It’s a question that’s been asked time and time again.
Peter Singer takes the common responses and rebuts them in The Guardian (UK):
Christians usually respond that God bestowed on us the gift of free will, and hence is not responsible for the evil we do. But this reply fails to deal with the suffering of those who drown in floods, are burned alive in forest fires caused by lightning, or die of hunger or thirst during a drought.
Christians sometimes attempt to explain this suffering by saying that all humans are sinners, and so deserve their fate, even if it is a horrible one. But infants and small children are just as likely to suffer and die in natural disasters as adults, and it seems impossible that they could deserve to suffer and die.
Once again, some Christians say that we have all inherited the original sin committed by Eve, who defied God’s decree against eating from the tree of knowledge. This is a triply repellent idea, for it implies that knowledge is bad, disobeying God’s will is the greatest sin of all, and children inherit the sins of their ancestors, and may justly be punished for them.
Even if were to accept all this, the problem remains unresolved. For animals also suffer from floods, fires, and droughts, and, since they are not descended from Adam and Eve, they cannot have inherited original sin.
And, for good measure, Dinesh D’Souza must be taken down a few notches:
Next, D’Souza argued that since God gave us life, we are not in a position to complain if our life is not perfect. He used the example of a child born with one limb missing. If life itself is a gift, he said, we are not wronged by being given less than we might want. In response I pointed out that we condemn mothers who cause harm to their babies by using alcohol or cocaine when pregnant. Yet since they have given life to their children, it seems that, on D’Souza’s view, there is nothing wrong with what they have done.
Are there any arguments for why God allows suffering that you have not been able to respond back to?
For anyone who’d like to play Devil’s Advocate, where is Singer wrong in his rebuttals?
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