I was speaking to a Christian friend of mine and as we often do, we started discussing religion. We agree on many things in life, but religion isn’t one of them. On this hot day in July, with cold beers in our hands, I asked my friend, “So why does God allow evil in this world? Why does he allow unnecessary suffering?”
To this, my pious pal proclaimed, “Free Will my friend. Free Will. God didn’t want us to be robots. He wanted us to freely choose to come to him.”
I took a moment to think about this, which at first seems to make sense. Then my mind wondered to a sermon I once sat in on, in which the Preacher told the story of how Lucifer, Gods favorite Angel, rebelled against God. Lucifer chose to go against God. With this in mind, suddenly my friends’ proclamation stopped making sense.
“Wait,” I said, then quickly queried, “Is there evil in heaven? Is there suffering of any kind in heaven?”
My friend screwed up his face, attempting to devise what dastardly design I was daring to try and dupe him with, “Of course not,” he said, for he knew that I knew that he knew what his theology said on the matter.
“So,” I said slowly, knowing I had him right where I wanted him-precariously perched on the precipice that plunged into the craggily crevice of his Cognitive Dissonance, “If Heaven is free of evil and suffering, but Lucifer was able to freely choose to rebel against God even though he had indisputable proof God existed, then apparently God could have engineered an evil-free earth sans suffering of the necessary or unnecessary kind. In addition, he evidently could have provided indisputable proof that he existed, while leaving us with the freedom to choose to go to him and continue a life without suffering or evil, or join Lucifer in his rebellion and take on the suffering that would come with that.”
I could tell by the look on my friends face that he had nose-dived off that perilous precipice and his mind lay broken inside the crags of the aforementioned crevice of Cognitive Dissonance.
“Mysterious ways” he slowly replied, “God works in Mysterious Ways.”
He knew this answer would be as unsatisfying as a jelly-filled donut that was missing its jelly, but he had no jelly to put in his answer.
I bid my friend adieu at that, leaving him to ponder the logical trap that had laid bare the inconsistency of his cherished theology.
“God-bless,” he said as I left.
“Thank you, my friend. You take care.” I replied.
Until next time, keep drinking the Kool-aid.