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priyankasrinet's avatar

What are some examples of Natural Disasters—Evidence That God Is Cruel?

Asked by priyankasrinet (12points) September 24th, 2022

If God exists, why is there suffering and/or evil? Why does he allow tragedies? How does one rationalize that? If free will explains human disasters, what explains natural disasters?

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36 Answers

cookieman's avatar

This is THE age old question about “God” or any gods really.

If they exist, and care about humanity, why do they allow terrible things to happen?

If they exist and are cruel, then why would anybody worship them?

Some religious texts depict them as caring, some as cruel.

Some religious folks will say God gave mankind free will, thus accounting for the terrible things humans do. Sure, but this does not account for natural disasters.

Well, “God doesn’t control the weather”, but…didn’t he create everything?

It’s a mess of a problem with little to no explanation.

Ultimately, believers will say, “You just have to have faith.”

Meanwhile, the secular explanation is simply, “There is no God.”

RayaHope's avatar

If God stepped in and made everything perfect, how would we learn and grow? The terms “good and bad” are subjective, your good maybe someone else’s bad and vice versa. How do we know what it’s all about? We must learn to grow and if everything was handed to us perfectly then we would never evolve or appreciate things in life.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Just the opposite @priyankasrinet

It shows how powerless God (if there even is one) is.

What kind of a creepy deity would God be if he killed people off willingly when I could stop it? A pretty crappy god!

Disasters and wars are pretty good proof that either:

- god doesn’t exist
– he is such a weak god that he shouldn’t be respected

HP's avatar

Good? bad? How about just plain indifferent? Assume He does exist. Why not just set the whole thing in motion, then leave it alone to run itself? Why should He give a shit about us anyway? And if HE does, what makes us special? Is it the fact that we whine and pester Him? The bugs, even the rats and the flies don’t waste his time asking for favors or bitching at him over THEIR fates. Nor do they treat one another like crap while they pin the blame on Him.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’ve come to the conclusion that if God exists, they don’t really intervene. They set our world up as an experiment and want to see how things turn out. They may be preoccupied dealing with the bajillion other things going on in the universe to care about helping Billy kick the game winning field goal.

Instead of listing hundreds of natural disasters and the billions of lives unfairly claimed as evidence that God allows cruelty (which will all just sound like statistics). I’m just going to point to one truly grotesque (NSFW) incident. It’s not possible for God to be benevolent, omnipotent, and able to intervene while something like that is occurring. The only way to reconcile these things happening is that God doesn’t intervene, because if they did and was too preoccupied helping Billy kick the field goal to prevent that poor toddler’s death, then one would have no choice but to despise God.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @cookieman.

I think if there is a God He must be similar to @gorillapaws description of setting up the universe and letting things just happen.

Definitions of God vary from person to person and religion to religion.

It’s impossible for me to believe God could be so cruel, there is an incredible amount of suffering and tragedy in the world, and so I don’t believe.

Even things you might not count as natural disasters, like Nazis lining up Jews at a deep ditch, shooting them, pushing them into the hole, and then setting them on fire while some were still alive (this was an accounting given by an elderly woman on the show Who Do You Think You Are when Lisa Kudrow traced her family back to a small town in Poland. The woman was a child at the time it happened). In my opinion, if God can affect nature, He certainly could have had lightening strike down Hitler. Or, as the OP said, maybe God is just cruel. That makes no sense to me though. It’s easier to accept there is no God.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

The problem of evil. A contentious philosophical conundrum.

LostInParadise's avatar

The answer that I have heard is that this is the best of all worlds and that any disasters that occur, human or natural, were necessary to attain the best possible result.

I am an atheist and my stance is not based on this question.

HP's avatar

Candide!! Doc pangloss.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was so tired of asking questions and getting no answers. When I finally accepted the fact that there is no God all my questions were instantly answered.

kritiper's avatar

Starving children.

gondwanalon's avatar

@RayaHope Very good!
God put on this ever changing beautiful but at times every dangerous ever changing planet. He expects us to use our highly evolved brain to understand and solve problems that the Earth presents to us.

RayaHope's avatar

@gondwanalon Thank you, you understand :)

Kropotkin's avatar

@RayaHope Are you saying you can’t “learn and grow” without natural disasters indiscriminately killing people every so often?

I’d think “learning and growing” would actually be far more conducive in a perfectly safe environment.

We don’t deliberately put people in danger as a means of making them “learn and grow” better, so it should be no different for a purported all-knowing god.

Frankly, I find your argument here, really ridiculous. Sorry.

Caravanfan's avatar

God does not exist and free will is a myth.

Kropotkin's avatar

“If God exists, why is there suffering and/or evil?”

I can only conclude that any all-powerful god or gods would necessarily be capricious and callous.

Such god(s) made Earth deliberately hostile, imbued us with traits and flaws in our thinking that would inevitably lead us to conflict, and also made us suffer with diseases.

Either these gods don’t exist, because the universe is amoral and chaotic, and shit happens, or they’re not worth worshipping because they don’t care about you anyway.

RayaHope's avatar

@Kropotkin I may not make much sense sometimes and I know I make mistakes, but I believe that we learn more from mistakes and having to deal with problems than having everything laid-out just fine and perfect. Some of the BEST discoveries in the world were found by accident or mistake. I don’t plan on convincing you, everyone has their own beliefs and that is good. Nothing would get done if we all believed the same things. I do appreciate your input though. :)

Kropotkin's avatar

@RayaHope You can still make mistakes in a safe environment. If you get killed in an earthquake, or pyroclastic flow, or tsunami, or flood—you won’t be making any mistakes, or learning, or growing.

JLeslie's avatar

@RayaHope Accidents and mistakes are very different from torture, enslavement, severe illness, extreme suffering and death.

How do you explain the genocide, rapes, children being starved, to name a few, and God doing nothing?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

The traditional “God” is an ephemeral human construct used to both placate and to a degree, control the population. It is a way to explain the unexplainable for those who cannot stomach the idea of not knowing. That God most likely does not exist. God as a thoughtform in other contexts is a possibility.

I’m not ready to say free will is a myth in the sense that it describes sentience and choice. We just don’t know that yet.

RayaHope's avatar

@JLeslie As you know I have endured much of what you have listed in my short life. I am still dealing with the seizures I have often and headaches. I don’t have the answers you seek but I do know that those things you listed are man-made. Don’t think that I have never thought about this before and it is troubling to say the least. I have had a very hard life and it’s not a lot better now sometimes, but I have to make the best of what I have.

gondwanalon's avatar

On the History Channel a Ranger in Yosemite was talking to a group of tourists right after a huge rock slide killed one man an paralyzed a women. Tourists asked the Ranger, “What are you doing to prevent rock slides in the future?” The Ranger explained that there is nothing that can be done to stop the ever changing nature of the geology of Yosemite. People come to see the dynamic nature of Yosemite at their own risk. The same is true about life in general. We limit risks but we can’t eliminate them.

The geology of the Earth is the ever changing stage. The actors are the constant change of living things.

“A fire-mist and a planet,
A crystal and a cell,
A jellyfish and a saurian,
And a place where cave men dwell;
Then a sense of law and beauty
And a face turned from the clod-
Some call it evolution,
And others call if God.” -William Herbert Carruth

JLeslie's avatar

@RayaHope I know a lot of people who find comfort believing in God, and that’s just fine with me. I don’t see any negative to believing in God as long as the person doesn’t blindly follow charismatic leaders who want to harm people in the name of God. I know you are not one of those followers.

I’m not sure what man made has to do with an almighty God who can work miracles?

eyesoreu's avatar

Donald Trump

flutherother's avatar

We project our thoughts and feelings onto God but there is really no evidence that God experiences emotions such as kindness, compassion and love like we do. We do know that Man experiences such feeling and the real question is, if that is the case, then why is Man so cruel?

RayaHope's avatar

@JLeslie Mankind has free will and that encompasses the ability to do good and bad things. God does not step in to right every wrong because then there would be no free will. People do horrible things to others and themselves and that is just how it is. I wish I could explain my thoughts in a more coherent way. Sure I wish everything was perfect too, but what we make of our misfortune is what truly defines us. It would be easy to live with no problems but then what kind of people would we be if that were the case?
Regarding belief, I feel that whatever you believe in is okay if it helps you make it through your life and can find peace. I also believe that it is wrong to force your belief onto others and to respect people with different beliefs than me. No one asked to be in this world so we need to work together to make this world as good to us as possible without hurting others.

gondwanalon's avatar

The nebulous concepts of God, religion and faith are ares that each of us have to confront.
To me God is that vast area beyond my ability to know or understand that made life and the universe exist.

I never went to church as a kid and rarely as an adult. I read about half of the Holy Bible and the entire Book of Mormon (BOM). Both of those books have many problems (especially BOM). Problems that show that they are inconsistent with reality in many areas. It’s astounding to me that millions of people around the world believe that these books are factual. I’ve been told to have faith and that I need to pray and the “Holy Ghost” inside of me will tell me that what’s written in these bibles is true. “Holy Ghost”? Really?

It’s dangerous to have blind faith in anything.

That forces that I call God created the miracle of the universe. This includes DNA within my cells that links through a continuous chain of living things going back 3.7 billion years to the very first single cells living in an ancient ocean.
So many questions and the answers for which are surely far beyond my ability to understand them.

I stand here with all of you brave soles on spaceship Earth and asks questions. The most adventurous among us (astronomers and astronauts) search deep pace for clues but are never satisfied with any of the vast new information arriving almost daily. And we all suffer for not knowing the answers to our questions.

Demosthenes's avatar

Well, those are some big questions.

The usual answers I hear are: free will, free will, free will.

Yet free will has trouble explaining why an infant is born with a congenital condition or why an earthquake happens. I can see why, in an imperfect world, those who could let go of the concept of God were pushed toward deism (God has to exist for the design we see in the world, but God doesn’t have direct intervention in our affairs and random bad things just happen).

The way I’ve always seen it is that the world has to be imperfect if there’s something perfect in relation to it (God, heaven, etc.) otherwise “perfection” doesn’t mean anything. Not that that’s satisfying, but that’s how I personally think of it.

Pandora's avatar

I use to wonder about this but then I thought. Everything on earth has its beginning and its end. Winds start and they stop. People are born and they die. The earth lays quiet one moment and it rumbles. Snow falls and it melts. Trees grow and they fall. Rivers evaporate and become rain and fall back down again to earth. Even evil people die eventually along with good people. Everything is a cycle. So in my mind it’s like blaming God for giving everything an end. He or she could’ve easily decided never to make people.

It’s also flawed to think that we would ever understand what and how God thinks. It’s like an insect trying to understand how we think. Our understanding is extremely limited because it’s confined to only things we know. No one here can verify whether God is real or not. God is faith-based, not factually based with scientific physical proof. I believe in God but I can no more prove his existence than someone can disprove him on what they think a God would and should do according to their human opinion.

KNOWITALL's avatar

God never said ‘accept me and your life will be perfect.’ He said you will never go through it alone.

Entropy's avatar

So, I don’t think the natural disaster argument is very compelling. I’m an atheist and former Catholic. If you’re trying to make the case that God is cruel, first you have to agree on which God…let’s say the God of the Bible.

If you were using the Christian God, I’d say nothing drives home the point of God’s cruelty more than the story of Job and that of Abraham.

With Abraham, a supposedly OMNISCIENT God (who therefore already knows how Abraham will react) “tests” Abraham by ordering him to MURDER HIS SON IN COLD BLOOD. He puts a father through the emotional torture of choosing to murder his child despite the fact that he already knew Abraham would do it. What a d*ck move.

Then, almost the same situation occurs with Job. For the sole purpose of WINNING A BET WITH SATAN, he DESTROYS a good man in Job. Takes his job, his health, his family…completely DEMOLISHES him. Again, he’s omniscient…he already knew how Job would react. This wasn’t a test. No knowledge was acquired. He was just flexing for Satan. IIRC, technically he ‘allows’ Satan to do these things I think, but that’s a technicality. The point is it’s to win a bet.

You could also talk about how he murdered the entire human race save one family (Noah story), or destroyed entire cities for the crime of being somewhere the Jews wanted to conquer, or when he MURDERED every eldest son in Egypt because ONE MAN, the Pharoah, wasn’t cooperating. Most of these sons weren’t in ANY WAY connected to that decision. God didn’t care. Straight-up murdered all those innocent kids whose only crime was living under a tyrannical dictator who didn’t free the handful of slaves God wanted freed (though God didn’t give a shit about the OTHER slaves). Remember, God is all powerful…he could have just teleported the Israelites out of Egypt. Murder was not necessary…God just REALLY like killing.

If the Bible is accurate (thank goodness it’s not), God is the most evil being in the thing. Satan actually doesn’t do much of anything in the book. He tempts Eve to eat an apple. Aaaaand, that’s mostly it in terms of offenses against humanity. I guess the aforementioned Job story counts too.
Sure, he rebelled against God and tried to tempt Jesus, but he doesn’t do much else. If you want to compare Body Count, God kills WAAAAAAYYYYY more people.

But I think any Christian would respond one of two ways to this – either he would say it’s for ‘free will’ or he would say that as finite human minds we can’t expect to understand the motivations of an omniscient being. Both of which are fundamentally logical cop-outs. They’re ways to avoid engaging in the debate.

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