Rocket Kirchner addresses Steven Fry’s critique of God out at Dandelion Salad. Fry interprets the existence of suffering as proof that the Christian God is a fantasy. My response to one skeptic follows:
Here is the conundrum: If the “fantasy God” made a perfect world in which everything unfolded according to his will, then there would be nothing to love, because his will would be all. Since love requires an object to exist, the creation of such a universe would be a form of self-annihilation.
So we are granted the option to not heed the will of God – we are allowed our own free will. Unfortunately, many of us chose to play at being gods ourselves, and it is in imposing our will upon others that sin occurs.
The Christian proposition is that if we learn to submit ourselves in service to one another, we obtain access to enormous amounts of power. I won’t bother you with how that manifests in the New Testament – you’d simply assert that science disproves the possibility of the events that transpired. But to the person of faith, the healing accomplished by Jesus and the Apostles indicate that many ills that we suffer are not of God’s will. In fact, if we surrendered ourselves to the dictates of love as Jesus did, those ills would be unable to obtain purchase upon us.
So Rocket is right: we are misguided to refuse (or worse, misuse) the gift of love and then decry the consequences of its absence. And it is hypocrisy for Fry to say “God, you didn’t intervene to save the children!” when God created Fry and gave him wealth to so intervene. We were made in God’s image, which can be interpreted as “we are his intervention.”
And, given the huge amount of charitable work and giving provided by people of faith, to challenge faith is also counter-productive. The faithful understand that the world is imperfect. We simply choose to keep on giving, in part because we feel our hope sustained by the endless love that arises in our hearts.