A Response to Cole Ryan


“Atheists ask that question a lot and I tend to think – if you’re going to give God responsibility for all the bad in this world, you better be giving Him responsibility for all the good in this world too.”

Atheists do not believe in God, ergo, they do not “give God responsibility for all the bad in this world”. Somehow I think you misunderstand the basis for such an argument, being that Christians often thank God “for all the good in this world”, all the while they see foul things as a product of man’s free-will gone awry.

I know I am preaching to the wrong choir here, but had the justification for free-will been as easy as demonstrating that a baby can make his own choices regardless of parental oversight you will have saved generations of philosophers a whole lot of philosophising. I cannot hope to elucidate the complexity of the issue here, nor do I feel properly equipped to do so, but I say your lack of concern for genetical, cultural and experiential processes adds agreeably to my suspicion of the validity of your entire method of reasoning. Especially in light of the advances of modern science (in particular the neurosciences) I find such simplistic explanations to be quite wholly untenable.

The greatest irony is that the certitude with which you wrote this article speaks volumes against the defensive position which you took when writing “Understanding God”. It goes without saying that no logical argument against those which you proposed will suffice to falsify them, so long as God operates on a higher plane than that of our understanding. Therefore, can we not admit that such dithery logicising can be of no worth unless the wielder of said logic is prepared to go the entire length, and to follow logic where it leads, not where he wishes it to lead? I understand many people appreciate your spiritual blogsmanship, and so will find that my opinion quite expectedly leaves a bad taste in the mouth — but I fear you mislead them by assuming a position of logic, only to abandon it when the going gets tough. But, I assure you, nothing leaves a worse aftertaste than the sight of complacent “men of logic” who justify human suffering by saying God has no say in it (whilst thanking God for curing his illnesses), or by saying, “well, at least some good can/does come out of it”.

Tim [17/01/13]