This is the last in a series of posts dealing with an article concerning why an atheist thinks that Christianity makes no sense. I hope it’s been interesting!
9. Terrible things happen to good people.
People are killed by war, disease, natural disasters, and many other horrible things. God is omnipotent and intervenes or he is not and he doesn’t. If he does and he is, then suffering exists because God intends for it to be that way. If he doesn’t and isn’t, then he’s not worth worshipping.
This is just your standard old problem of evil, and really no one should be very convinced by it. This is because, very much like the other points on this article’s list, a whole host of assumptions take place that go unargued for. First, this article assumes that omnipotence means something like “controlling the minutiae” of our lives, where “control” is undefined. That seems obviously false. If God creates creatures that he endows with free will, it’s just a matter of logic that you cannot force someone to freely do something. You can force them, or they can do it freely, but not both. Humans have used that will to choose very poorly.
It also assumes that this physical life is either all there is, or is most important, or else there’s no good reason for allowing the things that God allows. As to the first and second, Christianity stipulates otherwise—and if this is supposed to be a critique of Christianity’s coherence, this objection is just irrelevant. As to the third, there’s just no way for the objector to know that God has no such good reason, and indeed we can plausibly think he does have such a good reason. After all, on Christian theology, the ultimate goal is for us to become Christ-like and for humans to live with God eternally. Given free will and how free creatures would respond, there’s no reason to think that an appreciably better world would yield the ultimate results it does—in other words, there’s no reason to think there’s no reason God could have for allowing what he does, and it’s on the objector to argue otherwise.
10. It’s all just way too convenient.
No matter what happens in life, Christians claim God has a plan, or answered prayer, or provided something or is working something out. If the answer to every question is exactly what you want to hear, then it’s probably not right.
It’s difficult to know precisely what the objection is. At first blush, it looks like they’re saying Christianity is unfalsifiable. But that’s not quite correct: if God does not exist, or the Resurrection did not happen, for example, Christianity is falsified. So maybe the objection is that Christianity seems to have an answer for everything, and maybe that means the Christian is not being objective. It’s true that it could mean that; it’s also empirically equivalent with Christianity, you know, actually having the answers!
Well that’s it: every once in a while I like to tackle the popular-level objections, to see what kind of poor thinking substitutes for intellectual discourse. Hopefully, none of my Christian brothers or sisters were swayed by that article!