Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Suffer, Therefore God Doesn’t Exist

Another letter to the atheists who deny the existence of God because evil and suffering exist:

A postmodern stated, “The only truth is change itself. Therefore, there’s no objective truth!” However, if this is true, then this statement can’t stand – at least, not for long – because it too is subject to change.

This is precisely the problem you encounter when you try to deny God by pointing to the evil in the world. If there is no God, then there is no absolute moral truth upon which to base such an indictment. “Evil” then is just an arbitrary construct of our own ever-changing minds in an ever-changing universe—certainly no solid ground upon which to base any judgment against God!

Consequently, when you deny the existence of God, you do so without any rational basis. It’s like the atheist who asserts, “I can be good without God!” If there is no ontological and objective “good,” then all talk about “goodness” is arbitrary, subjective and therefore meaningless. Hence, the atheist’s denial of God is also meaningless.

The postmodern stance not only precludes the existence of moral truth, which you illogically use to deny God’s existence, but it also precludes the existence of any unchanging laws in the midst of our expanding universe.

But more personally, your indictment – “suffering proves there’s no God” – is also overwhelmed by many other considerations:

1. The good in the world overwhelms the evil or painful. Therefore, the vast majority of people value life. (If life is so evil, why are you still here?) Therefore also, it is illegitimate to discount God’s existence by the presence of suffering.

2. Our needs are met so perfectly: we hunger and there is food; we thirst and God provides water; we tire and there is sleep…. I’m amazed by the correspondence between my needs and the way God fulfills my needs.

3. Even more fundamentally, the universe is fine-tuned for my existence and comfort.

4. As Christians, even though there remain questions that trouble us, we find assurance in our Lord that we will blissfully be with Him for eternity, and that He will right every wrong. We also find comfort and assurance in the fact that He judges justly and mercifully, and will give everyone what they deserve and even better. Although we might not know how it will all pay out, we have come to trust in our God and therefore can be at peace regarding the outcome.

5. On the contrary, we can point to the fact that suffering and death is proof of God’s goodness. Just look at what happens to people for whom there is little suffering! They become arrogant and insensitive. Instead, I find that I need the prospect of death in order to value what I do have, while I have it. Eternal life in this corrupted world would make us indifferent to all the things that require sensitivity and thoughtfulness.

6. Also is also essential to prepare us for what follows: “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.” 2 Cor. 4:10-11

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