Pt.4 – Six Answers For Everyone [Anyone] … You Pick

To re-cap from part 1:

I’ve been meaning to do one of these questions ‘things’ for some time. Having just posted the What Now part 2 post, I think it might be time for one of these.

It’s just six questions from Dive In Scripture so don’t get too excited, right. I don’ t have a plan here. I’m just going to answer them as they show up on the page.

Gah!! That took some effort to answer just “question #1” so it looks like this is  going to be a ‘six’ part series. All this pretending that there were only six questions is making me feel math challenged.

So lets see what is on the menu for the part 4 question(s). I was hoping that these questions might be getting better. Bad news, dear readers. Number four seems to be aiming for the bottom with a fair amount of success.

4.    If there is no God, the problems of evil and suffering are in no way solved, so where is the hope of redemption, or meaning for those who suffer?  Suffering is just as tragic, if not more so, without God because there is no hope of ultimate justice, or of the suffering being rendered meaningful or transcendent, redemptive or redeemable.  It might be true that there is no God to blame now, but neither is there a God to reach out to for strength, transcendent meaning, or comfort.  Why would we seek the alleviation of suffering without objective morality grounded in a God of justice?

The first sentence starts out badly. Evil and suffering have in no way been solved despite so many people believing in a god. It would appear that the only way to stop it is to do it ourselves. This presumption that ‘with god’ there will be a fix for the problem of evil and suffering is a false claim that sets a negative tone for the entire discussion. No monotheistic god has ever promised to fix evil and suffering for humans in this lifetime and there has been no guarantee of a fix in the afterlife. By many estimates, more than 99% of everyone who has ever lived did not get to heaven so pain, evil, and suffering are fairly well guaranteed in this life and the next for 99% of everyone who has ever lived according to monotheistic dogma and doctrine. The questioner antagonistically pretends that their god will fix this problem. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Next, the questioner asks where is the hope of redemption or meaning for those that suffer which only presumes that there is a god that will redeem and give meaning to those that suffer. I suppose that thinking like this makes it easier to not give to charities or help the homeless but instead put your 10% in the offering plate to get a new organ for the church and a new car for the pastor. They give to god and god takes care of dolling it out. That’s a nice safe way to do a good thing and not have to get your hands dirty. This restated pleas that only god can redeem and give meaning to those that suffers which totally ignores the fact that there are billions of people on the planet that find meaning without the questioner’s god. Death is not redemption but it is the end of suffering. Redemption comes from other humans who are willing and able to deliver safety and justice to the community around them. It comes often enough in the form of stopping the suffering and prosecuting those who are ‘evil’ as it were. .This is why we have laws and the U.N. (don’t talk about effectiveness) and other such bodies and ideals. Redemption happens in this life, if at all. There is no guarantee with your birth that life will be easy or fair or fun. Believing in imaginary friends does not change that. As they say, the rain falls on the just and the unjust. (yes, that was scripture).  Theists, I’ll wager, are not willing to live without laws. Oh wait, they can’t. They have laws written into their holy texts to stop them from being evil. Hmmmmm Makes you wonder why they need laws written in their holy text to stop them from being evil. Perhaps it is because if someone didn’t tell them to be good they would be running around raping and stealing. Oh wait… That’s not working out so well for the RCC and others. Well, this is a mess. I’m going to just say it. The only redemption comes from other humans with compassion and a sense of justice (something believers obviously don’t claim to have on their own) and meaning comes from what we assign of it to life. Believer appear to be of the sort that are not able to do this without help… or so the questioner seems to think.

I’ve been told recently that believers are not evil and cruel law breakers, they’ve just been taught to think and talk that way. It will be a good day indeed when they begin to think and talk for themselves instead of regurgitating what they’ve been taught.

Suffering is tragic, but not more so without a god. Such a qualification is absurd. Worship of a god is the price people will pay to have a get out of jail free card, someone to blame, and a promise of a better life, but it will not end suffering nor create justice. Believing that there is justice in the next life is tantamount to absolving yourself of creating justice in the here and now. The idea that we humans suffer to earn a better life in the next one is resolutely absurd. There is no evidence of such an afterlife and all the evidence says that belief in such is wrong. It’s a slave mentality to think your master is right and you’ll earn brownie points for the next life if you put up with suffering in this one. That is not free will, that is slave will. It’s exactly what the church wants of you… suffer and keep bringing offerings for the ‘lord’ so the clergy can be wealthy. Without your suffering and offering they would be homeless layabouts, or working real work to earn their keep. The very thought that all your suffering in this life is for a better life after is absurd. That’s like losing every game in the season because someone promised you would win the world series next year. Who is going to do that? I wonder if that is what the priest tell the kids when they are raping them… they’ll have a better life next time. Listen, if your personal god wants you to have a good life but needs you to suffer through this one you’re a fool to believe in such a god. He wants your money and love no matter how much he lets you suffer. There is no redemption in that. You can’t even get a free ticket to the PTBarnum museum for that kind of hubris.

This next to last sentence doesn’t make sense. Strength meaning and comfort come from inside your mind. You create them. Period. You may find inspirational things which help you create them in your mind, but you create them on your own just the same. We seek the alleviation of suffering because we are a compassionate animal. Even dogs, dolphins and other mammals do this. It is part of our construction. Compassion. It does not come from a divine being. It comes from our DNA. There is NO  objective morality and there is not enough space here to complete the argument against it. Trust me, there is none. When I hear someone talk about their god of justice I read about Joshua and I see what kind of justice that god has. It’s sickening. A just god cannot logically be an all benevolent god. An all powerful god that requires you to suffer in this life is not just. An all knowing god that says you have free will but knows what will happen in every second of your life is a liar.

Any argument that requires a god to demonstrate the best part of human nature is a false argument. To question how we could have those features without god is to completely ignore or misunderstand what it is to be human. Some… mind you not everyone, would say that people who say such things deserve to be the slaves of someone else. Perhaps that is harsh, but it is their holy text that calls them to be slaves to their god. Is that free will? Is that redemption? Is that meaning? Is that transcendence? I think not. I think that the problem of evil and suffering is far from being relieved by belief in god, rather it is exacerbated by it. The only hope that humanity has for redemption and meaning is to forget we ever invented monotheism, heaven and hell, afterlife, and so on. Then we can get on with helping one another instead of arguing who prays the right way.

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