Reality Check: What Must Be the Case if Christianity is True?

19) That although there is no cogent theodicy that can explain why there is such ubiquitous and massive human and animal suffering if a perfectly good omnipotent God exists, God is perfectly good and omnipotent anyway.


Raiyden said...

But all that suffering is a result of sin, God intended for everything to be perfect :)

That doesn't mean I agree with God, it's kinda like being told Jesus loves you but if you don't love him back you will suffer forever!

Rob R said...

I'm a bit confused at the confidence here that these are REALITY checks and that they MUST be true when they are claims that not everyone including learned scholars would agree upon.

I find it dubious that everyone who has worked on the problem of evil would share your conclusion that there is no cogent theodicy.

But what if it is true. It might be in the strictest sense that no one has a COMPLETE answer to the problem of evil free of every problem, and certainly some aren't free from controversy, but that doesn't indicate that there aren't theodicies out there that aren't mostly successful with extremely reasonable room left over for mystery such as that that surrounds ALL human knowledge (including scientific knowledge). So what if in eliminating some and highly important question marks, there are still some left over. We will just continue to do what is reasonable to do, to continue to work on what remains.

This is the kind of criticism that I don't find very good at all in the slightest, that because we don't have complete and absolute answers to everything, that our picture should be abandoned on the whole. It's the kind of thought that is far too frequent in atheistic thought that when used against Christianity, would invalidate almost all other areas of human knowledge including the only knowledge they consider sacred, scientific knowledge.

John W. Loftus said...

Rob, what you said is mostly correct if we were to take any one of these reality checks all by themselves. I cannot speak for all Christians and I don't claim to. But several Christian theists don't think there is any successful theodicy available at all.

See what Thom Stark said for instance.

But it not the case that you can offer even a glimmer of a response to the problem of suffering except by retreating to mystery, which is no answer at all.

When it comes to the usual things we know we can offer some acceptable reasons why we accept what we do.

But you cannot even get off the ground in offering a theodicy beyond mystery. I could press you an each one of your answers if we had the patience to do so until you would have to retreat to mystery so many times you would get my point.


Breckmin said...

19)That there IS a cogent theodicy that explains why human suffering and animal suffering exists and that it can consistent with a Holy Creator who is all "logically" powerful...

but such Theodicy never seems to be addressed on websites that claim they have debunked Christianity.

Let's talk about it...starting with the necessity of learning contrasts and concepts such as good and evil in the first place.

There can be no legitimate theodicy without addressing the complexity of the dual reality of evil as well as how sin is a potential byproduct of choice.

1. God does not "create" sin.
2. God DOES allow evil to exist in the universe as part of His "Plan" for salvation and judgment.
3. We can even say in the English "God wills evil to exist" but this doesn't mean that He directly created it.
4. We need to go through at least a dozen of the reasons for "why" we suffer and navigate these with respect to each individual situation (whether natural dissaster or whether the result of choice of a cognitive being).

Even natural dissasters can be the result of ancestors who chose to migrate to those areas, etc.

5. We need to address why Love requires choice and how this creates a potential byproduct for an evil which will be judged by God's justice...and "how God is just in judging what He knew would take place, etc.

There are 20 more points I could list. Until we address the complexity of at least half of these points, we will be no where near connecting the dots on theodicy.

Hendy said...


Are you serious?

Your theodicies will amount to speculation with no known actual reasons just like a lot of the other ones. For example, the logical problem of evil is 'refuted' only by showing that it's 'possible' that god has a sufficient morally permissible reason for allowing evil and suffering.

But what is it?

What if I was on trial for murder (and I actually killed a man) and my lawyer kept pleading with the jury that I had a motive so pure and wholesome that they would be literally doing grave wrong to convict me of murder. Instead I should be completely let off.

What do you think the jury would want to know and would be the next question out of the prosecution's mouth?

What's this motive you're talking about? Tell us so we can judge for ourselves.

Not only would my lawyer not be able to tell anyone, but they couldn't even come up with a plausible one themselves that made any sense.

Anyway, cheesy analogy, but all it does is crack the shell of it being logically impossible. It doesn't give us any understandable ways to comprehend god's actual goodness as every possible suggestion has been challenged (soul building, free will, etc.).

Lastly, natural disasters the result of ancestral migration?

You've got to be kidding me.

You're like an incubating Pat Robertson or something.

I'd challenge you to put together a list of any natural disasters you please and present to DC a possible suggestion for what sin the inhabitants at some point committed as to warrant something like a tsunami or earthquake.

Breckmin said...

"Even natural disasters can be the result of ancestors who chose to migrate to those areas, etc."

My bad.

What I am referring to is the experience of a local natural disaster. Clearly the disaster is the result of the movement of a plate, or a weather pattern, or climate conditions which are affected by other causes. These of course have nothing to do with current human choices (although Christians do point back to original sin - and to the flood specifically when it comes to earthquakes and other problems related to climate).
The choices of ancestors to migrate to an area which will someday possibly have an earthquake or a tsunami is the point I was making.

I was NOT saying that their choice to migrate somehow brought about a judgement from God. The point has to do with how choices are both causes and effects for other people (in this case descendents).

Judgement from God is individual, anyway. In a tsunami, for instance, some die and some do not die. Some are severally injured by the natural cause and some are less injured. Some are saved and taken to eternal glory and some are judged perfectly based on every choice they ever made (not a good thing for such individual).

It is important to understand how natural disasters apply to the individual rather than to everyone equally.

Breckmin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Breckmin said...

"the logical problem of evil is 'refuted' only by showing that it's 'possible' that god has a sufficient morally permissible reason for allowing evil and suffering."

The greater good has always been the eternal glory of LOVE which requires choice.

You can't say yes if you can't say no. You can't agree with God if you can't disagree with Him. Disagreeing with the Owner and Creator of the universe, however, is cosmically a bad thing. An evil thing. This is a potential byproduct of "choice" (what is necessary for love/worship/genuine thanks/praise, etc.).

We are creatures created in God's Image with a self-impulse(d) volition (often referred to as free will). The complication is that God created little creators. We have the ability to create with our minds (yet we are accountable to the Creator as we do this because we should logically be His since He created us).
As little creators we have limited sovereignty based on our circumstances.

The potential for evil is the price for the glory of Love. God became a Man and paid the price for our evil for the eternal glory of love. If you miss this, then you will miss the eternal glory of Love.

Chuck O'Connor said...


Your ad hoc explanations are tedious and if you had a modicum of the humility you assert you'd be ashamed practicing them as explanation for tragedy.

Breckmin said...

calling "ad hoc" is general and doesn't address a specific point, premise or assumption.

You continue to attack me with generalization yet provide no point for point rebuttal. I would encourage you to examine critically the specific points with respect to cause and effects and how love can not exist without choice.

Hendy said...


'Ad hoc' would be the case if your theory has no real applicability anywhere else. It's my understanding of scripture (being of a Catholic tradition) that there is no direct connection between bad things and sin. Not in the tit-for-tat sense anyway.

- John 9:2: blindness is not the result of anyone's sin
- Luke 13-1-9: it was not due to sin that either Galileans were offered as blood sacrifices or that the tower or Siloam fell and killed people.
- Sodom and Gomorrah: god won't bring mass killing (like a natural disaster) on a city if there are good people there.

Do you really think that tsunamis and earthquakes are some form of spiritual payback?

The pinnacle of love excuse is preposterous. Everywhere we look, superior intelligence protects lesser intelligence only because of love. All we have to go by is parents/children examples which is exactly how god is supposed to be with us.

My daughter has free choice. She is almost two. Would it be unloving for me to stop her from wandering out into the street? She might be upset because I held her back, but it's my freaking duty to protect her from herself due to her ignorance. When she's older I'll tell her about cars. I'll educate her directly as it is my duty. Then I'll walk her for years while holding her hand. Then we'll walk side by side with no hand holding.

Then finally one day I'll let her go out by herself.

Am I casting the pinnacle values of love and free-will aside by doing this? What exactly is the difference between this analogy and god's relationship with us?

I find this a classic example of how every time one exercises his mind on things like this and comes up with blatant and utter failures in logic or explanations, the theologians come to the rescue and try to convince everyone that their reason is flawed, not the concept of god.

Shane said...

Christians have long argued that god had no other choice but to test man in the Garden of Eden in order to prove man’s freewill choice to love god. This is a short-sighted argument. It shows a lack of critical thinking when examining the Biblical story. According to the New Testament, it becomes clear that god had intended all along to make a sinless man - a man who would not fail the temptations of Satan. God had the option to send Jesus as the first Adam, not the second, as he is called in the New Testament.

If god had caused his pre-existing son to be incarnate as the first man, then the fully obedient incarnate son would not have failed the test in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, there would have been no fall, and no need to send a redeemer. Most importantly, god could have avoided the untold misery and suffering he inflicted on mankind as a result of Adam’s fall.

The only conclusion is that morally god is a monster who preferred to create thousands of years of human suffering, when he had the option not to do so. Obviously, god preferred to send billions to hell to be tortured for eternity, rather than simply making Jesus the first Adam. If any of the Biblical myth were true, then god would not be a god of love, but rather a capriciously evil, sadistic and abhorrent being.