Reader Eric MacDonald made a comment about my last post that I want to put above the fold because it makes an important point. Given that theologians spend a lot of their time rationalizing all the ills, evils, and injustices of the world as necessary concomitants of God’s existence (indeed, as proof of God’s existence), isn’t it incumbent on them to answer this simple question: What kind of world would convince you that there is no God?
Let’s put the emphasis where it belongs. Klinghoffer mistakes a simple argument that shows conclusively that the body was not intelligently designed for the argument from evil. So tagging on his argument about theodicy and his knee is just silly. Besides, if he hadn’t taken to running too much, which is hard on knees, he wouldn’t be suffering from his knee just now. So, he can’t blame the design fault for his problems.
He thinks the alternative to running is being a hamster! Well, that’s really stretching a point. A perfectly reasonable alternative to running too much, when his knee misbehaves itself, is running less, not crawling into a hamster cage.
But to use this argument from self-inflicted injury to justify all the horrendous evils which exist in the world is about the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.
And theodicists can be exceedingly stupid. In order to make theodicy a reasonable pursuit, theodicists must tell us beforehand what would defeat the idea that there is a god. But they never do. So, in the end, every evil is compassed by their arguments, even evils they haven’t dreamed of yet. So theodicy is not a well-formed argument. And anyone who tries to justify some of the truly horrendous things that happen to people just on the basis that the alternative is living like a hamster, is quite obviously lacking some common sense and some straightforward knowledge about the world of suffering people.
It never ceases to amaze me, however, how absurdly petty the arguments really are, and how easily monstrous evil is dispensed with by men and women comfortably ensconced in their studies pounding at their computer keyboards. If the worst that has happened to you is self-inflicted injury to your kness, you really are a bit like a hamster in a cage. You really need to get off the spinning wheel of words, and get out a bit.