“…although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” ~Helen Keller
There is much suffering in the world. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that statement, or find it controversial in any way. It was true in Helen Keller’s time, and it is true today. In fact, it has always been true. There has always been much suffering in this world.
It is just as true that there have always been people working to ease that suffering. Compassion and kindness have been a part of human behavior for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years:
(6) Indeed, the earliest toothless hominin in the world who lived 1.8 million years ago comes from Dmanisi (Lordkipanidze et al. 2005). The complete absence of teeth of D3444 / D3900 means that he had survived for a lengthy period without consuming foods that required heavy chewing. Instead, he might have consumed soft foods and might have had the help from other individuals.
Whenever there is suffering in the world, the best response to it is compassion and kindness. Compassion, to understand that people are hurting; and kindness, to take action to ease that pain. Without compassion, we are not motivated to act, and without kindness, our actions may not be helpful. In fact, without kindness, our actions might be more harmful than helpful. We could make a bad situation much worse if we act without kindness.
The fact that innocent children are made to suffer is all the evidence I need to deny the existence of god or any supernatural force for good in this world. Every minute of every day, children are abused, molested, and raped. If there is a god, he/she/it watches it happen, and does nothing. Crimes are committed every day, and the victims suffer while the perpetrators go free. Even if you remove the actions of other people, there are still natural disasters that harm and kill innocents every day. Nothing stops this from happening. There is no justice in this world, nor karma, and there aren’t any gods, genies, or guardian angels watching over us and protecting us.
As compelling as this argument is to me, I understand that it isn’t proof for everyone. People have their own reasons for believing in deities, and I’m smart enough to know that nothing I say will convince them to abandon those beliefs. So, I’ve given up trying. Instead, I invite all believers to consider the following:
Bad things happen. This is incontrovertible. If god exists, it does not stop these things from happening. There is nothing noble, kind, just, or compassionate about allowing innocents to suffer. The question, then, is why does god allow bad things to happen? Why does god sit back and do nothing when children are molested? Why does god allow innocent people to suffer?
Believers from many different faiths have tried to answer this question. I think it’s a “universal” question that almost all human beings struggle with from time to time. Maybe one of the answers provided by your religion satisfies you, or maybe you’ve come up with your own answer that comforts you. However, it doesn’t really matter, because nothing changes this one simple fact: Bad things happen.
Bad things happen, and god does nothing to stop them. Because god didn’t prevent it, he/she/it must have wanted it to happen. I know many believers will try to argue about this, but my logic is infallible. God could have stopped it, but didn’t. For whatever reason, god wanted it to happen.
Because god wanted it to happen, your prayers will always be ineffectual. Thoughts and prayers are worthless. No god is going to undo what they wanted to happen. So, there won’t be any miracles, no matter how hard you pray, or how many people pray, or to what god you all pray.
Atheists don’t waste time praying. If they want to help, they simply roll up their sleeves and get to work. Either they donate money, or they volunteer their time and skills. Their compassion inspires them to act with kindness. The compassion helps soothe and comfort the victims, and the kindness helps heal whatever damage was caused.
If a god exists, and if that god is kind and benevolent, then it probably wants you to act more like an atheist, and less like a believer. Stop praying, and start doing.
“I believe we should so act that we may draw nearer and more near the age when no man shall live at his ease while another suffers.” ~Helen Keller