I hardly ever link to Triablogue, because they are usually so obnoxious, but an interesting discussion is taking place on the problem of evil, and David Wood has shown up there. Here's what I just wrote (revised slightly):
David Wood said: I constantly hear atheists say, "But why didn't God give Hitler a heart attack before he started the Holocaust?" What does this claim presuppose? It presupposes that it would be morally permissible for God to kill someone for things he hadn't yet done. Now why would it not be morally permissible for God to allow babies to suffer for sins they hadn't yet committed?
In the first place, David continually seems to be responding to what "atheists say," as if they are the only ones asking these questions. That is NOT true. Christians ask the same type of questions, and he knows it. The difference is that when atheists ask these questions we don't think Christians can answer them satisfactorily, whereas when Christians ask these questions they are seeking to learn the answers. That's the only difference. So please, don't continue with this fortress mentality as if atheists are trying to breach the walls while Christians are all safely tucked inside.
But the bottom line is that these cases are non-analogous. The reason why God should've killed Hitler as a youth is because of the numbers of people he killed. The result of his death would have been good for millions of people. Most people do not cause such intense harms to humanity.
Besides, if God is all-powerful and omniscient, why did he let Hitler slip through his fingers when 40,000 people, mostly children, die every day of hunger? Does anyone really think that the millions of children who die from hunger deserve to die, but that Hitler didn't deserve to die in his youth? If God spared Hitler as a child but instead allows millions of children to die, then maybe these children were going to grow up to be more hideous monsters than Hitler! Such a supposition would be obviously false!
By the way, this, once again, is stating the obvious. How you repeatedly dispute the obvious is indeed bizarre to me. Bizarre. That's what you defend here. Bizarre beliefs. Why can't you admit it? Why are you so sure of your beliefs when they repeatedly dispute what is so obvious?
Maybe God exists, and maybe he doesn't. But where does your sense of certainty come from? That too is bizarre to me. Why not just say, “I think God exists.” Why not admit he might not? Why is there this overwhelming attempt to show that Christianity is the only rational position to take? Do you do that with anything else, in any other area, when there are cases to be made for both sides?
What is so obvious to you that you must deny what is truly obvious, when it comes to the problem of suffering in this world?
Do you really believe that the nebulous arguments for the existence of a creator God, and that your particular historically conditioned interpretation of some ancient documents (which were continually edited until canonized) are so obvious to you, that you must deny what we would all expect if an Omni-God created this world? Sure, you are trying to come to grips with your God in light of the presence of evil, and so you struggle with additional premises and implausible theories. But you simply cannot deny that this is not the kind of world we would expect to find if such an omni-God exists.
Bizarre. If you don't want to deny the existence of God, surely you can accept a deistic kind of God or a process theology kind of God. What's the harm here? Isn't that what we do when investigating something? We revise our notions in light of some intractable problems! Is it because of fear that you don't? The fear of hell? Is that what you fear? It must be. That's all I can figure. For you are repeatedly denying the obvious.