Quick thought and a link

When believers rationalize human suffering as "part of God's will", aren't they essentially just saying that God's divine plan – and how such events fit into them – is unknowable? If God's divine plan is unknowable, then it becomes indiscernible from random events; we'll simply see that bad things sometimes happen to good people, to children, to the innocent. There won't be any apparent rhyme or reason for it.

Even if a believer accepts the absurd rationalization that suffering exists in the world because of original sin, it still doesn't answer why God didn't just fix things straight off – why he's allowed so many innocents to suffer for so many thousands of years. Ultimately the believer will fall back on a predictable appeal to mystery: somehow or other, it's just part of God's divine plan. This is tantamount to suggesting that we ought to believe even if we can find no particular reason to do so. But hey... isn't that, by definition, what faith is?

Jerry Coyne has done a piece over at WEIT called "When theology does cosmology". If there's one thing that grinds my gears, it's finding little plastic things around the house and having no idea what they go to. But if there's a second thing that grinds my gears, it's when theologians from WL Craig to Deepak Chopra attempt to manipulate physics and cosmology to make it seem like they support their inane theologies. It's a tactic that works really well on credulous people who don't actually read about cosmology, because it's a complex and esoteric subject. But, via Sean Carrol, Coyne gives a nice overview of why cosmology does not support the standard apologetic arguments. I'll be going over some of that stuff in an upcoming post.


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