The Problem of Evil (Or The Old Story of How God Loves Him Some Free Will)

Well, this is a post that I’ve been dreading doing for a long time, but I’m going to get something down here if it kills me. Here we go….

So, if there’s a god that really loves us then why is there so much evil in the world? The answer from believers, it seems, is always free will. If god gave us free will then he has to allow for not only good, but also bad. If this freedom weren’t allowed then it would not really be free will.

Fair enough. I understand the argument. What I’d like to do now is show why it’s a weak excuse for a god that allows such massive atrocity and devastation to visit individuals as well as massive groups of people.

It seems that god holds free will in such high regard that he’d rather a woman raped and killed or a child molested than intervene and stop the offender. The rapist is exercising his free will to rape and maim. It wouldn’t be free will if he wasn’t allowed to after all.

What always struck me was that nobody considers the free will of the victim. You know, their desire of not wanting to be raped and fighting back against their attacker? Does this not factor into god’s decision to intervene or not?

Imagine that you’re walking along a city street late at night and you take a turn down an alley. In the alley you see a man attacking a woman and it’s clear that he’s going to attempt to rape her. What would you do? Would you do like god does and just not intervene because you know….free will. He’s exercising his ability to rape. If god holds it in such high regard then maybe you should as well. Or would you help the woman and scare off the attacker?

I hope that any level headed person would attack the attacker or call for help in an attempt to stop the attack. If you agree that you’d stop the attack then I think it’s safe to say that you’ve more moral sense than god. Or maybe you just think you know better than your god?

If you think that god put you there to stop the rape I think you’re scapegoating the issue. If your god really were all powerful he could simply wipe that guy out or remove the sickness from his brain that makes him want to rape. Why would he even allow such an atrocity to take place? So that we can have a measurement of how evil people can be? So we can know good from bad?

There’s 2 good points in the bible where god shows he really doesn’t think so highly of free will after all. The first example is good old Pharaoh.┬áTurn with me if you will to Exodus 9:12:

“But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.” – NIV

This is a story that every kid knows inside and out if you’re raised in the church as I was. What this verse means is that god ultimately acted upon the Pharaoh to get the outcome he desired whether Pharaoh wanted to or not. Then, because god is ultimate justice, he punished the Pharaoh and Egypt for the choices the Pharaoh made that he may not have actually wanted to make. What?!

What justice is this? Would this ever pass in any court? If you were injected with a drug that made you not in control of your own actions, but made you obey the whims of the madman that gave you the drug, would any court punish the victim that was forced the drug? No. You punish the man administering the drug!

To me this is a clear violation of the Pharaoh’s free will followed by the extremely unjust punishment given to him for doing something he was forced to do.

Let’s say I gave you 50 bucks. I told you that it’s your 50 bucks and you can do whatever you want with it, but then I controlled what you did with it. Would it really be your 50 bucks? Or what if I let you spend it where you wanted and then punished you if you didn’t spend it how I saw fit? Would you really have been “free” to do with it what you want? Was it really a gift?

This analogy falls directly in line with god doing one of his most awesome acts of “check out my guns, man!” In case you haven’t guessed it yet I’m talking, of course, about the Great Flood.

God, being unhappy with the choices his creation has made, floods the earth and kills all men, women, children and babies (except for a few people that repopulate the earth through incest….again) because people weren’t doing what he wanted them to with their free will. Does this not seem like a contradiction? God gave us free will and then when we didn’t use it how he liked he killed us off. Stay classy, god!

One of the most outrageous crimes I’ve ever heard was the story of Elisabeth and Josef Fritzl. Josef Fritzl kept his daughter, Elisabeth, locked in the basement for 24 years and raped her almost nightly. She gave birth to 7 kids by him. 24 years?!

Can you imagine how much she cried out to god to help her? Sadly, god again seems only to care for the free will of the attackers or the strong. Does this not seem silly to anyone else?

Now imagine this happy scenario, say that a rape victim loses faith in god because of the horrible trauma they were forced to suffer. They can’t imagine why a god would allow such a thing to happen so they eventually reach the conclusion that there are no gods. She dies years later and goes to hell.

Meanwhile the rapist, having been caught and thrown in jail, finds Jesus and accepts him into his heart. When the rapist dies he goes to heaven.

This, to me, is the ultimate morally revolting idea of Christianity. That it’s not about what you do, but what you believe. The ultimate injustice carried out by a “loving” god that has shown he will intervene in free will, but only if it’s to further his glory.

I guess pedophiles, murderers and rapists are all just part of a larger plan that we’ll never comprehend to bring about some greater glory that we don’t have the mind to understand.

It’s a notion that I’ve gladly wrung my hands of.