Is Evil a Problem? (2)

Last time I left you off with something like this -- The problem is what to do about pain. See: the common argument here -- which Loftus plainly uses to dismiss God -- is that all pain ought to be stopped whenever possible. A universe with suffering in it precludes the Christian God (he says), so the onus is now on John or anyone else who sees pain to stop pain. If that's what we ought to expect from God to the place where we are ready to dismiss God from our philosophy, we have to at least hold ourselves up to that standard. We want an omnipotent God to preclude our suffering, so we should at least think we can use our own limited means to stop the suffering of those we meet.

Well, Loftus couldn't resist commenting on these posts because we're talking about him, and he made one decent clarification before I banned him. Loftus doesn't think all suffering ought to make us disbelieve God: he thinks that only radical suffering out to make us disbelieve God.

BTW, I banned him not because he violated the comics code: I banned him because he had received an invitation to talk about these matters one-on-one at D-Blog, and he declined. Coming here to talk about them now is, frankly, capricious -- and this is a serious subject.

He said it like this:
No, what I am focusing on is the intensive physical and mental pain that breaks people down to the point where some of them cannot take living in this world anymore.
Which is an interesting yardstick, is it not? For Loftus, if life just had bruises and bumps (he says), we couldn't put God on the hook for that. (someday it'd be interesting to find out why) But because some people have pain which causes them to want to die, or ought to cause them to want to die, we have evidence that there is no God -- because a sufficiently "good" and "powerful" and "aware" God would never let such a thing happen.

Well, I have two thoughts on that view, one of which came up in 2006 talking about for example, that girl, as compared to Brian Flemming. My second thought is this: I think it is remarkable that Loftus wants to use a threshold for pain in order to talk about divine compassion.

Here's what I mean: this last week, our government passed a law -- for good or ill, so no wandering off-topic in the meta -- which is going to pay out $700 billion to the banking industry in order to buy off bad debts and restabilize their capital base so the rest of our economy can do things like borrow money to buy raw materials to build things. In theory, (and I saw Warren Buffet tell Charlie Rose this this week, so let's not get too weird here) $700 billion in defaulted mortgages is a very bad thing as suddenly banks will have overvalued properties instead of revenue streams and their ability to trade in money will be severely impaired.

Now, nobody jumped out of windows on Wall Street in the last two weeks, did they? So maybe $700 billion in economic distress spread out over 300 million people and arbitrated by the federal government isn't really that much pain. But it seems to me that $700 billion should show up on the radar. $700 billion is 5% of the GDP for the US, and 25% of the Federal Budget. It seems big, and as a things go, it's a problem, so I think it's a "big problem".

But by Loftus' definition, if the banking industry needs a $700 billion bail-out check, but nobody feels suicidal over it, it's not really part of the problem of evil: it's just a bump in the road. It's just a business decision -- even if it's a business-of-government decision.

So let me say it here plainly as this was my first thesis I wanted to D-Blog with Loftus: All flavors of atheism leave man philosophically unequipped to resolve the problem of evil.

I will explain that further on another day. Until then, be with the Lord's people on the Lord's day in the Lord's house, even if you are in a different town than you are usually found. Find somebody to love.