Skip to main content

Clash of the Theodicies

By SteveS ~

Suffering is an immense problem for Xians. I’ve already talked about the problems with the free will argument, but there are many people, like evangelicals and fundamentalists who use the line “everything happens for a reason”. To put it in Bible-speak,
“All things work together for the glory of God, and according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).”
Whoa! That’s a huge pill to swallow! God is in charge of everything, and nothing happens without his consent, is basically what Paul is saying here!

This verse is a fatal, fatal misstep for Christianity. How can you use the free-will argument when your own authoritative text plainly says that God interferes with the world to make it work for his glory?! Seriously, you could ignore this verse, and say, oh, Paul’s not important, but you’d be damn wrong! What other books are you gonna take out next? You could go until you have just the four gospels left, then take out John (90% of it isn’t even what the real Jesus is thought to have said, according to the Jesus Seminar), and you’re left with three, maybe put the book of Acts back in, realize that the events Paul and Acts describe don’t match up, discard Acts and be left with only three books in the NT to base your Xian belief on. Yeah, you’re slipping down that slope pretty fast, buddy, and how long is it gonna be before you realize the three books you have in your hand contradict each other as well…on the Resurrection, for Pete’s sake! Why would there be a contradiction about such a MASSIVE event?! I know different people experience things differently, but we are talking about objective things here, not feelings! Who was at the tomb – a man, two men, an angel, or two angels? Did saints rise from their graves and march through the town, or is that too much to be believed? Did Jesus come back to see his followers, or not? What women went to the tomb? Why do Xians believe that a 2,000 year old book written by superstitious people is a good thing to base their beliefs on and to center your life around?

This same mentality is present in the Romans 8:28 theodicy. Those who espouse that God makes everything happen for a reason have a lot of explaining to do. We could talk about the Holocaust, or the Rwandan genocide, but that’s not what I’m getting at. What I’m getting at is that this theodicy excuses and allows what God thinks is evil! Why? Well, if you know ALL things work out the way God wants them to, you can kill, rape, abuse, and torture anyone you like and say, “Hey, all things happen for a reason, right? Their family will soon receive blessings from God! What I did was good!” when you stand before a worldly judge. But hey, God’s the only true judge right? This theodicy undermines the objective moral values Xian apologists claim Xianity give believers! There’s no foundation for Xians to base their morals on, and they fall into the same pit of subjectivity that they claim nonbelievers wallow in! They overlook this so glibly! Hey, I killed your husband with that robber so you could meet up with your long-lost childhood buddy and help him raise kids in the projects! REALLY?! This is the kind of God these kinds of Xians worship?! This god is dangerous…I want nothing to do with him or his followers! In your theology, you don’t kill someone for a greater purpose, Xians! Jesus would consider this line of thinking blasphemy! God needs to play by his own damn rules!

Also, how can you use the free will argument and tell me miracles occur and that everything happens for a reason? The free will theodicy rules out miracles and vice-versa! IF Jesus rose from the dead and was able to appear to the disciples, how the HELL does that NOT violate their free will?! If God healed your sick grandma, why are you telling me the only reason he cannot tinker with the world is because he wants us to have the ability to make significant choices?! It makes no sense. Be consistent!

I think I can say with some degree of certainty that the way a Xian explains suffering shows who they are as a person. Strict free-will types are usually more liberal Xians, like Lutherans and some Catholics. Strict Romans 8:28 types are usually nondenominationals, Baptists, or evangelicals ( and the most annoying!). I think that free-willers are a little kinder, gentler, and understanding than Romans 8:28ers. And I think 8:28ers are more gullible, more laissez faire, and less tolerant than free-willers. I think the whole “God will take care of it all” mentality is disturbing and dangerous.

So, I’d like to ask, what do you think of my hypothesis? DO you find it to be true, or am I missing something? I’d love to know!