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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 12:49 am
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booklover
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OK, first things first. I'm not writing this to tweak anyone's nose, nor am I trying to start an argument for the sake of said argument. I truly want to know what those of you on this board who are believers feel about the topic I'm about to bring up. I almost wrote this on the NIU post, but decided to make it a new post simply because I didn't want to hijack Joe's thoughtful words about his sister-in-law. So, with that caveat, here goes.

In Joe's post I quoted Rabbi Laszlo Berkowits, who when asked where was God during the Holocaust asked instead "where was man?" I think it's a pretty powerful statement, but it points to one of the main reasons that I lean toward athiesm. Believers are always saying God doesn't cause bad things to happen, but rather, in a case like the NIU shooting, it is the fault of a single man. But yet, I'm told that God is this all-knowing and all-powerful being that created the world out of nothing and populated it with man and all the animals and could do anything he chooses. Man, in God's infinite wisdom, is given free will, however, and so can either choose to accept or reject God and his teachings, and it is from this rejection that evil happens. Forget about personal things like disease or heartache. I'm talking about external actions, or actions outside of man's ability to control. In other words, I'm not talking about someone who gets lung cancer after smoking for 40 years.

In all this, no one has ever been able to explain to me why a just and loving God would allow those people who are innocent to have to pay for the sins of someone who rejected him. The shooter at NIU may have been a believer, or he may have been an atheist, I don't know. But because he chose to reject God's commandment not to kill, five people are now dead and several families will have to deal with this for years to come (including the shooter's family). And don't tell me they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. If God exists, and if God is omniscient, he knew what this person was going to do. He knew this person wasn't going to shoot himself until he was able to kill other people. In this knowledge, and by not stopping it, he allowed those people to die.

In her book Evil in Modern Thought, Susan Nieman paraphrases the words of Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) a French Protestant who wrote constantly on the problem of evil in the world. Nieman writes "To imagine a God who judges many of the forms of life He created to be sinful, then tortures us eternally for our brief participation in them, is hardly to imagine a solution to the problem of evil. Positing a God who may permit infinite and eternal suffering is of little help in stilling doubt about a God who clearly permits finite and temporal suffering." (pg. 19)

Where was God?

More and more, I am coming to the conclusion that he is only in the mind.

Best
Rob

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