-The Argument of Suffering-
The existence of God has been debited in many fields; some have used logic to rationalize his existence. Arguments such as the Cosmological Argument, the Theological argument and the Ontological argument all work to use logical reasoning to prove the existence of a god or God. On the other hand “The Problem of Suffering” uses logical reasoning to disprove the existence of the Judeo-Christian God. The Problem of Suffering states that if God does exist than he cannot be Morally perfect, Omnipotent and Omniscient because there is suffering.
The first premise in The Problem of Suffering, is that widespread suffering exists. This in it’s self is a debatable issue. St Augustine argued that there is no suffering, just the lack of good. Blindness is the lack of sight; poverty is the lack of wealth. Everything created by God is good, but since suffering is merely privations of good, it has no real existence and therefore, God cannot be held responsible for it. However is not an extreme lack, or deprivation of things vital to human existence suffering? Could you not argue that by depriving starving children in Africa food, or refusing to provide health to those suffering from cancer or AIDS, God him self is causing suffering? Another argument put forward to disprove the existence of suffering was made by Cleanthes; that is that the good things out way the bad, there is more health than sickness, and therefore we do not really suffer- or at least not much. This argument is built on faulty logic; just because there is a small amount of suffering in the world, does not mean does suffering exist.
If we accept that suffering exists, than God cannot be omnipotent and morally perfect as the Judeo-Christian God is said to be. Either God is omnipotent and can stop suffering but chooses not to, making him malevolent, or he is morally perfect and wants to stop suffering but cant, and therefore can not be omnipotent. To this it is possible to raise the ‘cosmic harmony’ argument. This states that the human perspective of the universe is severally limited, and if we could see the greater plan of things like God can, than we would realize what we see as suffering is not suffering at all. To complain about this so called suffering would be like a child complaining about the rain that stops them from going out to play, without realizing how essential it is to life. Why then does God not simply give us the knowledge to understand how insignificant our suffering is? Better yet, an omnipotent and morally perfect God should be able to create a world where suffering is not essential. Therefore, God cannot be both omnipotent and morally perfect.
If we accept that suffering exists and that God is all merciful and omnipotent, then he cannot possibly be omniscient. The only reason for an omnipotent and morally perfect god not preventing suffering is if he is not aware of its existence, and therefore is not omniscient. Another argument against God being omniscient is the “Free Will” argument; God gave us free will so we can lead morally significant lives, but because we are not morally perfect beings, we use free will to cause suffering within humanity. If God can see everything, he should have known the suffering that would be caused by giving humans free will. Again, one can argue that because God is omniscient he therefore has a greater perspective of the universe than we do and therefore understands the importance of suffering in a way we cannot comprehend. Once more this argument can be countered simply by stating that a morally perfect, omnipotent God should be able to create a reality in which suffering is not essential. Therefore, God cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent while still being morally perfect.
‘The problem of suffering” shows that while God could exist and be two of the three premises that make up ‘God,’ it is impossible for him to be all three while suffering exists in the world. Each premise has arguments that can be used against it, but the counters for such arguments are stronger than the attacks. “The problem of suffering” holds great merit over arguments such as the Cosmological Argument, the Theological argument, and the Ontological argument, when trying to logically resolve the questions behind the existence of God.