Here is just one simple example of the problem of evil:
On Sunday, parents and kids from my son’s Cub Scout den packed food at a place called Kids Against Hunger. Before we started work, the staff showed us a video about the cause. One statistic cited in the video was that more than half of children in Haiti die of malnutrition before the age of 15. Whether that statistic is completely accurate or not, it’s safe to say that many children die of malnutrition in Haiti through no fault of their own.
Are we supposed to believe (and tell our children!) that there is a god who cares about children in Haiti and could prevent their suffering but (for good but mysterious reasons) allows many of them to starve to death?
Clearly there is no god who cares about children in Haiti and could prevent their suffering. So here’s the quadrilemma: Is there a powerless god, an apathetic god, a powerless and apathetic god, or no god? (Answer: It doesn’t matter which. As the A-Unicornist writes, “the only thing worse than a God who does not exist is a God who might as well not exist.”)
This isn’t a recreational mental exercise. How we think about this stuff has very real consequences. For example, if we believe in a God who *could* alleviate suffering anywhere and everywhere if he really wanted to, then we must conclude that he doesn’t really want to, because the suffering is there (and always has been, in abundance). And if God himself thinks there is a good reason for people to suffer, why should we bother to help them?
Now I know what you, my dear apologist, are thinking: “People suffer *so* we can help them.” Well, that’s a shitty reason. Do you really think a benevolent god operates that way, that it’s ‘all-loving’ to allow (or cause) many people to suffer and die because *some* good will come from *some* people helping *some* of them?
“Life isn’t fair, but God is good” — this is true only if “good” means “less cruel than he could have been.”