Is God Good?

There is immense evil and suffering in this world that cannot be denied. Whether suffering is inflicted by fellow mankind or by natural disasters, the problem of evil is so pressing that it seriously questions the idea of a Good, Merciful and Compassionate God.

The typical answer to the evil caused by mankind is the free will defense. It is argued that the calamities of wars, violence and genocides is of our own free choice and therefore God cannot be held responsible for it. Well I do agree that a great deal of suffering in this world is caused by the  lust, greed and mischief of fellow human beings. But it also highlights the fact that no matter how much filth, plague and corruption we spread, God will never intervene to help the oppressed. Certainly God could have stopped the Holocaust or the Nanjing massacre, if he is all good… but no, he didn’t… he chose not to intervene. The truth of the matter is that freewill is a scapegoat to conceal God’s hypocrisy. Mankind has paid a huge price for this freewill. The price is not the mischief we spread but the indifference of God to what we do.

Men, women and children killed by landslide. Does this make you a saint?

On the other hand, the problem of natural evil is hard for anyone to defend. A common viewpoint most apologists hold is that natural evil exists so that good can come out of it. Pain and grief are means to develop human morality and conscience. In other words, suffering leads to saintliness. Well yes, but isn’t the suffering in this world too much already? Does God really need to torture us with earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, famines and AIDS in order to make us better moral beings? The level of suffering in this world is too much to justify this claim. In the Indian Ocean Tsunami alone, 230000 people were killed. If that many people were killed by a bomb or terrorism, it would have stirred the whole world. The people responsible for it would have been prosecuted, tried and sentenced. But unfortunately, justice cannot prevail when God commits such atrocities. Was it too much for God to make nature a bit more accommodating? There was no harm in a little more perfection.  His own universe would have been more splendid. And his own children would have been at peace.

To conclude, I see only a couple of answers to the question. Maybe God is all good, loving, compassionate and merciful. Maybe he did create us in good intent and tried his best to provide us with a perfect living environment. But the evil in this world suggests that he is too weak and powerless to intervene and help those in distress. Or maybe God is very powerful who can do anything he wants. But the problem with this assumption is that an apathetic God cannot be good in any sense. The omnipotent God who does nothing to alleviate misery and anguish is a ruthless, self righteous hypocrite and a sadist who enjoys human suffering. The universe is his entertainment and we are his gladiators.

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Why I left Islam

I was an observant Muslim who had very strong belief in Islam. I had a huge interest in philosophy and was a keen reader of books on morality, religion, rationality and science. I always thought that theologically, Islam is the most rational religion. It seemed ridiculous to me how someone would choose to believe in something else. As I matured, I decided to study my religion deeper, as to better myself at defending it. The DOs and DONTs that Mullahs preached never made sense to me. My reason did not reconcile with things like ban on playing chess, music and drawing… all the things that I so much loved. I grew tired of Mullahs and so I rejected those things and convinced myself that Islam has deeper meaning than this.
I decided that to be a perfect muslim, I have to follow and understand the character of Muhammad. But when I read the life of Muhammad, the things that I found made me quiver, cringe and squirm. I was totally disgusted by the fact that he married a 9 year old, exterminated a tribe of around 800 (mostly innocent) Jews, including boys who had just grown pubic hair. He ordered stonings and amputations and commanded capital punishment for anyone who spoke against him. I just couldn’t defend these loathful acts, not even to myself let alone defending it to others.
I became suspicious by the fact that whenever he did questionable things, those events were immediately followed by verses that approved of those things. He married the divorced wife of his adopted son, and when people questioned this immoral act he presented them with new verses that ratified this. He was married to nine women at a time, although Islam permits four wives at most. When Aisha thought of questioning it, God “revealed” new verses that gave him special dispensation, allowing him to marry as many women as he pleased. Although many good sayings and deeds are related to him, on the other end his life account is also full of stomach churning incidents. I became skeptical of him and I felt that the character of Muhammad reported in Hadith was a moral paradox. He certainly is not the best example for human beings and if he were alive today, he would have been sent to prison. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but my belief was so strong that I decided to reject all Hadith books. I convinced myself that Hadith are not authentic.
One by one I had rejected most of the things claimed by Islam. I thought to myself that the only thing on which I could base my belief in Islam, was Quran. I believed, as it is commonly believed that Quran is the direct word of God and is free from any corruption. To be honest, I never finished reading the Quran because it was too boring and I used to feel sorry for myself not to appreciate the precious and eloquent word of God. But the little that I did read, completely blew me away. It was full of such laws and commandments that could never be word of an all Good God. The God of Quran totally condones owning female slaves for sex, commands brutal punishments for thieves and adulterers, recommends beating of wives, restricts women rights to half of men in court testimonies and inheritance, and even sanctions child brides. He persuades us to use our intellect yet not to ask questions, has created the universe yet makes erroneous claims about science. And before I tried to reject that, I asked myself who was I trying to fool? I decided that if this is the all good, all knowing God, I don’t want anything to do with such a god.
I began losing my faith. I moved to philosophical questions and asked myself why does God need worship? Why did he send all prophets to the middle east? Who guided the indigenous Amazon tribes who had their first contact with outer world couple of years ago. Why did He send books only in pre-scientific era? There are more non-believing and misguided people in these times, why doesn’t he send us a prophet now? Whats the purpose of life? What is it that he wants to test? I never opted to take the test. Why is he always threatening the non-believers? Surely he could have created a more reasonable religion. Why would he punish people for rejecting something that lacks reason. The torment in hell is so brutal that no human would suggest it for a criminal or disbeliever? Does this mean we are better moral beings than God?
There are so many questions that made me doubt all religions. I went through the most mentally disturbed period of my life. But I came out strong in the end, rejected Islam and became a Deist. Finally, I want to say that I tried my best to believe in a God’s religion. But he has left no room for reason and rationality. Mankind is suffering from pain, disease, filth, agony, hunger and corruption, while God sits back and enjoys the show. I have recently read a story of a taxi driver in Pakistan who poisoned himself, his wife and children because he was too poor to feed them. The god who not only allows such suffering but also ordains eternal torture in hell as punishment for suicide, and yet claims to be Ar-Raziq (The Provider) and Ar-Rahim (The Merciful) is a sadist, selfish, morally corrupt and a hypocrite. And is certainly not the God, I would like to believe in.