October 14, 2015

If God is omnipotent, why is this the only way?

Around 21,000 people die every day of hunger—that’s one death about every 4 seconds. Even in developed nations like our own, it’s estimated that one in five children go hungry.

Approximately 1.5 million people worldwide are dying due to AIDS (although, thankfully, the number is dropping rapidly).

Over 6 million children in the United States alone are involved in child abuse allegations every year—meaning their caretakers are investigated. Estimates point to the loss of between four and seven children to child abuse and neglect every day—right here. ‘Murrica. About 28% of those reports are due to physical abuse, and another 21% to sexual abuse.

Domestic violence results in 2 million injuries and 1,300 deaths annually in the US.

My point: In a world that is supposedly created and designed by an omnipotent, omniscient designer, who cares about each of us and is perfectly just—how? Just how? How does this even happen?

Why does it have to be this way?

There are a lot of explanations for this—the most common being that the world is decaying because of the Fall of Man and original sin. It’s Satan’s doing.

But how does that even make sense?

I recently read this response to a question posed to a pastor by the Clergy Project—you can read the whole piece over at their Rational Doubt blog, but the quote that kicked off this train of thought was this:

The very first crack in the dike was when it occurred to me, as a father myself, just how immorally twisted the idea of a father blood-sacrificing a son was. And to think this was the best idea a God of the Universe could produce is less than silly.

To me, this is a truly profound rationalization.

It is ridiculous to think that this world, this plan, is the only thing an all-powerful and all-knowing being could come up with.

It did not have to be this way.

So let’s start with the premise that I was raised on: God exists. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, ever present, just, good, and caring. He created everything, including man, to live in perfect harmony. Man sinned and fell. The wages of sin are death, so God ransomed himself in the form of his only son in order to pay that debt, so that man would not die eternally. Bad things happen because the world is decaying, because of the Fall, but will be righted when Christ’s kingdom is restored.

That is my childhood faith, years and years of indoctrination, shrunk to a single paragraph. And it is utter bullshit to accept that the God of the universe is unable to do better. I expect better from a deity that demands my unwavering faith and belief.

God is all-knowing—so he knew from the beginning that this world, the world of all of those statistics and stories above, was going to happen. He knew it, and yet, here it is.

God is all-powerful—we accept that the wages of sin are death, and that this decay is part of the deal because some ancestors way back when decided to make a fruit salad. But WHY? If God is all-powerful, why did he set those wages? Either God is bound by outside laws that forced him to accept that principle, or he himself desires the death of the people that he supposedly cares about. Those are the only two options. He set the wages, knowing that people would fail, because again, he is all-knowing.

Simply based on these two principles, the rest of the characteristics of my premise above fall apart. There is no justice in a god that punishes indiscriminately, and I fail to see how such a deity could be considered good or caring.

If I were an omnipotent, omniscient deity, I would do better. Just being honest.

Why don’t we expect the same from God?

And when those expectations fail to be met—why are we so loathe to question him? Why are we so reluctant to ask “why”?

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