow something as terrible as that to happen?” And we’ve all had those moments. We just can’t understand how something so horrible could actually take place.
And there it is. In that moment we sense something. That the world is wrong; there is a RIGHT way and WRONG way for things to happen. There is a sense that BAD THINGS SHOULDN’T HAPPEN. Where does that feeling come from? Is there a “True North” we have deviated from?
The very idea that BAD THINGS SHOULDN’T HAPPEN doesn’t prove that God doesn’t exist. To me, it makes his existence even more definite. The answer to the problem of pain isn’t getting mad and pouting that bad things can happen, but using the power God has given us to take a stand and stop as much of it as we can.
So, what about things we can’t control? We’ll talk about that on Monday.