Sunday, May 18, 2008

Evaluating God

At a time when hundreds of thousands of people have died in the Burmese cyclone and the Chinese earthquake, Peter Singer questions the (supposed) goodness of God.
Do we live in a world that was created by a god who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all good? Christians think we do. Yet a powerful reason for doubting this confronts us every day: the world contains a vast amount of pain and suffering. If God is all-knowing, he knows how much suffering there is. If he is all-powerful, he could have created a world without so much of it - and he would have done so if he were all good.
He goes through and briefly analyzes the standard list of reasons cited to rescue God in this context. Singer also recently debated conservative commentator, Danish D'Souza, and cites D'Souza's last excuse on behalf of God, and then responds to it:
Finally, D'Souza fell back, as many Christians do when pressed, on the claim that we should not expect to understand God's reasons for creating the world as it is. It is as if an ant should try to understand our decisions, so puny is our intelligence in comparison with the infinite wisdom of God. (This is the answer given, in more poetic form, in The Book of Job.) But once we abdicate our powers of reason in this way, we may as well believe anything at all.

Moreover, the assertion that our intelligence is puny in comparison with God's presupposes just the point that is under debate - that there is a god who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all good. The evidence of our own eyes makes it more plausible to believe that the world was not created by any god at all. If, however, we insist on believing in divine creation, we are forced to admit that the God who made the world cannot be all-powerful and all good. He must be either evil or a bungler.
Read the full article here. (tip from 3quarksdaily)
Here is a (slightly) lighter look at the problem of evil.


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