The Pandemic Disproves God? – There is a Better Question


 

The good folk over at the Secular Web have published a short blog in its Kiosk section entitled “The Pandemic Disproves God.” The article, written by a someone named James A. Haught, makes unsupported assertions that the God’s cannot actually exist because the coronavirus exists. While I expect most Christian apologists would see through this charade quite quickly, I wondered why he is choosing such a non-event as the coronavirus to prove his proposition. 

After some introductory questions that the author, James A Haught, apparently believes would create problems for Christians, he writes: 

The pandemic gripping the world raises the age-old philosophical dilemma called "the problem of evil"—which asks why a supposedly all-loving God does nothing to stop horrors like diseases, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the like. If there's an all-merciful father-creator, why did he make breast cancer, childhood leukemia, cerebral palsy, natural disasters, and predator animals that rip peaceful grazers apart? 

Ever since ancient Greece, priests and theologians have been flummoxed, unable to answer this enigma. In fact, a whole field of argument called theodicy arose in a futile attempt to solve it. 

I think theodicy should be called "the idiocy" because there's only one possible explanation, which is obvious to intelligent, scientific-minded people: The all-loving God proclaimed by churches cannot exist. Logic doesn't exclude a cruel God, but it precludes a merciful one.

The argument against God’s existence from evil has been refuted many, many times and I don’t intend to respond to every possible objection to the problem in this single blogpost. If you are truly interested in studying the argument from evil, you can search “the Argument from Evil” in this blog or on any search engine generally and find reams of articles that make the argument why the argument from evil is not the “kill shot” against Biblical theism that atheists pretend. Certainly, the dismissal of the theodicy as “the idiocy” by some Internet atheist does not mean that it has failed as a valid, sound response to the problem of evil. 

Of course, I recognize that this author’s use of the pandemic is really just a tool for raising the problem of evil. Since as long as I have been interested in apologetics, every major disaster is used as proof of God’s non-existence. “How can a loving God allow [fill in the disaster du jour]?” e.g., “How can a loving God allow the attacks on the World Trade Center?” or “How can a loving God allow Hurricane Katrina?” It’s as if these types of things make God’s existence impossible. 

But in my view, these are the lesser “evils” atheists could attribute to God. I mean, let’s consider how the coronavirus isn’t the biggest “evil” that atheists could point to as proof of God’s non-existence.

First, when I called it a non-event, I wasn’t suggesting that the coronavirus isn’t real. It is real, and it has been seen as either the cause or the contributing factor in a large number of deaths. Undeniably, the number of people who have died of coronavirus is just south of 1,000,000 at the time of this writing. That’s a lot of people. And it is certainly appropriate to ask, “Wouldn’t a loving God stop that?” 

But even at 1,000,000 deaths, the coronavirus is something of a non-event statistically speaking. With a world population of 7,800,000,000, the 1,000,000 reported deaths from this virus is a mere .000128% of the total world population. Is this a large enough number to claim that a loving God could not coexist with that number of deaths? 

But why not ask this: “How can a loving God allow every living human being on the planet to die?” That seems to me to be the much bigger disaster or “evil”. After all, every single person is 99.999872% higher than the number of people who have died of coronavirus, isn’t it? And that’s only counting the people who are alive right now. How many trillions of people has God allowed to die over the earth’s history? Isn’t that a much worse evil if the number that concerns us is the number of deaths?  

I expect that the reason is the shock value. Disasters cause lots of people to die at one time which shocks us. But each and every one of those people will die regardless – they just wouldn’t ordinarily die in such a large, identifiable grouping. But without these disasters, the fact that about 0.8% of people die every year (approximately 62.4 million people) pass unnoticed. 

But it is a legitimate question not to ask how an all-powerful, good God would allow a pandemic, but rather how an omnipotent, good God would allow anyone to die. While the latter lacks the shock value of the former, it is a question worth asking. Fortunately, the Bible answers this question, but the Bible answer to this question is not as important as the better question that is also answered: “Is there a way around this death?” The Bible answers that question quite clearly: you may die physically, but you can live forever in eternal Glory with God as his child. All you need to do is accept his gift of salvation. This is why Paul can say, 

8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” (Philippians 3:8-9)

And this answer makes the initial question of “why does he allow it to happen” to be reduced to little more than an interesting side question.

Comments

Anonymous said…
BK: I expect that the reason is the shock value. Disasters cause lots of people to die at one time which shocks us. But each and every one of those people will die regardless – they just wouldn’t ordinarily die in such a large, identifiable grouping.

COVID-19 is just a useful example. The exact same argument applies to cancer. How can a loving, all-powerful God allow kids to get cancer?

BK: But it is a legitimate question not to ask how an all-powerful, good God would allow a pandemic, but rather how an omnipotent, good God would allow anyone to die. While the latter lacks the shock value of the former, it is a question worth asking. Fortunately, the Bible answers this question...

It is a shame you give no hint what that answer is or where to find it.

As far as I can tell from your post, the answer is "Jam tomorrow".

And the problem for atheists is that that looks exactly the same as God not existing.

Scenario 1: God exists, but does not bother to lift a finger to prevent suffering in this life because he offers paradise (to a minority) after you die

Scenario 2: God does not exist

In both cases what we expect to see is people suffering. So why should I think the former is true?

Pix
Excellent post BK. i am glad to se you post again, thanks!

Atheists see, always ready to take the cheap shot.
BK: But it is a legitimate question not to ask how an all-powerful, good God would allow a pandemic, but rather how an omnipotent, good God would allow anyone to die. While the latter lacks the shock value of the former, it is a question worth asking. Fortunately, the Bible answers this question...

It is a shame you give no hint what that answer is or where to find it.

As far as I can tell from your post, the answer is "Jam tomorrow".


He redefines the question. His answer really answers both questions.

And the problem for atheists is that that looks exactly the same as God not existing.

"a man only sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest," Paul Simon, "the Boxer."

Scenario 1: God exists, but does not bother to lift a finger to prevent suffering in this life because he offers paradise (to a minority) after you die

Obviously a lie. I am a Christian today because he did lift a finger
BK is there a way to set it so you don;t have to add page breaks to posts?
BK said…
Pix said, "How can a loving, all-powerful God allow kids to get cancer?" I said in my post, "I don’t intend to respond to every possible objection to the problem in this single blogpost."

Pix said, "It is a shame you give no hint what that answer is or where to find it." Me: I assume a rudimentary knowledge of the Bible in this post. I guess you don't have that. Sorry.

Your two scenarios ignore the answers that have been given for centuries. But I point again to what I said in the blogpost: "If you are truly interested in studying the argument from evil, you can search “the Argument from Evil” in this blog or on any search engine generally and find reams of articles that make the argument why the argument from evil is not the “kill shot” against Biblical theism that atheists pretend."
BK said…
Joe, I don't know what you are talking about. Sorry.
when I wright in this blog now I have to ad
after ever line or it all runs together.
I have to br in greater than/lesser than brackets

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