But anyway, if you really want to argue the issue, go refute HT's points as they are much less vulnerable to this sort of argument. You can reply to my points but quite frankly I'd rather see you answer HT's.
I did want to address his concerns, but there was a lot there and I just realized that that post would take a long time to write. I'll see if I can't handle a few things now. Brace yourselves for a wall of text.1.
God was directly responsible for Job's suffering.
No. He simply allowed it to happen in order to prove an important point. Look at it this way: A terrorist blows up 20 people. Whose fault is it, the terrorist's or the government's that refused to negotiate with terrorists?2.
What was so important about that point he was trying to prove? What is with God and allowing his faithful followers to suffer horribly and/or die because of their loyalty?
This is the
big question. It comes down to whether humanity needs God or not. I'll explain:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. (Hitchhikers Guide joke goes here)
He made angels, who were perfect, and two humans, who were perfect. They were perfect in the sense that their bodies and minds were without flaw: While they all had free will, they had complete control over their thoughts and impulses.
One of the perfect angels would become known as Satan. He was not content to allow God to be the god of everything; Satan wanted humans to worship him instead, and the first step in that was to turn them against God. He deceived Eve, who fell for it since she'd never seen deception before. Adam was not
deceived, he consciously made a decision to disobey God's command to eat from that tree. The consequences of that choice were the removal of his perfect condition, and that of all humans who would be born from him. This introduced sin and imperfection into humanity.
Why didn't God just eliminate them and start over then and there? For one, it'd be like a kid flipping the game board when his opponent makes a move he doesn't like. For another thing, the issue that Satan raised needed to be addressed: "Do humans need God, or will we be fine by ourselves?"
God never wanted people to suffer. If Adam had stayed loyal, the Earth would still be filled with perfect people who could live in peace and safety. This is still the ultimate goal. But for now, instead, God allows humanity to try to make their own way in order to prove to Satan, the other angels, and humanity as a whole, what the correct course is.
People who remain loyal to God and serve him the way that he intends are rewarded now by inner peace, and attempt to make and keep peace with all those around them, and will be rewarded in the future for their loyalty. Those who oppose God and live their lives contrary to the way he instructs are not directly punished. But that thinking is what led to the world being in its current state where we have fear, violence, war, greed and selfishness, and suffering.3.
What's up with Jesus getting tortured and murdered?
Jesus, the Son of God, was born as a perfect human. He had three reasons to be here: The first was to prove that a perfect human could endure everything that could be thrown at him and stay loyal until death. The second was that a perfect, loyal, human life was needed to balance the perfect, disloyal
human life of Adam; this was the only thing that could satisfy God's sense of justice. The third was to tell us how the salvation of the human race would happen, and how we could be imperfect but still acceptable to God.4.
What's about Hell? I thought you said that God didn't want people to suffer?
He doesn't. Hell, as popularly thought of as a place of eternal torment, is not a real thing in the Bible. When a person dies, the place he goes that is usually translated as "hell" is simply "the grave" or the condition of being dead. Ecclesiastes 9:5 says that the dead are conscious of nothing at all. Besides, a place where people are tortured for eternity for the sins of a few years is incompatible with a loving God. And yes, I do believe that he is loving, because despite all the pain in the world, I know why it is and that it won't last forever.
OK. I know that didn't address everything here, but hopefully it'll be a start. Let me know if anybody'd like something specific.