“Okay, so God did it all wrong,”

I’m asked. “A good God would

never do it that way!”

.

“Okay, then, how should he have

done things?”

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For how we talked about that

in some of my (secular) university classes,

requires using the DOOR.

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[MORE]

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   Whether one takes the Bible seriously or not, the problem of evil now and then arises. One form of addressing it is asking: “How could an all-powerful supreme being make a world that has the problems ours has? “Why are  people so different and face so many troubles?”

   A question is worth asking, and people have been doing that for centuries.

   We’ll continue the tradition.

   And try to be brief.

   Sometimes in my university writing classes I would formally, or informally, address this. Then I would say something like this: “For the purpose of argument suppose that an all-powerful God, who intended to be good, exists and further, (a) God created all things, (b) all things are under his¹ control, and (c) yet he made some big mistakes, and was/is indifferent to people who needed help. If you, however, were God, and had God’s ability and power, how would have done (and do) things differently–according to your framework of belief²?

   Questions or issues to think about often included the following:

  • How would the people you create be different?
  • How would you be fair to everyone?
  • What would people be able to do, and not do?
  • What should people know and expect?
  • What would be the extent of their free choice?
  • What would be the consequences of their free choices? (Ex.: If Human A’s words or actions offended Human B, could Human B retaliate, and to what extent? What would be acceptable punishment?  Would seriously hurting or killing another person be allowed? Or would “God” somehow reeducate that person? Or would that interfere with that person’s freedom? Or would that make personal freedom impossible?
  • How long would humans live and if they died, how would that happen?
  • And what about bodily and mental pain?
  • Would there be gender differences, as now, or would all humans be hermaphroditic³? [Interestingly, gender differences of some kind were usually insisted upon in past discussions, essential, it seemed to pleasure and/or "purpose."]
  • Would there be “until death do us part” marriage, renewal marriage, trial marriage, or no marriage at all?
  • Or no “couples” at all?
  • If babies regularly appeared, would only “women” bear them? Or, would men (by some special design) also have their turn to bear children? (Women, of course, have to endure much that men never have to consider. [WARNING: Addressing this in discussion can easily derail the whole activity!])
  • Would people be “protected” in their daily living, their secret  exploits, their desire for adventure (mountain-climbing, for example) from missteps and accidents?

   Designing and superintending the universe is a complicated issue. If  free choice, fairness (with justice), and love are top priorities, how these play out in a social world where people depend on each other is complex.

   The easy way out of this is to “drop the God part” and make the first stuff–or just let it come from somewhere–and “walk away,” letting what can survive survive and move on. And with that you have the heart of naturalistic Darwinism! And, as we’ve said–and often implied–from time to time, the problems and unknowns that come with “pure” naturalism.

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¹ I use “generic he” deliberately in its traditional sense here.

² Everyone has some “framework of belief,” whether it is traditionally religious or not. A person will or will not do this or that under this or that set of circumstances. Further, atheists as well as Christians or other religious believers are often governed by certain singular driving passions such as racial or gender equality, equal opportunity, the New Testament mandate that one should trust in Jesus Christ, stamping out all “religious nonsense,” or even securing animal rights; other “beliefs,” and values lining up after these. Stating or writing what a person actually will or not do is problematic, but theoretically possible.

³ Hermaphrodites, in the extreme cases, are individuals who physically have both male and female sex organs.