This post began as a reply to Paul Boag’s video post Am I a God Botherer or a Bible Basher. Bruce Lawson has the answer!
Paul’s post was itself in reply to Bruce Lawson’s excellent post God-botherers or Bible-bashers?
As I am not good at keeping it short, I decided to make it a post of my own instead.
So, without further ado, my reply to Paul:
Witty answers, I must say, although I stand firmly on Bruce´s side on this one :)
I realize that you are simplifying for the sake of brevity, but it still bothers me a lot when you blame suffering on free will. The whole genocide-(and related)-issue is extremely complex, and so I will not ask you to go into it, but the tsunami-issue is something completely different, and, I think, quite simple enough that you should be able to expand a little on the subject.
Firstly, the statement that we are fully able to “[deal] with … tsunamis”. Would you care to explain? I am sure you do not mean we have the power to stop them occurring, so I take it you think we could stop them from causing any suffering? How should this be achieved then? Should no one live in places where a tsunami might strike? If so, should no one live in any place where a serious earthquake might occur? A volcano eruption? Tornadoes? Drought? Forest or grass fires? Not many places on earth would still qualify for human life.
If ”don’t live there” is indeed your answer–and forgive me if it isn’t, I just can not come up with any real alternatives–then why would it be fair that some people, just because they happen to be born in a certain part of the world, would have to choose to leave their home and move far away, just to avoid the, sometimes very remote, possibility of great suffering due to a natural disaster?
”Why fair”, I ask. Why do I ask ”fair”? Life is not fair, so why ask about fairness? Because with an omnipotent and benevolent god, maybe there would still be suffering, but is not fairness the very least we could expect? Is not fairness the very least we expect from our parents, growing up? The very least we expect from our legal system?
And yet nothing could be less fair than the world that innocent children are thrown into upon their birth. Children, that might be severely punished, or heavenly rewarded, for having the ”right” or the ”wrong” parents, in the ”right” or the ”wrong” part of the world, in the ”right” or the ”wrong” century.
The second thing that immediately struck me about your tsunami-reasoning is that you seem to wholly forget that you believe that god created the world. Why would he create a world in which natural disasters happen, and cause suffering for innocent people? Even though some natural disasters might be caused by human activity on the planet, you can not seriously state that such is the case for all natural disasters, unless you claim they are punishments from god. So why did your perfect and infallible god create such an unstable earth?
In the absence of a real-time dialog, I have simply tried to extrapolate from your argument, and I do hope that I have not built too much of a strawman.
I do realise that your post is almost two years old by now, but I hope that you nevertheless can find the time and interest to reply with a more detailed view on the matter.