The Problem of Christianity and Evil/Suffering

Yahweh Can’t Exist as Described

One of the major problems that adherents of the Christian faiths have to contend with is the existence of evil and suffering in the world.  To this date I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer from any theists on why evil and suffering exist in a world that was supposedly created by an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god.  I believe that there is no good answer to that question and the failure of Christians to come up with one goes a long way to proving their version of a deity can’t exist—at least in the way that they define him.

Here is a little story for you.  My wife and I have a few cats.  One of those cats is eight years old and was diagnosed two weeks ago with kidney disease.  In short, our cat is not doing well.  She has a vet appointment on Wednesday from which she may not come home from…  My wife and I have decided that we will not prolong her suffering to satisfy our own selfish needs of not wanting to part with her.  If the vet feels that we can turn this thing around and manage it then great…if not…

When we think about evil and suffering we often look only at fellow humans.  Animals also play a role in this.  If “god” is an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent creator, why do we have animal suffering?  Why would an omnibenevolent god create this cat with the omniscient knowledge that it would suffer and die young?  Further, that the suffering of the cat would cause pain and suffering to its owners (my wife and I)?  The answer is that any omnibenevolent deity would never allow this situation to occur.  There is no “good” in this story.  The Christian will often run to the poor cop-out of “god works in mysterious ways”…I call bullshit.  Christians also try to argue that suffering makes us stronger and “ready for heaven”.  Again, I call bullshit.  My cat doesn’t need to prepare for anything and neither my wife nor I will come out “stronger” because of this.  We will continue on with life and that is it.  The list of poor reasons provided by Christians is quite long…I call bullshit on all of them.

The only way an omnibenevolent deity could allow this situation to occur would be if he were NOT omniscient and/or omnipotent.  The same goes for all suffering.  Either he does not know it exists (is not omniscient) or may know it is happening and is powerless to intervene (not omnipotent).  If he is both omniscient and omnipotent, then he cannot be omnibenevolent.  There is no way around this problem for Christians.  The fact is, they have never provided a coherent and logical response.

The god Yahweh, cannot possibly exist in the manner and definition that his believers claim.  This one problem, which apologists have failed to answers for years, is all it take to remove this deity from existence.

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to your comments.


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10 thoughts on “The Problem of Christianity and Evil/Suffering

  1. Alan Perlman from Stowe, VT, United States

    Well said. Believers have only the flimsiest of rationales ("God's plan"). I read the entire Torah (1st five books of the Bible, which Jews revere. They finish it…and start all over! With a celebration! And it's all crap! Morality 101. None of it happened. And God is a CEO from hell. At one point he tells Moses that he, God, had better go on ahead, because he's so pissed at them that he might just kill them (Exodus 33:1-4).

  2. Grundy from Hoschton, GA, United States

    I hope the kitty makes it. :-)

    The only honest answer as to why there is suffering I've heard from Christian, even though it isn't a comforting answer for them, is "I don't know." If I get this answer, I usually accept it and move on. It shows the Christian has some problems or at least some questions about their faith, which is good. When they try to explain around suffering, we usually have a nice long debate.

    I think Christianity is actually a step back from the older religions in terms of logical consistency. The Greek/Roman god's many disagreements can account for suffering in the world. Concepts of Yin/Yang also do. Karma does. Even a devil more on par with God would explain it, but that's not the Christian teaching. For all the "explanations" religions are designed to account for, Christianity is nearly alone in missing this fundamental aspect of life.

  3. hausdorff from Troy, MI, United States

    Good luck with your cat, I hope she does ok. I'm glad that you guys are willing to let her go though, if the prognosis is bad. When I was growing up we had a dog that we kept getting treatment for that was just keeping it alive but it was miserable. My parents' hearts were in the right place, but that poor dog went through a lot of unnecessary pain.

    And I completely agree about the problem of evil. I've never heard a good explanation for it, and it was always in the back of my mind during my process of leaving the faith.

  4. saganist420 from Connellsville, PA, United States

    This was a fine retelling of Epicurus' argument. However when I hear it I think this: We atheists believe that god doesn't exist, therefore HUMANITY"S action or inaction is the root cause of most of the worlds "evil". Of course we can't stop a hurricane or accurately predict an earthquake( not yet, but I think no problem can't be solved with a little hard work and a lot of good science), but there are things we CAN do to, if nothing else, alleviate a lot of the world's suffering. If we refuse to do so, it is our fault, and ours alone. Blaming it on god(which is the same as blaming it on nothing) is just a cop out.

    1. reasonbeing from Duluth, MN, United States Post author

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I very much appreciate it. I also agree with your assessment that blaming god for anything is just a "cop-out". As a society, we need to do better when it comes to things that we can control–i.e.—not natural disasters, though climate change is something we can work on.

  5. Phillip Brown from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    This is a good point and I have come upon this before. I am currently looking at the problem in detail on my blog and I think it would be timely to respond to this point in an objections post. Let me know what you think of my points thus far, I would good contributions. The blog is…


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