Thursday, 28 July 2011

Theology And The Problem Of The Children

Try the following statistic for size. Based on accrued data and some mathematical modeling, it is estimated that one hundred billion people have lived and died during the age of man.

Just ingest this figure for a moment because it's important. Now factor into this that these calculations have also deduced that fifty billion of those died during childhood.  If you're on the ball the first question you ask is how I know this, to which  I refer you to the following;

So let's familiarize ourselves with the fact that half the humans that ever lived never made it to adulthood. Interestingly, the author of this work has been trying to get a response from theologians, whom one might think would have a great interest in rebutting this damaging thesis. 
To date, nobody has critiqued him. And why? Well one of the main lines of defense a theologian will offer to counter what is known as "the problem of evil" is called the "free will defense" and it goes thus; humans have free will, and as such suffering is the inevitable consequence of having so many with this freedom to choose right or wrong. So far so reasonable. But, how do you defend any God that would allow fifty percent of all humans to expire before reaching the age where they can deploy free will to it's fullest expression? It's barely any wonder that there have been no takers to review this newly minted work. What can any theologian say in light of it?
Ok, let me reign myself in for a minute. It's just one study, but boy the implications are immense. So I now ask the following question; what arguments actually remain for the existence of a benevolent God? Note that the study does not rule out the possibility of an evil one, and it could be argued that only an evil one makes sense in light of the world in which we find ourselves. Don't forget that the same creation that gives us wonders such as the hummingbird and the orchid also gives us the parasite that can only live in the eyes of an African child.  And just a final aside; another typical theological retort to this problem is simply to assert that God would have morally sufficient reasons for allowing so many children to perish. Reasons invariably beyond our capacity to grasp.

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