Dear Internet Diary,
Culled from I Am An Atheist Blog:
I'm having trouble with a cliché, I'm afraid, and I thought perhaps you would be able to help me out. I wish I were more interesting, but it's the old question of "why do bad things happen to good people?"
I've asked this question to several friends who believe in an all-powerful and all-good deity (three Christians of varying denominations, one Jew, one self-identified "miscellaneous believer") and all have given me essentially the same answer: free will. But that doesn't make any sense to me.
The problem is category error. There are no such things as "good people" and "bad things." I think there are good actions and bad actions, good and bad intentions, and unhealthy values, and people do both. Christianity says there are good and bad people, but never explains exactly how that works.
For example, how many good acts does it take to make a good person? How many intentions that are bad does it take to make a person "bad?" Exactly what act? We know that actions don't exist in a vacuum--choices come in context, like say, killing a person.
We also know that there are certain people that go into hell in the bible that are NOT "bad." Yet this seems to be the only rationale for eternal hell. Was every single person drowned in The Flood a "bad person?" How is this possible? How were those people able to develop a culture at all, if they were all, from embryo to Great Great Grandmother, "bad?"
The question is not "why do bad things happen to good people?" People do bad things to other people, people make mistakes, and "bad things," that are simply natural phenomena, happen around people. The hilarious thing is when your Christians explain Tsunamis and Flesh-Eating bacteria as a result of Eve and her sin. Their bible has two built-in excuses for the bad things that happen to good people: The first is Covenant Theology, used when the bible fails to live up to its promises. It means "you sinned, so our contract is null." The second is Free Will, to use when the contract was otherwise upheld. It means, "Eve sinned, so by default, you sinned, therefore you`ve broken our covenant. I'm god, so I can pull these kinds of shenanigans. See ya!"
Well, that seems "fair."
Christians. They say the darndest things.
Thanks for listening, diary.