problem of suffering, and God - a loving God can still exist
Debate Rounds (3)
i admit this is a tough philosophical problem.
here are some ways i reconcile this with a loving God:
-first, it's important to note that i do not argue that we are being punished for being sinful, as some traditionally argue.
1. we are born in the condition where we belong. we are sinful, by our nature, so we only have so much of his nature to sustain us. without all of it, there are problems, including pain. we are imperfect pictures. we can will ourselves in God's light and move on into a better picture.
2. for the least innocent, it might be seen as maybe permissible to allow pain. but for the most innocent, how could God allow that? id argue that if they were so great, they would want to be put into an existence with the possiblity of pain, so they could spread the news of God's love and help bring the problems to an end.
this doesn't really address extreme situations, that's in the next point.
3. if you were to ask almost anyone, would they rather never live or live a somewhat pained life, almost everyone would say live anyway. there is an extremely small fraction that would say never live, especially for extreme situtations of suffering. but i could only chaulk that up to demonstrating that we are put here to conincide with the level of God's light in us. without it all, we have problems, and pain.
4. if you look into physics, there are theories that say our life is fleeting, and in reality could be seen to have occurred in the blink of an eye. i've looked into the theories and it makes sense, if the theories are true. this points out that it's almost a dream, that our life may be pained, but it's really of extremely little consequence in the bigger picture. this is my weakest argument, cause it is still of some consequence.
i concede my biggest weakness is that God even allows any of this stuff to begin with. which is why i still struggle with the point. but, God can only allow for what coincides with our inherent nature and free will decisions.
I would like to thank my opponent for proposing this debate.
I will begin by addressing your four points.
You claim that we are born in the condition where we belong. You claim that we are sinful, by nature, and we can will ourselves to become morally good and responsible.
However, I fail to understand how one can deserve to be born with a fatal disease and die at a young age. What would a child do to deserve such a tragic existence? And what forgiving, loving God would will such a life into existence?
"If they were so great, they would want to be put into an existence with the possibility of pain, so they could spread the news of God's love and help bring the problems to an end."
But why would God force such an individual into a painful existence? If he/she is to be of an innocent and kind nature, God could simply let him/her live a peaceful life, could He not?
If you were to ask me, I would rather not live than live in suffering. For years, I struggled with an anxiety disorder, during which I believed that I would rather die than live like that for the rest of my life.
But anecdotal evidence is not sufficient. We can quantify how many would truly live a pained life. For example, many people develop mental disorders throughout the course of their lifetime. Between 20% and 25% of all adults have, at one point in their lives, suffered from major depressive disorder . Of those, over 1 in 10 will commit suicide . In addition, even chronic back pain was correlated with a 13 percent increased risk of committing suicide .
I am familiar with these theoretical speculations (they are not theories in the scientific meaning of the word). The speculations refer to objective reality, the scale of the universe, and the concept of time. What these scientists are saying, is that the universe is so vast that the existence of a life is insignificant. Some hypotheses claim that time travels at the speed of light, in which case processing of the environment at a certain rate (as humans do) is what makes a minute feel longer than an instant.
Essentially these speculations could be used against your argument of a caring God, for life is of such little consequence in this universe that God has no reason to care / no reason to create a universe with the time-scale it has.
My main argument is that God's primitive form of punishment and reward is not consistent. God allows manipulative, dishonest bankers to live extremely luxurious lives while innocent Christian children in Liberia have trouble getting an education. I think you would agree that God has the ability to make things better for the innocent now, instead of waiting for the afterlife to punish and reward.
Therefore, God, assuming He exists, does not care about the human race due to the extent of suffering among innocents, and luxury and happiness among morally reprehensible people.
2. we do not know if that person was forced or not. they could have chose. and in any case, if they are as great as one might think, they would want to be able to spread the good news and reduce suffering. if they didnt want that, maybe their worth isn't as worth noting.
3. most people wouldn't want to not live instead. some might rather not live, as you indicated. as suggested, those who live despite their wishes, can benefit from this life, and again these situations highlight that God's light only can reflect as much as our nature allows, and we for the most part have limited nature, and light, and thus pain etc.
4. everything can have significance to God even if on a greater scale it is of little worth.
Unspired forfeited this round.
What nature does a baby have, that would deserve it a life of suffering? The problem is, God is all-powerful. He has control over this.
Again, God is all-powerful. This means that if God offers only a painful life, it is God's malevolence or lack of caring that would then lead to such a life. And who said God is good news? That's actually the thing we're debating.
It doesn't seem to me that a child being born at the wrong place in the wrong time to the wrong parents is at all the child's fault. In any case, God is God. He should have the ability to reduce 870 million starving people  to zero. But He doesn't. Regardless of your circumstances, I find that cruel.
"our life may be pained, but it's really of extremely little consequence in the bigger picture" (round 1)
"everything can have significance to God even if on a greater scale it is of little worth" (round 2)
If lives are significant, then God should not make innocent people suffer. If lives are insignificant, God should not have reason to care.
Whether God cares, or doesn't care, whether He exists; they're all questions that can't really be proven either way. But what we know for sure is that God isn't doing anything about humans. So I guess you could say God doesn't exist, at least in the way the holy books mention.
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