Thursday, March 22, 2007

Blog visits 7: On The Problem of Evil, over at Barbados Free Press

It is unusual for me to post twice in a day, but this one is important enough to do that.

I often visit over at other blogs, e.g. I am now having a now fairly extensive visit to Uncommon Descent, even though I am quite uncomfortable over some language used by one of hte blog principals just now. (This blog deals withtthe Intelligent Design controversy, and related matters. But that is for another day . . .)

A few days back, I was asked to take a look at a disinformation-laced comment over at BFP, to which I responded. On a follow up visit, I found that someone else had thrown out the following in a string of comments starting here:
Seriously, why do people waste time believing in religion? I can’t bow to any God which allows such suffering to continue . . . . i can blame god and i do blame him for our stupidity. How and why does a supposedly perfect god make such imperfect people??…..then your going to convince yourself a such powerful being didn’t know this was going to happen before he made the first man? . . . . man fears anything he dosent understand…..God is just a figment of something man made up so he can rest what he dosent understand on. [Verbatim excerpt, pardon the uncorrected typos -- I am not the only one who struggles in that dept, even through a spell checker.]
Often, we tend to ignore such challenges to the faith here in our region, or at most to respond at a personal relationship and needs level (as did someone else in the blog thread).

While such responses have their palace and indeed our veridical personal encounters with and experience of God in the face of Jesus under the promises in the Bible are a powerful -- and in fact, properly speaking, unanswerable -- warrant for our faith, such may not carry great force with the sort of skepticism, rage and dismissive contempt we see here.

So, I took up the issue, for the record, as follows:

Hi all:

I see the good old problem of evil came up.

Professor Alvin Plantinga’s remarks on the free-will defense, as summed up in desperate brevity here, ever since the 1970’s, are the context for any serious onward discussion of that issue.

Let’s just sum up a major thought in a tight little ball.

Start with the point that virtue is a moral issue, e.g we cannot love unless we have minds of our own. To have a world in which real virtue is possible, real choice has to exist. So, abuse of choice is automatically also possible. Thus, the existence of evil is a twin to the existence of moral good and nobility and the beauty of the queen of the virtues, love.

Thankfully, in love, God has given us a way of penitence, forgiveness and restoration to the good, and indeed a Saviour. If we choose the way of the right, however much we stumble along the way, he will happily receive us. If we choose instead to selfishly reject the truth we know or should know, and follow evil, then that is obviously our own fault — and it is we who are to blame for the consequences. [Cf Rom 2:5 - 11 for a brief summary.]

Such consequences — as in the case we are discussing — often very predictably fall on innocents like both the children in the bomb-car, and bystanders harmed by the terrorists who were misusing the name of God. Even greater blame attaches to those who brainwashed, trained and equipped the terrorists.

But since, as Solzhenitsyn pointed out, the line between good and evil passes not between nations, classes and religions etc, but through each human heart, let us start with our own penitence and persistence inthe way of good. Then, we will see clearly to help our brothers and sisters across the world with the sawdust in their eyes.

Finally, we can trust that in his own good time God will wrap things up perfectly well enough. Judging by the signs of our times, that could be real soon.


Grace, open our eyes — and soften our hearts


Just thought this might be helpful to others out there, who just might be struggling with this biggie issue.

Drop me a line if you need more on it. (Follow up the link to a lecture on Arguents to and against God first, though . . . it may help you quicker than I could come back to you..)

God Bless. END

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