When pressed with the question of why God allows evil, most religious people will point to free will. Why didn’t God stop this murder? Because that would be interfering with free will. However, what about all the times God is praised for doing exactly that? For implicitly interfering with free will? A single survivor is found after a suicide bombing; “praise God for saving him!” A bullet just misses a man’s heart and he survives; “praise God for guiding the bullet!” A policeman happens to walk past an attempted rape and stops it; “Praise God for leading him to her!” If saving one person does not interfere with a bomber’s free will, why not save more? If guiding a bullet to save a man does not interfere with the shooter’s free will, why not deflect all bullets? If positioning a policeman to stop a rape does not interfere with the rapist’s free will then why not do that with all rapes? If a man can be ‘led’ by God to prevent a crime, could not the criminal be ‘led’ to never committing it? Throughout this, a simple fact remains; those who praise God for giving us free will are often the very same who praise God when he takes it away.
Maybe though you don’t believe God is responsible for these actions, maybe you believe these acts are due to either random chance, or the actions of other humans. However, if the avoidance of evil is the result of people’s actions rather than God’s, then surely these people are interfering with each other’s free will? If interfering with free will is so terrible that even God must not do it, then who are we to attempt fix evils that God chooses to permit? And if God is not affecting the outcome of these tragedies then what do you believe God does? If you don’t believe God ever intervenes with humanity what stops you from believing that God has abandoned us completely?
Ultimately we are left with a simple decision; either God is able and willing to affect free will, but chooses not to in many instances, or God truly does not affect free will and has never answered a single prayer or performed a single miracle.
1) Excellent, as always, whyilostmyfaith 2) I had a very similar discussion with an apologist and his “answer” was, of course, that we cannot know why God does what He does but he trusts His plan. And the fact that humans do atrocious things makes it apparent that we can’t put our faith in humans, we have to put our faith in God. I responded that if “God’s Plan” involves rape and murder, then He must be evil and not worthy of worship… but I wonder if you (or anyone else out there!) had any additional thoughts?
As a side note, I always find it a little odd to discuss an imaginary friend’s “will” and “plan,” but I do try to meet people where they are at as well. ~JJ