Skeptics often cite some circumstance in the world to argue that God doesn’t, or likely doesn’t exist. Excessive poverty, hunger, and other evils are among the top complaints. They seem to think that God should provide solutions with no explanation of where this ideal comes from, it certainly doesn’t come from any holy writ.
What I mean is that I don’t know of any religion which boasts that people won’t experience hunger or suffering, or receive equal blessings, in fact many of them predict it. Why then would this be seen as a liability for the existence of God? How can it be a liability if no religions make the claim?
What about atrocities present in third-world countries? Have critics failed to consider a significant reason for it: third-world countries are overwhelmingly run under dictatorships, and not benevolent prosperity minded leaders. They are frighteningly oppressive. When financial and food aid is provided by nations like the United States, it is often confiscated by the government. Impoverished nations aren’t poor by chance or accident, they are poor by the will of their government.
I generally like to offer skeptics who protest the evil and suffering in the world a couple of things to consider. Humans generally suffer at the hands of other humans. Third-world poverty is inflicted on those people by their government. Rape victims suffer at the hand of the rapist, and the murdered by their murderer. This complaint against evil and suffering omits human freedom from the equation.
To the skeptic who replies: “Although we have free will, God supposedly is in control of what we do and plans for us to do what we do.” I must ask: How much of your freedom are you willing to relinquish to eliminate evil and suffering? Who decides how much suffering is too much? What is the right amount? How should it be reduced or eliminated? Where is the cut off, and how is that decided? Should God allow any evil or suffering? But what would that look like? If we are asking God to rid us of evil and suffering, we must use His definition of evil, not ours. Is the skeptic prepared for that? According to God’s standard, every white lie is evil. Every missed opportunity to do something good is evil.
We surely cannot separate the act from the actor. It is the heart of a man from which flows his actions. Have you lied? I have. How many times? People who lie are liars. Are liars good people? Ever said something hateful or felt hatred for a person? Is hate good; do good people hate? When you ask God to eliminate evil from the world, take a step back and contemplate where that might leave you. We need to think carefully about the things we ask God to correct. Evil is more than “more evil than me”. We cannot overlook our own evil when making this objection, we all are part of the problem. Remember, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it, and may not like it when you do.