Someone once asked "what kind of a God creates a world where all of the living creatures are forced to eat each other to survive?" This question forces a thinking person to wonder why such a "merciful" God would "intelligently design" such a house of horrors, if he really "loves us."
Christians try to weave their way around the "problem of evil" argument by claiming that evil is simply a by product of free will (as if an infinitely benevolent God is therefore constrained by the limits of their own inability to imagine a world where free will exists but evil does not), but the problem of pain is a different question altogether. Even a mere human being can imagine a world in which all of the creatures are simply vegetarians instead of carnivores. Indeed, even the dinosaurs were said to be vegetarians, but for the T-Rex.
And if God could not figure out how to create a sustainable world where all of the creatures are vegetarians, then why create creatures that have the kind of central nervous system that allows them to experience the pain of being torn apart by other animals as they are being devoured? Why not, at the very least, create the kind of nervous system that allows for a complete shut off of all sensations of pain from the outset of an attack? Or make such creatures impervious to pain from birth, but not pleasure?
There are any number of ways that God could've created a world in which so much suffering could be alleviated, but chose not to. The question is why.
Christians often like to assume that those who offer us their suffering help those in purgatory, as well as learn about this life and prove God's love for them and all of us. Padre Pio called suffering "god's gentle caresses," which sounds like something Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lamb might say ("It puts the lotion in the basket!"). St. Augustine praised the use of torture in converting wayward sinners, saying that those who were converted through the application of pain were truly some of the most devote followers of Jesus Christ.
Torture and murder and burning people alive, have all been relied upon by religious believers to help instruct the wayward atheist to exercise their "god given free will" in a way that would lead them to "believe" in God, and be saved (especially from such bloodthirsty Christians!). Indeed, God even chose to have his own son tortured and mutilated, and brutally murdered, just to illustrate how truly central to God's divine plan pain really is. How sadistic is that?
For Christians, all of the human suffering in the world serves some kind of deranged plan to "help teach us" something. Like the serial killer Jigsaw in the horror movie Saw, who sought to teach his ungrateful victims to appreciate their life by trapping them in the most macabre torture contraptions he could devise and forcing them to escape or suffer a horribly painful death (only in this world, no one can ever hope to avoid death), God uses the torture chamber we call Earth to teach us to appreciate our mortality.
That there is nothing we can learn as mortals that would be of any use to us as immortals, especially if we end up suffering forever in an eternal hell, apparently goes unnoticed by those Christians who, like a battered wife suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, try to explain and defend such a system of pain and death that is so horrible, it would be rated XXX if it were a movie. Yet this is the kind of story is one we should be proud to teach our children, so they can be "confirmed" in accepting that it is all part of God's plan, out of "love for us."
What person would send their child to a daycare center where they followed God's example (and aren't we all called to "be like God?) and used such tortures to help teach children to learn? Even Stanley Milgram would object.
But all of this pain deals only with "human" suffering, and for some Christians, that suffering is only meaningful if it is specifically offered up to God, by a person who is NOT in a state of mortal sin (in other words, after a proper confession and act of contrition). And yet this all makes perfect sense to such Christians. As for all of the animal suffering in the world , they simply chose not to believe it exists, or that it matters in any way if it does. And no amount of evidence that animals actually DO suffer a great deal of pain, can get some of them to ever believe it, or if they believe it, to waste any time caring about. How 'human-ane" of them.
Yet they expect a God, who is infinitely more advanced than we are, to treat us better than we treat animals, who we see as inferior to us. Hell, even humans have NEVER seen each other as equals! Clearly, it's all just too painful for them to believe otherwise. As for the pain they cause anyone and everyone else by their own myopic "Christian" beliefs, and all for the glory of their own delusions (because the world is just to "painful" to see it any other way - wtf!) that's all part of God's plan. But a plan like that only suggests that when such "believers" get to Heaven, there will be a table of wild hogs waiting to order a rack of Bar Be Que Christians with extra holy sauce.
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