Giles Fraser says something that all too often gets overlooked:
But this much is obviously true: evil and suffering have outlived the loss of faith. Once we had God to blame. But now that God has gone (… other explanations are available …) we have no one left to blame but ourselves. Not for earthquakes, but certainly for the horror of war. Humanists now own the problem of evil. So why don’t humanists more often experience some sort of loss of faith in humanity? Where is their existential crisis? I may be wrong, but it seems to me like it’s a dog that doesn’t often bark.
Observing this is why, from childhood onward, I could never be a humanist. It’s also the reason why I could never join the “blame God” crowd. If people are so wonderful, how are all of these problems in the world possible? It’s why I never got into the theodicy trap that so many Evangelicals find themselves in, as I discuss in my piece If I Started the way @BartCampolo Did, I Wouldn’t Believe in God Either:
For me personally, it’s an entirely different ball game. If I had ever asked the question at home (and I can’t recall I ever did) “Why do bad things happen to good people,” the answer I probably would have gotten was, “So what? You just have to tough it out, and if you can’t, it’s too bad.” And, as I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog, the home I grew up in was anything but an “ideal” Christian home. The difference between the two is significant. While Campolo’s concept on the existence of evil focused on God, the one I was presented with focused on me…
But hurdle I did, first because God came to me, and second because I never saw in the Scriptures the idea that this world was going to be perfect, and that eternity was the most important goal and would overshadow the pains of this life. Eternal life was one the one thing that God could give me that the world could not. But perhaps that all was because I looked at the Scriptures informed by the secular framework I was raised in. The theodicy issue, such an obsession with so many, was never a big deal for me. If these humanists were such great people, why didn’t they solve the problem of evil in the world?
The Russians have an expression for someone whose plan hasn’t worked out very well by saying “It was their idea…” I’m sure there are many in Russia who are thinking this about Putin and the Ukraine war now that it hasn’t gone according to plan. But the humanists’ blame-shifting game needs the same characterisation: “It was their idea…”
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