J. L. Watts is Engaging Me on the Problem of Suffering

Check it out here where you'll also see my initial response.


James Pate said...

Joel is a brave man.

Steven Carr said...

We can turn to the bible, although I doubt that atheists put any stock into it, to find that God did tell us the human race what would kill it, and we didn’t listen.

Yes, according to the Bible, what would kill the human race was this alleged god.

And he allegedly drowned almost everybody in the world.

But did humanity listen when this alleged god said he would start with the killings?

God loved to praise killers.

Here is a typical Bible scene, where the being Watts worships blesses killers.

Exodus 32
This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.' "
The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.

Then Moses said, "You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day."

And here is God killing children.

2 Samuel 12
Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die."

After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill. .... On the seventh day the child died.

No wonder Watts blames humanity for not heeding these warnings.

God said he would kill people, but did people listen to Watts when he warned us to read the Bible to see stories of his God killing people?

Humanity has no excuse.

This god has warned us time and time again that he kills people.

Steven Carr said...

James is correct that Joel is a brave man.

After all, he is doing this alone. No god is going to help him.

steph said...

John, can you explain regarding your 'challenge to all Christians' post, why you think any Christian with sense, ie not an apologist, would read an apologist and be expected to reject their faith? Of course they reject the apologist, most decent critical independent minded Christians do. And they may also think some skeptics have better arguments than those apologists. But I think the only people possibly likely to 'reject' their faith purely on the basis of comparing the two, would be fundamentalists anyway.

crocoduckhunter said...

Excellent response to such a frustrating non-answer, John. I look forward to following the rest of this "debate," that is, if Watts can recover from that knockout punch you dealt him.

wv: shnos

Raul said...

"I am merely talking about needless, horrific suffering that could easily be resolved if such a God cared. "
Ehm,John,are you saying,that if there was a benevolent omnipotent deity there still would be some "not-needless" suffering?

J. L. Watts said...

Steve, why would I expect God to help me in this?

Silly, really.

DevinWL said...


What John is saying is (I think what hes saying anyway) that no matter what there will always be suffering because we are human. Whether there is a god or not we still are human none the less and humans kill. Humans also abuse power. So in reality there will always be suffering.

What I think John is sorta, somewhat trying to convey is that if there was a God who cared he would help those who can't help themselves. But thousands die each day because they are helpless. But people like Watts will attribute all their success and their wonderful life to God.

John W. Loftus said...

steph, whether you know this or not conservative Christianity is my target. My goal is to knock them off dead center so they must think for themselves. Where they end up is not up to me. But there are other books that might push them in my direction. After all, if I say the same things that liberals say then it makes a big difference since as an atheist I am the one saying them.

I expect liberals to like what I'm doing in some regards but I think liberals are no less deluded than conservatives.


Gandolf said...

J. L. Watts said..."Steve, why would I expect God to help me in this?

Silly, really."

You dont believe in faithful folks being led by the holy spirit?

steph said...

Thank you John I wasn't sure. But do you think it's really helpful to address all Christians with such name calling? I wouldn't expect that any decent self respecting Christian would appreciate it.

Edward T. Babinski said...


A preacher who was visiting a farm and said to the farmer, "God's been mighty good to your fields, Mr. Farmer." "Yes," the Farmer replied, "But you should have seen how He treated them when I wasn't around."

Did God design the bacteria that infect the food we eat? Even "prayed over" leftovers from Thanksgiving Day? Microgram for microgram, the poisons produced by some bacteria in our food are more potent than all other known poisons on earth. It is estimated that one tenth of an ounce of the toxin produced by bacteria causing botulism would be more than enough to kill everyone in the city of New York; and a 12-ounce glassful would be enough to kill all 5.9 billion human beings on the face of the Earth. (The same goes for the toxin that causes tetanus.) Pretty powerful stuff. Is that God's handiwork? Creationists - if they thought about it - must imagine God working overtime in His own personal biological warfare laboratory.

Did God design the sawtoothed grain beetle, angoumois grain moths, Mediterranean flour moths, scale insects, cabbage worms, corn earworms, corn rootworms, cutworms, tomato fruitworms, etc., that destroy 30% of U.S. food crops by voraciously devouring leaves, fruits, grain, and also by spreading fungal and bacterial plant rots as well? Are we supposed to praise the Lord for designing such insects whose proliferation leads to human starvation?

Only a Designer would have had the infinite wisdom and compassion to plant upon the earth "thousands of deadly shrubs and vines; stock the earth with ferocious beasts and poisonous reptiles; take pains to breed malaria and a host of other diseases in just the right `host' animals and environments he'd created for that purpose; arrange that the ground would occasionally open and swallow a few of his darlings; establish volcanoes that might at any moment overwhelm his children with rivers of fire; and then neglect to tell his children which of the plants and animals were deadly; failed to say anything about the earthquakes, and kept the volcano business a profound secret." [Ingersoll]

Only a Designer would have had the infinite wisdom and compassion to "control the wind, the rain and lightning, such that whole States dry and wither, while at the same time wasting precious rain on the sea; make hurricanes and tornadoes such that cities and people are crushed to shapelessness; and direct lightning to strike the life out of men, women, and children." [Ingersoll] (See Job, chapters 36-38)

Also next time you say "grace" why not thank the person who invented fire, the person who invented the first language, who planted the first seeds, domesticated the first livestock, the person who invented knives and forks, pots and pans, the stove, and limitless other items? What did we have before THOSE people arose?

And thanks to the clergy they are busy teaching children about Adam and Noah instead of evolution; about David killing Goliath instead of Koch killing cholera; about Christ’s ascent into heaven instead of Montgolfier’s or Wright’s. Worse than that they are taught that it is a virtue to accept a statement without adequate evidence, which leaves them prey to quacks of every kind and makes it difficult for them to accept the methods of thought that are successful in science.--J. B. Haldane [NOTE] Montgolfier ascended into the heavens via a balloon filled with hot air, and the Wright brothers designed and piloted the first successful heavier-than-air flying machine.


John W. Loftus said...

steph, that's what I think. Sorry if it offends.

John W. Loftus said...

Sometimes Ed, you write some really good stuff. Thanks!

steph said...

I'm not offended and I'm not offended that you expect liberal Christians to like what you say - I just think you're 'deluded' if you expect they'd appreciate what you say when you lump them in with fundies, as well as call them deluded. I presume I can call you deluded because you don't think Christians should be offended by it? ;-)

John W. Loftus said...



steph said...

by the way John, without wanting to make a big song and dance about this, it has nothing to do with the list. I think it has something to do with the apparent increasing nasty 'humour' and maybe even the post Suzanne drew attention to, after which I and maybe others too called him out on. Nobody, not even a 'man of God', should behave like this. Perhaps it is a good time to take leave and be a good pastor to his church. I'd just leave his name alone if I were you.

Steven Carr said...

I see Watts has produced the classic Christian counter to claims that his own Bible says his god blesses killers and kills children.

Watts simply ignored it.

He can't deal with it, so he ignores it and remains a Christian, worshipping a being he alleges kills children and drowns people.

Lynn said...

J.L. Watts,

When you said "Why would I expect God to help me in this?", it sent chills down my spine. It reminds me of a son dealing with an abusive father. No matter what the father dishes out, the son clings because he loves and needs his father and so wants love from him.

Then he becomes a teenager and finally SEES and has the strength and courage to fight back. He finally says "It's NOT okay."

J. L. Watts said...

Lynn, why do you assume God is a 'Father' like we picture 'Fathers' to be? This was not the earliest views of 'God the Father'?

Further, while I hope that God would guide me, I in now way believe that it is my place to say - God is helping me. Don't we have too many people with God on their side today - even the same people fighting each other?

Steven Carr said...

The earliest views of God was as God the killer, killing children at a whim.

Later, it was replaced by views of God telling his friends how to get free money by looking in the mouth of a fish.

Gandolf said...

J. L. Watts said... "Lynn, why do you assume God is a 'Father' like we picture 'Fathers' to be? This was not the earliest views of 'God the Father'?"

Hi again J.L.Watts ....Some of the earliest views of the father sometimes was that he supposedly threw lightning bolts at certain people for being bad etc ...Or drowned folks who musta been bad,by use of tsunami.

However we know now that was much "more likely" to be about old ignorant barbaric superstition/faith, rather than about good reasoning or knowledge.

Because 1, we realize good and bad people get killed and 2, we now know what causes lightning and tsunami.

J.L.Watts what makes you assume God might be the earliest views of 'God the Father'?"