On a TV program, a comedian commented – what could be more arrogant than to pray to the God who didn’t stop the Holocaust, or to pray for Him to help you find your car keys – because if God had been present at the Holocaust surely he would have stopped it. As a Christian, I wondered how I would construct a respectful response. Thank you.
@fishdog137 Good question I would encourage you to pray carefully about whether or not it is wise to speak in response to statements such as this one and, if so, how best to approach the individual with whom you want to talk. Rebuking a mocker may not be a valuable investment of time or energy.
Proverbs 9:8 - Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.
Here are some thoughts and resources I hope you find helpful
- without God, there is no absolute basis for morality by which to declare the holocaust as evil - by arguing for the nonexistence of God based on suffering, you actually make suffering itself meaningless - it is self-defeating
- we should not judge God’s actions until we see how things play out in eternity - one of the fundamental tenants of Scripture is that this life is not the end and that God will judge righteously - both against the wicked and for the innocent - we have not yet seen the end of the story
- the cross is proof that God loves us (Romans 5:8) - only in Christ do we find God suffering with us - no other religion or philosophy provides such a profound demonstration of God’s love for humanity
- while some people reject God in the midst of their suffering, many who suffer even unto death actually find great strength in God in the midst of the horror - Corrie Ten Boom’s testimony from the Nazi camps is an example - or the African American’s who clung to God through the horrors of slavery
St. Bernards and No-seeums
Flaw: If suffering/evil appears pointless to me, it must be pointless.
“Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely, that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless. …Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one. Again we see lurking within supposedly hard-nosed skepticism an enormous faith in one’s own cognitive faculties. If our minds can’t plumb the depths of the universe for good answers to suffering, well, then, there can’t be any! This is blind faith of a high order.”
St. Bernards and No-seeums
Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga provides an illustration to address the above flaw in reasoning. “If you look into your pup-tent for a St. Bernard, and you don’t see one, it is reasonable to assume that there is no St. Bernard in your tent. But if you look into your pup tent for a ‘no-see-um’ (an extremely small insect with a bite out of all proportion to its size) and you don’t see any, it is not reasonable to assume that they are not there. Because, after all, no one can see 'em. Many assume that if there were good reasons for the existence of evil, they would be accessible to our minds, more like St. Bernards than like no-see-ums, but why should that be the case?”