People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Religion condones innocent suffering for it wants to honour God even if he is bad
 
Many wonder how some people have great devotion to God when God seems to stand by while innocents suffer terribly. People will find it disturbing when the devout will pray and worship this God when their lives are opulent and comfortable. It is vulgar to ask for good medical care and money and happiness for yourself while you agree with God letting others suffer.
 
Suffering is unique to each person and who are you to say that somebody's suffering is a blessing in the big picture? You cannot say it about your own suffering either for you will never know how much those who care for you are made to suffer because of your suffering.
 
Why do they do it?
 
Is it because they are conditioned to? Religion has the power to make many people irrational and prejudiced. To say God is right to let suffering happen and to say it out of prejudice or because your mind has been warped by religion is to condone. True compassion requires that you have the faculties to be entirely realistic and fair.
 
Are religious people willing to overlook or water down the evils that happen to others so that they can please their God and call him perfect?
 
Is it because they don't care enough?
 
All these are terrible. If God wants you to love his scary plan then he is degrading you. And if you would condone him doing that you would condone anything.
 
Some say that all the suffering in the world does not put God on trial but puts his compassion on trial. But a being with godly powers who is not all good is not really a God but a defective being. By definition, God is that which is absolute love. God might be creator but the creator might not be God as in a good being. It might just be a being that is all.
 
We are not asking in this essay if faith in God is just a way of making oneself feel better about the terrible things that happen to others or if they adore God because they don't really care. We are asking if God makes you condone or take an unethical risk and risk condoning evil for the sake of religion. So we are talking about the principle not about feelings from now on.
 
THE "IF"
 
Hypothetical scenarios are good for working out what kind of person you are. If you would kill for money you are bad no matter how much good you do. The good is like snow over a manure heap.
 
You have a choice.
 
It is between praising God for evil (as in doing it or letting it happen - there is no moral difference for the reason that a woman who wants her husband dead and does nothing when a lunatic comes in and cuts his throat is effectively murdering him through somebody else) or not believing. Religion says God alone matters so it would follow that you should praise him for the evil. It is the only choice you have.
 
Whether they realise it or not, believers in God have made their choice. 

IT MATTERS
 
God is said to detest our evil and how we suffer for he loves us. Yet he lets these things happen. Is this a contradiction?
 
If it is, then God is not very powerful, or he is not all-good or he does not exist.
 
If there is no God we still worship. What do we worship? We worship blind indifferent nature and hail its activities as those of God. That would be as warped and sick as worshipping a pile of bricks that fall on you and injure you.
 
So to say God has a purpose that forces him to put up with our evil and suffering is therefore very very serious matter. If there is no all-good God then evil and suffering are inexcusable. You don't want to risk excusing the excusable. You don't want to be saying there is a purpose for evil when it is useless. You need proof that God and evil do not contradict each other. You need solid and strong evidence.
 
The believer worships God though there is terrible suffering in the world.
 
The believer may worship in spite of evil. Is God forced to tolerate evil? That is not much of a God! If evil is that strong surely you are better fighting it instead of worshipping God if it has to be one or the other! If fighting evil comes first then God does not come first. God is not God or allowed to be. Believers say that he lets evil happen for he has a good plan and stomaching evil is involved in implementing it. So God seems to freely let evil happen.
 
The believer may worship because of evil. This implies that God is right to let evil happen. It implies that you are happy that God is vindictive and cold as long as it is towards others. You don't care about suffering babies much if at all.
 
The believer may worship because of a mixture of both. Or they can jump to and from many times in the one day.
 
You never really know if the believer really abhors human suffering. They might not care or be vindictive or selfish. Their devotion to God could be a reflection of their disgusting nod to evil.
 
If you look at history, you see how vicious man is in his actions and the huge sacrifices he makes to do evil. Imagine what he could be like inside even if he never shows it! Man is perfectly capable of deliberately worshipping God for being evil towards others. It is more likely for him to nurture his bad side that way than for him to kill and maim.
 
The notion of a God who has a plan that is vague to us does not help our moral codes. There are people who use that notion to argue that immoral things such as pious fraud, tax fraud, hitting children or even adultery are not sins or at least if they are they are not that bad for they do some good. Both the religious terrorist and the Catholic saint take comfort in thinking God has included them in his plan.
 
WHAT'S THE HARM?
 
Religious people when told, "Your God did nothing to help those sick and dying children". They will reply, "He did. For example, one child was cured. Another had a peaceful death and is now with God." Or they will reply, "What did you do about it? Nothing! So don't talk about God!!"
 
But they are saying God helped though there is no evidence. They are merely assuming. If there were no God, a child could still get better. They are saying something very serious without appealing to evidence. No God that would respect your logic and your power to consider evidence would encourage or allow that.
 
Unless you have solid evidence as to why God lets evil happen you are doing harm by worshipping him. You are doing harm in principle which means you might never know how much harm you have done.
 
You feel better about your own suffering if you can think of a way to justify it. Battered wives do that. When you manage that it is a baby step to start justifying the terrible things that happen to other people that God is not stopping.
 
It is easier to feel all right about the suffering of others who are not related to you.
 
To say that evil is part of God's plan to do away with evil denies that any evil is excessive or useless. It risks seeing evil as less evil than what it is. You make out that evil is okay as long as it is not going to be permanent or that God is right to tolerate evil as long as he will be intolerant of it one day. You are taking a risk by saying God has a plan for evil and suffering. You cannot know if the risk is worth it. If it is worth it for you and makes you feel good that does not make it right. It is not about how you feel. It is cruel to make out that it is. It is about say the little babies that are tormented by mechanical and unfeeling nature that you want to dress up as God. You have no right to use their pain and suffering and deaths as a means for you to feel better, even a little, about evil.
 
You risk condoning the actions of an evil spirit or mistaking cruel ruthless nature for a benevolent power. You don't really know what you are condoning but you are condoning something. Even if God is unlikely to be an evil spirit you know he could be and by worshipping you risk worshipping evil. Also, you could feel there is somebody living in your heart but even if there is a God how do you know it is him? Maybe it is a crafty spirit. Taking the risk is indirectly and deliberately invoking and adoring that evil. The risk is bad because you don't want to wittingly or unwittingly endorse evil and suffering. It is the principle.
 
Also, if there is no God at all and if there is no supernatural help available then we need to know. Giving false hope insults the person it is meant to help and puts them at risk of finding out the harsh truth. Giving false hope is really about you trying to feel you are helping - you want to feel you help and really helping is not important to you. If you think God is going to help your depression and there is no God but only cruel ruthless nature you could be in for a devastating let down. If there is no God there are no guarantees that faith in him is going to be useful for many people for much of the time. If you depend on a fictitious God to help, you will find out the truth. The crutch will break.
 
If you are in the lowest abyss of depression somebody telling you they are praying to help you and that God is with you is proving they do not understand you. You feel totally abandoned and the religious person will only seem to be rubbing it in. People telling you that when God does nothing about your suffering it is okay as long as he is with you and present with you and loving you is not helping you but telling you that no matter how awful you feel that it is having God that counts. That is not what a really compassionate person would say. People want to hear that you want to take their suffering from them and would force God to remove it if you could. People do not come second to your faith in God.
 
THE INEVITABILITY ARGUMENT
 
If God has to stand by as people suffer and that is for a purpose that makes it right or okay is a necessary evil. Nobody denies that it would be. But we must remember that if something is a necessary evil you have to prove it is. That is what a necessary evil is - an unavoidable one. 
 
God has to prove it is a necessary evil to us. We cannot prove it for him. Belief and opinions are out. Proof is in.
 
If there is no God then we have no right to condone the necessary evil of suffering for it is not a necessary evil. If there is a big chance that there is no God we have no right to risk it.
 
The attitude: "I permit the evil that cannot be stopped for it is God's will" cannot be justified on the pretext, "Evil is going to happen anyway so why not have an attitude of permission towards it? It makes no difference anyhow." That is saying that evil is going to happen anyway so you may as well be okay with it. It's inevitability is not even the point and there is a heartlessness in trying to make it the point.
 
People believe in God for they think it serves some use in a terrible world. The prime mover is the notion that evil will come so we are better to accept it. Atheists can be guilty of condoning evil that way too.
 
But it is evil. It is bad enough for an atheist to do it but for anybody to say God stands for doing it and God is good is just heaping too much praise and dignity on it. It is bad to glorify evil.
 
Muslims say we upset ourselves and worsen our suffering when we complain and moan about it instead of just accepting it as the will of God. Many Christians say that too. But if God allows evil and it is his will, it makes no sense to order people not to moan. What if the moaning is also part of God's will? It would be callous to say that a person should be tormented by cancer and not complain about it. It is making the evil of complaining worse than the cancer!
 
The believers who say we must accept what cannot be changed as the will of God are encouraging us to trust in God. If trust in God drives you to battle suffering and go among the innocent who endure horrible lives fraught with agony and danger it seems to be a good thing. But is this an argument for trust or artificial trust? Many people mistake the force of habit for trust. It is artificial trust for realistically terrible things can and do happen and they are not immune. The believer if she knows awful things can happen to her seems to view it in a detached way where it does not seem real. Real trust thrives on seeing reality.

INTRINSIC EVIL'S ELEMENT OF INTRINSIC GOOD
 
If evil is a form of good and is good in the wrong place at the wrong time then it is inevitable that some good can come of it. But if you believe in God you believe that God works to bring more good out of it that would not happen without his intervention.
 
This view means you will not take evil that seriously.
 
If you do take it seriously, that will not last long.
 
If you do take it seriously, then if you are doing so in spite of your faith then you need to dump your faith in God.
 
And you risk seeing the good that was to happen anyway as the work of God. You will never know what was intervention and what was the natural consequence.
 
You don’t want to mistake the natural consequence for God’s intervention and his taking control of the mess. Why?

It means that you mistake what is not evidence for God as evidence.
 
You risk dimming your understanding of how terrible what is happening is. That is a reduction of compassion and empathy.
 
Evil has a good side in so far as it is good that is mistaken for proper good. The good in evil is intrinsic.
 
The good that follows evil is extrinsic.
 
The good that is intrinsic and has to happen is the good that is mistaken for God working to bring good out of the evil. God working on evil to bring good out of it is nonsense. If selfish Joan gets kinder because she has suffered a car crash and this kindness is not intrinsic, then rather than God bringing good out of what happened to her he in fact created a brand new good. The kindness following the crash does not mean the kindness was in any way caused by the crash. Not all things that look like causes actually are.
 
To say then that the good that is intrinsic is not as important as the extrinsic good makes no sense. If you really believe evil is part of God's loving plan then you have to praise the good in the evil right now instead of waiting to see its allegedly good consequences. It is bad enough to look at them and say the evil was God's plan. But it is worse to say that BEFORE any good results arise!
 
WHAT ABOUT GOD'S RESPONSIBILITY - NEVER MIND OURS!
 
If God is the source of all things, then he is ultimately responsible for all that happens. He is responsible if a baby is hurt by a man for he is the one that lets the man use his free will and gives him the free will. If I have magic power and my child has no free will unless I supply him the power to exercise free will, I am far more responsible than he is if he commits murder under my watch. It makes no sense to say that God gives us responsibility for what we do and that is why we can sin and abuse each other. What about his responsibility? That has to come first for God by definition is that which deserves complete love and service and obedience and he has to respect himself and only respect others for his own sake. As our creator he is more responsible for the evil we do than we are.
 
Evil always has some good mixed through it. When you thump your friend to steal his bread when you are starving on a desert island, you are getting the bread and that is good. But this good is what makes the evil bad. It does not make the evil partly justifiable. It is bad because you are taking good and turning it to a vile purpose. Believers in God are in fact ignoring this principle when it comes to God. They look at the good part of the evil and then declare it justified and agreeable with the idea of an all-good God. They are consoled by the good they see in the evil and that is sick and is condoning the evil. It is showing polite disrespect to the victims. They take the good as evidence that the evil is being overcome for the sake of a better purpose. That is only a guess. Guessing that the evil is happening for a greater good is not something you have the right to guess about. Guessing trivialises the evil. Unless you are battling hard against the evil and sacrificing all for God you are trivialising it.
 
If you impute responsibility for evil to any person or a god or God then you must have sound well-supported and sensible reasons for doing so. And even more so when saying God is the cause of our free will means he is more responsible for evil than we could ever be! Faith that your father was indeed a child-abuse enabler is wrong even if there is some evidence that he was and even if he was. The evidence has to be really good. You are no better than a false accuser without it. You could accuse your father falsely and yet condone what you say he has done. That is a way of being nastily nice. Believers are nastily nice when they praise God. They are desensitised to the horrors and cruelty in the human not to mention the animal world! If atheists are not much better, at least they are not desensitising themselves for the sake of a God who may not exist!

 

ACCEPTANCE HAS ITS LIMITS

 

Self-compassion involves acceptance of what you cannot change.

Accepting things that you can do nothing about, accepting them as they are, does not mean you have given up or given in. You are only realising you can do nothing and refusing to let that upset you or consume you.

Acceptance can be about accepting the unfair things that happen to you.  Or to others.  Or both.

Accepting what happens to you is one thing. But do you really have the right to judge that when others suffer there is nothing more you can do? Surely some things are so terrible that acceptance is inappropriate?

Human nature cannot and does not accept everything.

That in essence involves a refusal to accept that God is right to let it happen suppose there is a God.

Faith in God involves accepting all that allegedly comes from God.  Faith in God is a vile insult to those who refuse to accept all.

NO RIGHT TO EXCUSE GOD
 
If some being with power greater than ours exists, it should not let babies be tortured to death. No ifs or buts. It is not the kind of thing that you try to make excuses for. It is not the kind of thing you try to find reasons for. You assume there are no reasons. That is what you will assume if you understand what decency means. Assuming anything different says a lot about you and it is not good.
 
If somebody sees a baby in agony for weeks and is unable to help, can we blame that person for saying, "I hate you God. How dare you let this happen to that baby! How dare you create the illness that ravages her! You bastard!" Those who object will say he is insulting God and that is terrible. But why is it terrible? If there is a God, what matters? Following him for his own sake or having him for his support meaning we come first? If we come first, God should be blasphemed. It is not right to condemn a person over God. God by definition is that which should never be criticised.
 
When believers seem to believe in divine magic, why don't they believe that anger when a baby is killed by their God helps make changes at least in God? Anger is about wanting change and wanting it fast. Why is there no magic power attributed to anger?
 
Who is the better person? This person who rages against God for the sake of the baby? Or the placid person who says, "It is God's will." The person who really cares is the best. If you have to rage against God or say it is God's will and it has to be one or the other then rage against God. If man was doing terrible things to the baby you would see the rage as justified and worthwhile though unpleasant so why does God get a free pass?
 
Perhaps the placid person who says that evil and God are compatible will try to deal with the evil of condoning divine evil by battling to help others. Is it about silencing the stinging conscience or is it about doing good in order to brainwash oneself to believe that evil is compatible with divine love and that God's role in evil should be praised? Either way you are trying to saturate your life with good works to silence what the evil says about God. But that does not make the condoning right or good. Also, your gospel will certainly inspire the brigade who think "God is right to let people suffer. It happens to other people not us anyway." We all tend to think that misfortune and disaster is for others not us and religious faith can thrive on that arrogant and distasteful attitude.
 
Some feel that believers who go to great lengths to save others from suffering show us the power of God and answer the problem of evil. They are seen as showing how evil is to be handled even if the connection between God and evil is unexplained, inexplicable or mysterious. But that argument is humanistic and therefore blasphemes the doctrine that God alone is to be loved - we are to see God as God instead of merely trying to see him in the goodness of others. See God as God and then see him in the goodness of others. You don't want to imagine that the goodness of others somehow is God!
 
Religious people have nothing to say when we accuse them of trying to cope with evil by identifying with it and praising it when God does it. And many of them cope easily for they don't really care! As for their denying it, they would deny it anyway. Even if it is true that God is justified in allowing evil, it does not follow that those who believe care much if it is really justified.
 
When belief in God is toxic, though it does not always look it, any believer who says they suffer to see others suffer is a liar.  Excuses for God letting dreadful things happen make the excuses more important than God. An excuse is always selfish.  For example, if you say babies dying terribly as a result of a virus made by God is somehow needed and necessary your excuse will be that it is for a good justifiable purpose. What matters to you here? A way to keep believing in God or to tell yourself that the dreadful stuff is not so bad after all? You know the reply.