Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The value of resolving the intellectual problem of evil

I've heard a lot of stories about people who lost their faith because of some personal tragedy in their own lives. I know people personally who rejected God for that reason. I'm always a little bit taken aback when this happens to Christians. Were they unaware that bad things happen in the world? Did they not know about medieval tortures like the brazen bull? If those tragedies didn't disprove God, then why does their own tragedy disprove God? Did they not think about these things before hand?

Now I realize that a personal tragedy has an impact on you in a way that abstract or remote tragedies don't. But the difference is primarily emotional, not intellectual. That's why I think everybody should resolve the problem of evil intellectually long before tragedy hits. That way, you aren't taken off guard. You aren't shocked to find that God must not care about you after all. Your emotions will not have full control over how you view God.

Tragedy hit my own family several years ago. When it did, I reminded myself that I had worked out the problem of evil, and that what happened to us did not disprove God. I leaned on that, and I kept my faith because of it. I didn't have to think about what God's reasons could possibly be for allowing it to happen right in the middle of being upset. That's the worst time to try to work out the problem of evil.

So I really wish people would think about this problem before tragedy hits so they aren't taken off guard when it does. And I wish they would teach these things to each other. And don't think just about things like, "How can there be a good God if there is torture and rape in the world?" Also ask yourself, "How can there be a good God if I or somebody I loved were tortured and raped?" After resolving the logical problem, ask yourself how your point of view ought to be any different if something awful happened to you. Once you have that worked out, then when you're in the situation, you're a lot less likely to become an atheist or a God-hater.

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