Everyone: I wanted to outline all the arguments that I've seen thus far.
Why does God allow millions of innocent children to die every year?
1) There is some reason, but it's unknown. God is good, and we refuse to accept the conclusion that there is no purpose, so we claim there is one. It is unknown, invisible. In fact, we can't even conceive of an explanation. So it's not like there are a few candidates and we're not sure - we can't even come up with an answer. This, to me, seems like the weakest answer one could ever give for anything, if that makes sense to you all.
That's because you don't accept Revelation. If Jesus showed up in your home, in such a way that you could no longer deny His divinity and God's Revelation, explanations such as these make quite good sense. It would, in fact , be the most certain thing you knew. If you are trying to understand Christianity your arguments just can't ignore basic Christian assumptions.
2) Heaven makes all the suffering of innocents okay. It erases the past. This doesn't make sense to me either. If I tortured you for years, and then gave you medications to erase your memory, millions of dollars and a lifetime of happiness, it wouldn't erase the horrible torture that was done. This is analogous to God. If this is your theodicy, you are claiming that God looks past these millions of people every year who are experiencing real suffering, and says, hey, you *might* get a reward later. But this can't make up for it.
Why not? There are no scales that can balance temporal pleasures and pain and our eternal fates.
3) Evil doesn't exist? Or suffering doesn't exist? I don't understand this defence. You can define evil however you want, but the challenge remains. Explain why 27,000 children will die today and why your God 1) will not intervene, 2) cannot intervene, in which he is 1) not omni-benevolent, or 2) not omni-potent.
Do Christians deny suffering? Please try to keep up. As you enter a Catholic Church your attention is drawn to a representation of God being tortured to death. The notion of evil as a privation of good is a theological/philosophical one which likely doesn't mean much to the average Catholic like myself although I am glad to know there are great minds who have explained the faith through the use of metaphysics. I know evil is not created by God and thus merely a privation of good because I accept Revelation. If I was St. Thomas I would understand it better.
If you're going to criticize the argument Epicurus presents and deem it uncompelling, please explain which premises are incorrect, and why. Above represents my attempt to classify the 3 arguments provided so far by those of you kind enough to respond to my question.
Notably, you offer different versions, which are not necessarily compatible. This, in itself, is interesting, and perhaps a problem. Do you ever worry about this problem of suffering? Or does it seem obvious to you that 1), or that 2)?
The Holocaust was probably when I realized, as a child, that there was no loving, theistic God. Somehow, all of you were able to move past this. Which of the above did you appeal to, and and what age? Was it hard to reach this conclusion?
Now I hope this doesn't sound too rude but do you really have to keep name-dropping for what is a very common argument. I don't know if what you say is a proper interpretation of Epicurus or not. He might have said it but I also hear it from the guy at work. Have you read Lewis' The Problem of Pain
? Simple enough and written for people like myself and, quite frankly, I think for you. Are you serious in wondering if Christians "ever worry" about suffering?