Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
~ Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 ~

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why would a good God allow children to starve to death?

This is going to be short. It may make you feel uncomfortable. That's the point. It should make you think.

Would you allow your children to starve to death?

If your answer is no, then congratulations - you are more moral than God.

So then is it right to thank God for putting food on your table, while millions of people starve every day?

And when you offer a prayer of thanks for that food, are you not really saying: "Thank you God for choosing me, over them" ?


It seems that some people failed to grasp the points being made by this article. Allow me to clarify.

The issue is not purely that God doesn't help starving children. That fact alone is not sufficient for my argument.

Perhaps God chooses not to meddle in any earthly affairs so as not to interfere with nature and free will. (This is not the biblical view of God, but is a possible way of reconciling the problem of suffering nonetheless. Even so, it is not clear to me why "free will" should be seen as a higher priority than preventing children from starving to death)

The problem begins when you claim that God does intervene, in other ways (for example by blessing you). Now you need to account for why God would help you but not those who need it more. And more specifically, if you are thanking God for blessing you, while ignoring the fact that many go hungry, what does that say about you? Were you more deserving than they?

The Bible often describes God as a loving father, and us as his children. Yet the Bible contains several examples of God punishing his "children" in ways that no loving human father would ever dream of (and if they did they would be jailed for life). We can easily articulate how a loving human father would behave with respect to his children, but somehow we are asked to lower the bar considerably when it comes to God. Shouldn't we expect more from a supposedly morally perfect, let alone "loving" God, not less?

Also consider natural disasters, which are responsible for the deaths of millions of people each year. Do you believe that God sometimes saves people from natural disasters? If so, why those people and not others? Even better, why not prevent the natural disasters in the first place? If God gets the credit for those saved from natural disasters, shouldn't he also take the blame for those who weren't so fortunate?

It's worth thinking about.