Christopher Hitchens On Human Suffering

Submitted by: imnakdjumpme 5 years ago in

When questioned about what comfort athiest can provide the downtrodden, Hitchens posed a disturbing but moving point.
There are 73 comments:
Male 4,290
[quote]Hitchens was bisexual as a young man.[/quote]
True. Does the slur that other guy used apply to bi people too? I thought it just meant gay people.

[quote]we should be showing both sides of the story in the context that, "ok kids, this is what some people believe, and this is what others believe. use your judgement to decide what you believe."[/quote]
That`s fine, in a theology or a philosophy class. It`s not fine in a science class, because that`s not science.

[quote]at the end of the day all any of us has is our faith in the beliefs that we hold as individuals.[/quote]
The atheist position doesn`t require faith. That`s kind of the point.
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Male 10
2L82Pray: You hit the nail on the head. to deviate a little, Christ said it perfectly when he said to "remove the log from your own eye before pointing out the spec in your brother`s eye". If we all just focused on being a better individual, we wouldn`t be hatin` so much on everyone else. Also, I liked your famele descriptive of God, really opens a man`s eyes to the possible realities of the universe, and the fact that, at the end of the day all any of us has is our faith in the beliefs that we hold as individuals. I may not agree with atheism, but I do respect the rights of others to believe what they will.
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Male 10
and the denominations, I can understand the powerplay theory, and to a degree I see that happening. Personally, I consider myself a biblical christian, in that I`ll agree with the views of anyone that agrees with the infallible word of God. There are aspects of every denomination that I disagree with, so I identify myself solely as a christian based on its literal meaning, "follower of the Christ". In addition, it may sound cheesey but I`d like to apologize to you for every hateful thing a christian has every said to you, and I ask that you not hold it against Jesus, weather you believe in him or not, because segregation and anger were not his message. He spent the majority of his time with secularists and the "heathens" of his time, not because he cared about them more or anything like that, but because he did in fact love them just as much, and he saw that he could help them the most. We`re all human beings here, and in the end we should all be extending arms to f
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Male 10
Otto:
You bring up some very good points. There are many christians out there who preach hatred toward those who think differently (ateheists), and that kind of attitude makes me sick. The true christian perspective is to love everyone, regardless of what they do or believe because Christ showed mankind that we are all flawed, and that forgiveness is the true key to happiness. as for the whole school curriculum debate, I do kind of see it as infringement of total freedom of speech, but not for the same reasons. I see it like this: it`s impossible for us to use physical evidence to PROVE one way or the other, so to be completely impartial (which is what public schools should strive for) then we should be showing both sides of the story in the context that, "ok kids, this is what some people believe, and this is what others believe. use your judgement to decide what you believe." but of course the debate of religion is too emotionally fueled on both sides for that to happen
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Female 70
People are the problem with the world. Not God, not Religion, or the lack thereof. I`ve been utterly disgusted lately by the things I`ve seen people write on line. Everyone hates the USA. Americans hate everyone who isn`t American/believe their creed. Atheists hate Christians, Muslims hate Christians, Christians hate everyone. You want answers. Look Inside YOURSELVES! Look into the heart of your neighbor. If you commit an act of violence, cruelty or evil on another YOU ARE EVIL. Not God, not Atheists, not Muslims, not the USA. YOU. As a single individual. You suck. You wonder why God doesn`t stick around and answer prayers? If I were Her I`d have abandoned us a long time ago, too. Humanity is stupid, disgusting and Evil at the core. God didn`t make you do it. You did it. You want to change that, Change Yourself and Help your Neighbor and quit, judging, blaming and vilifying everyone/everything else
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Male 7,123
almightybob1

Hitchens was bisexual as a young man. He claimed he had to drop the gay side when he started to lose his looks. He also claimed to have buggered three future tory cabinet ministers while at Oxford.
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Male 438
Carot091:

Watch the video on the link and it will give you an idea of the hate that some christians have towards atheists. Right here
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Male 438
carot091:

I agree being mean is not necessary, but when powerful politicians in this country make statements that athiests are not citizens and do not have a right to voice their opinions people who identify as athiest get angry and rightfully so. At the same time some christian organizations claim their free speech is being infringed upon by not being able to teach religion in science classes and take it one step further by claiming persucution. The label `christian` really is not a good one since there are no denominations that are in agreement with any one teaching of `christianity`. Christians should go back to identifying themselves as individual denominations (catholic, southern baptist, ect.) but they adopted the term `christian` as a way of pooling their power, this has had a negative effect as well, reasonable christians get lumped in with the Fred Phelps and Pat Robertsons of the world. Go back to specific identification.
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Male 10
I just want to say something to anyone commenting on the side of anti-religion. I say this with no contempt, but rather a sincere concern. But doesn`t it bother you how much anger and bitter hatred there is in your comments? just look at the argument from a neutral standpoint, because it astounds me how anti-christian arguments never fail to be mean-spirited, bitter, and full of contempt. Atheists get extremely defensive when christians make a public showing of their faith, or try to integrate it into society, but then retort by doing the exact same. I`ve commented several times speaking of only compassion and common ground, as have others, yet those comments are met almost unanimously with venom and malice. It`s the way of the world I guess, and always will be until we wake up and realize it`s the things each one of us does and says that makes it such an evil place. Like it or not, I`ll be praying for all of you. Lord knows how bad we all need it right now...
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Male 4,290
[quote]nor is it Mr. Hitchens` mom`s fault that he`s (was) a fagg. [/quote]
He wasn`t gay. Nice display of loving your neighbour though.

[quote]My point is when something bad happens, most i-a-b-ers are prone to blame it on the religion everyone loves to hate, but the reality is you guys are just looking for a scapegoat to help you feel better about yourselves. [/quote]
Ironically, it`s not atheists that blame God when something bad happens, but believers. Hence the newspaper headlines "Where was God?". Atheists would not blame God, because atheists do not believe in God so that makes no sense.

What we might blame is the idea that faith is an admirable quality, or the teachings of a book that promote genocide and sex slavery.
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Male 1
Whether the atheist makes a point or not is irrelevant if he just uses that point to sidestep the question.
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Male 321
The reason why things like that happen is because we have free will and we make choices that effect other people.

It`s not God`s fault or religion`s fault that guy did that, nor is it Mr. Hitchens` mom`s fault that he`s (was) a fagg.

My point is when something bad happens, most i-a-b-ers are prone to blame it on the religion everyone loves to hate, but the reality is you guys are just looking for a scapegoat to help you feel better about yourselves.

Bashing Christianity or any other religion won`t help guys, and you may try to blame it on conservatives, but that wont help either.

So my advice, quit being dumbasses and phucking get some damn sense.
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Male 104
@zombunny Religion is largely based on emotional manipulation.
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Male 528
why hasn`t god struck me down yet?

ANSWER THAT BEACHES!!
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Male 2,214
Since there is no god, it`s kind of a moot point.
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Male 2,855
Thursday, January 12, 2012 8:10:06 AM
Christianity:
The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie, who was his own father, can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh, drink his blood and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

looks legit to me
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Male 1,243
Again we have one of many arguments which really does highlight how utterly ridiculous traditional religious beliefs are. It truly does astound me how people can still have these beliefs, it must be a weakness of the mind.
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Female 2,525
I`ve never liked this argument against religion, because I just feel like it`s too emotionally charged to be taken seriously.
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Male 438
Stickman: I assume you are referring to this definition of symbolism.

b : the use of conventional or traditional signs in the representation of divine beings and spirits.

Symbols do not make something true. The symbolism is absurd.
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Male 18
Great job OTTO, now look up symbolism.
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Male 438
Christianity:
The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie, who was his own father, can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh, drink his blood and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

Delusion: a fixed belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact.
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Male 4,290
[quote]Why does God allowing suffering in the world? Well, where was the world`s faith in God before they were suffering?[/quote]
So God wants people to suffer so they will worship him. That`s what a dictator does.

[quote]If you aren`t with God through the good, why would he be there for you during the bad? [/quote]
I thought he was meant to be an eternally loving father, not a petulant child in the huff.

[quote]Wrong, Mankind created evil through sin. Evil exists because of us, not God.[/quote]
Lamentations 3:38, Amos 3:6 and Isaiah 45:7 all disagree with you.
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Male 9
@CrakrJak

I`m an atheist and i`m accustomed to seeing religious people saying stupid things when trying to back up god... but your comment gave me hope for the people in Christianity :P
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Male 52
the only God that exists is called "evolution" helped by a lot of "coincidence".
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Male 4,902
Religion is like a penis.
It`s fine to have one.
It`s fine to be proud of it.
But please don`t whip it out in public and start waving it around.
And PLEASE don`t try and shove it down my children`s throats.
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Male 10
JustaHuman and CrakrJak, excellent points. It`s very common to hear, "If God loves us/If God exists, why is there so much evil in the world?" It`s not like this evil comes up from the ground and smacks people in the face. It comes from us, brother to brother, sister to sister. A common atheist argument is that God should just "get rid of all the evil". It`s an inherent fact that humans screw up, on a pretty regular basis too. So If God were to take this suggestion, where would he stop? Does he JUST destroy those who kill? or rape? or cheat others out of money? or lie? or all of the above? Sin can be so small or so large in our eyes, but to the Lord it`s all the same. It`s all evil, and he has to sit there and watch us destroy ourselves, having nothing but sadness and love for us in his heart, hoping that one day we`ll become aware of our evil ways. God wants a personal relationship with every human being, but it`s the sin of every single individual that stands in th
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Male 17,512
[quote]God created evil and allows it to exist for reasons completely unknown to us.[/quote]

Wrong, Mankind created evil through sin. Evil exists because of us, not God. We have the freewill to do good or evil, we are not puppets.

Sure, God has the power to destroy evil, to do that he would have to destroy sin, which would mean destroying the source of that sin, namely us.

Instead God loves us and to prove it he sent his only son Jesus Christ to die, as payment for our sins. He simplified everything, yet left us with our freewill. It`s up to us, accept his son into our hearts and clean our souls of sin, or allow that sin to build and create evil for us.
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Male 109
If you hate religion check this vid i saw today,i can dissagree with few points he has but its solid http://youtu.be/1IAhDGYlpqY
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Male 109
kummi90-You think your sad about the injustice and sin falling on the innocent?I dont know if you have kids or not but,imagine your own children killing eachother everyday,he has to watch his own children starve and die because of hate and greed,You dont think the Lord mourns everyday for his children.whatever breaks your heart its even worse for god,we put him through hell and all he can do is watch and mourn.
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Male 109
Carot091 "1. Love Christ, and 2. Love your fellow man"

Yes plz
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Male 109
Cola3-Cmon man give god a break he created the universe in 6 days he knows the end and the begining,the moment he created the earth he had YOU in his mind,When Christ died he had YOU in his prayers....whats wrong with a bit of worship and praise if he deserves it xD
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Male 10
Given, christianity has SEVERAL flaws, just as anything else humans do does. But those flaws are all due to our own imperfections. The Word of God, and God in general, are perfect, and if we followed them perfectly, THAT would be the perfect religion. But the Bible says we are imperfect, and that we will inevitably continue to screw up. But he beautiful part about it is that God doesn`t judge our sins if we just believe in Christ and ask him to forgive us. That`s literally all it takes. Think about every flaw you`ve ever seen in the Christian belief system and ask yourself, is it an inherent problem with the faith, or is it just something stupid that someone did. Because all of the christian doctrine can be summed up with two commandments, 1. Love Christ, and 2. Love your fellow man.
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Female 8,001
I love the thought that because I quoted Epicurus- nice riddle- I have not read the bible. Yes, I have- both Old and New. New is too cobbled together about one person and rather boring- Old is fascinating. Both are cobbled together from various texts- some bits are most likely historical accounts others are religious books. Doesn`t show anything about the existence of any god as The Bible was incontrovertibly written by men over quite a long period of time.
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Male 1,252
To say there could have been `something` is the only truly logical answer when it comes to religion, both extremes base their entire philosophy on hope/faith/probability/assumption. Maybe the bible was like `Star wars` of the zero year..maybe it was an alien ..maybe some dude had a little too much absynth and seen another dude walk on water lol.

I sincerely doubt theres some omnipotent being seeing all things at all times judging our one mistake as a reason to send us to a fiery inferno for all eternity...but...there have been times out hitch hiking (northern Canada) and literally came close to freezing to death (the sensation to just go crawl in the nearest hole and sleep) and you damn skippy I prayed to god to "get me the drat out this poo man!"

Although some people take it to extreme..and among its MANY MANY faults..it does have its benefits.

+ church girls are hot lol.
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Male 10
It is the job of the blessed to take care of the oppressed. The job of the well-off to take care of the suffering. The job of the healthy to take care of the sick. God put us all on Earth together for a purpose: to build each other up and to stand against pain and suffering as a united front. But is that what we`re doing? No, we`re all on this thread arguing about some thing that some guy said at some conference. We all agree that suffering sucks and is unfair, but are we willing to work together and do anything about it. Put your actions where your words are and stand up for whatever HELPS OTHERS. But if you`re really curious about God, then think or say to yourself, "Lord show me your love." If the atheists are right then what do they have to lose by doing it, but say it or think it, and really put your heart and soul/essence/self into it. Mean it and want it, and just be open to whatever happens. But I can`t guarantee an answer if you can`t guarantee sincerity.
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Male 10
I see alot of anger and bitterness in some of the comments on here, and that hurts my heart. I`ve slipped in my faith a number of times because of this very question. I`ve never understood why suffering is allowed in the world. But despite this, I`ve seen too many things and heard too many stories to doubt the existence of God. Therefore, I truly believe the Bible is the word of God. Countless times I`ve prayed things silently to myself, and been blessed with an answer to those prayers. Countless other times, I`ve seen no answer. But down the road I always find myself looking back and seeing that things worked out for the best. I can`t speak for anyone else, but I know God`s love is more powerful than anything we can comprehend, and if we give ourselves to Him and live how he wants us to then he will give us more joy and happiness in our hearts than any amount of physical suffering can take away. But we can`t be ignorant enough to think we can hold on to our sin and still be blessed.
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Male 10
Another unfair argument I`ve seen put up by atheists is this: Why does God allowing suffering in the world? Well, where was the world`s faith in God before they were suffering? When things are good, we`re so quick to praise ourselves on what we`ve accomplished, but when things are bad we`re equally quick to blame God. This is a very contradictory argument. How does it make sense to expect God to instantly remove our pain and suffering when we aren`t willing to tithe our blessings, or go out into the world and share them with others? If you aren`t with God through the good, why would he be there for you during the bad?
There are alot of believers who are in pain as well, but that is the spiritual oppression the Bible speaks of. Satan is a liar and deceiver, and will do anything to direct the anger and retribution of humanity toward the father when in fact it is Lucifer who oppresses the human race. It is Lucifer who puts temptations for evil into our hearts and Lucifer who is to bl
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Male 10
There once lived a little boy. Like any little boy, he made mistakes while growing up, and always his parents were happy to take care of everything for him. They painstakingly worked to prevent him from suffering in any way, and to always make sure he was happy. When the little boy grew up, the world consumed him and his ignorance, because he was never able to learn to pick himself up.
God`s greatest gift to humanity, behind the savior Jesus Christ, is our free will. instead of creating his own minecraft, God allows us to do what WE want, regardless of what that is. And one thing I`ve noticed about alot (not all) atheists is that they are very quick to reprimand God for this gift. Suffering is caused by sin, but it seems so unfair that the innocent suffer as a result of the guiltys` sins. I can`t explain why, but I do know that suffering in the world provides opportunity for those who have been blessed with happiness to share that happiness with the much less fortunate.
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Male 542
Hitchens sure shot down the questioner, all right, but it`s a real shame to be left with the "Tough poo" answer
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Male 15,187
@SunnyNphilly

Yes, god is either imaginary, impotent, evil, unaware, or indifferent. Either way, he/she/it`s irrelevant.
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Male 541
jpfu220: Assuming you believe in the Bible;
Isaiah 45:7 (KJV)
"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

If your are not; it doesn`t matter. Perfectly good, is he?
"we choose to". Did we, really? Did you? Cause I sure as drat didn`t.
"Why do people suffer? Because someone is exercising free will to sin against someone else".
What? are you suggesting that other people have to pay the price for some other people`s "sinning". How would a good God ever allow this? Children dying everyday. Innocent children who have done nothing wrong. You defend this by claiming "sin". What perverse God would punish some people for OTHER`S mistakes? Your post is sickening, and so is your beliefs.
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Male 645
Jesus loves the little children
all the children of the world


(except the impoverished, starving, neglected, and abused ones)

If you don`t understand, I`m calling your religion idiotic.
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Male 2,855
god plays sim universe, but as every sim game everyone ends up hating micromanagement
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Male 17,512
jpfu220: Bravo, Well said.
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Male 8
Replace that picture of God doing nothing about starving African children with a picture of Christopher Hitchens and all of these other atheists sitting on THEIR couch making HATE videos about people`s way of life, putting so much effort into trying to make people look stupid.

Not to mention this Hitchens guy has probably dismissed at least 90% of the Bible. Practically the entire Old Testament is about Israel being defeated, their daughters raped, and the rest sold into slavery at the invading nation`s homeland.

Invalid argument is invalid. Life`s not fair. Bible states that pretty clearly.
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Male 65
@sarahofborg. God didn`t create evil. Since God is holy, that is, he is perfectly good and pure and righteous in every way, it is not possible for him to do evil/be evil/create evil. Why does He allow suffering to exist? Because we choose to let it exist. The world is broken. Sin is the problem. Why do people suffer? Because someone is exercising free will to sin against someone else. Famine in a country and rebel groups steal UN supplies? sin. Girl kept in a basement and raped? (obviously) sin. I steal candy from a kid? sin. All sin, and all brought about by our own free will. God doesn`t cause suffering. People do. He gave us the fix. We nailed that fix to a cross.
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Male 438
"Would it be boring then?"

Yes
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Male 434
Cola, I think it depends on your POV.
Not that it matters, cause it`s a fable and all, but what if, hypothetically of course, it was awesome to praise him, and there were virtually countless ways to do it?
And what if it felt REALLY good, and you got to do it for EVER and closer and more intense than you ever did here? Would it be boring then?
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Male 55
@jadoig it sounds incredibly boring to stroke gods ego for eternity.
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Male 434
Cola: You make it sound like a bad thing. LOL.
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Male 39,614

What ever happened to blaming bad stuff on the Devil?
We could go back to that.
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Female 3,562
There is no known justification for the suffering in the world. Even the most faithful have failed to justify it. God created evil and allows it to exist for reasons completely unknown to us. That sure doesn`t help me feel better.
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Male 55
@jadoig yahweh commands to be praised and loved, and he smote countless people in the bible who disrespected him. like a kid killing ants with a magnifying glass. and if believe in him, you spend eternity praising him and singing his glory. and if you dont believe in him you burn for eternity. both sound pretty boring. clearly it is just a fable.
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Male 434
I like Justahuman`s theory of a good vs evil experiment. Kind of ties things together nicely from a God standpoint. I don`t see where it presents God as a "hateful kid with a self esteem issue". If it did, then God would be forcing us to love Him instead of giving us the option.

Madduck:
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. - He is supposed to be omnipotent so he must be able.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. - This seems to fit the bill, except He is supposed to be Love, so He cannot be malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? - I posit Evil comes from people as a balance for good.
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? - This is not the case as stated above.

I posit that, assuming He exists, He is willing and able but has constrained himself, just as a parent might constrain themselves from bailing out a child who has done wrong.
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Male 55
@Justahuman that is a gross rationalization. you have to come up with silly excuses and rationalizations for god every time you`re presented with logic. your argument turns god into a hateful kid with a self esteem issue, with a magnifying glass. and that is just ludicrous.
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Male 109
Madduck-Epicurus quote clearly the argument of someone who has not read the bible.If god acted out and destroyed all evil,he would destroy his living experiment of good vs evil it would also prove his existence to the rest of humanity forcing them to believe in him because they got the proof we are all dying to see.That would be like forcing someone to love you which is not real love.He gives us the choice to love him, hate him, or ignore him.This makes the choice to love him more beautiful in his eyes.
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Male 55
is acceptance not comfort enough that you have to believe to believe in fantastic fairy tales instead?
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Male 434
Simple truth: Sometimes there can be no comfort to give.
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Male 434
Hitchens` answer doesn`t hold water. His claim that it is immoral to say "It`s ok, the reward in Heaven will be worth the pain (s)he went through on earth" is false. If it provided no comfort, if it made worse the pain of the one being counseled to say so, then it would be immoral. If however you are seeking counsel from someone who would say such a thing, you are likely a believer and would take comfort in such an idea. Therefore saying such a thing is perfectly moral, especially if you believe it to be truth.
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Male 309
@DixxyRarr he`s not arguing that there is no god, he`s countering the question of "What hope does having and atheist viewpoint offer to people" by pointing out how even if he couldn`t come up with a valid answer neither could the christian religion(s)
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Female 2,228
I was honestly expecting something more brief & acerbic, you know like, "It`ll all be over soon."
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Male 423
when god doesnt answer, switch phone service providers.
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Female 2,674
His argument means nothing to me. I`m pretty atheist myself, but saying that there`s no god because sh*t sucks for some people doesn`t hold much water for me.
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Male 373
Fifteen hundred years` worth of some of the best minds in philosophy and theology have gone extremely deeply into this question and come to some interesting conclusions. Are we to believe that a journalist can, in two and half minutes, pose a salient argument that centuries of philosophical thought hasn`t considered? Or that those of us who attended Sunday school for an hour a week while children managed to glean enough to engage the debate in a meaningful way?
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Female 8,001
Yes Zieverar- but the argument is valid anyway. As for mysterious ways- always makes me laugh as I have visions of the Ministry of Silly walks.
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Male 39,614

She didn`t pray hard enough. When God doesn`t answer it`s your own lack of faith that is at fault.

What`s what I was taught in sunday school... what a load of rubbish.
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Male 415
`God moves in mysterious ways`, or `free will`, I`m sure some will give those as explanation.
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Male 34
Let me sum up what is about to happen

* Christian argument
* Atheist argument
* Christian quote from bible.
* Atheist insult and science fact
* Random agnostic saying both are foolish
* mention of flame war
* Christian final statement
* atheist says "drat you"
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Female 8,001
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
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Male 2,419
good call.
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Male 25,417
right o...
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Male 5,811
Oh, lawdy, here we go.
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Male 598
Link: Christopher Hitchens On Human Suffering [Rate Link] - When questioned about what comfort athiest can provide the downtrodden, Hitchens posed a disturbing but moving point.
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