The theodicy tangent to our series on religious choice continues with several more eloquent emails from readers. To reader John, the problem of suffering leads him to think that “God is a human construct, and somebody needs to send god back to rewrite.” He looks to the ancients for consistency:
The question of theodicy, for me (an atheist), is not so much “why does god allow so much suffering?” as it is “what is the nature of this god you believe in?”
The real contradictions I see are between the realities of the world, supposedly created and overseen by god, and the descriptions of their god by the faithful. They don’t mesh. The ancient Greeks were much more honest, I think, in their depictions of their gods. Greek gods were petty, arbitrary, powerful and mean-spirited. As such, they fit the world we live in.
Christians, Muslims and Jews all describe a god that is benevolent, just, omnipotent, and omniscient—which doesn’t fit our world one bit. If you’re determined to believe in a god, Zeus makes a lot more sense than the supposed Christian “heavenly father.”
Another reader, Jonathan, questions the omnipotence of God even further than John but doesn’t think it necessarily negates God:
When it comes to theodicy, I wish we could avoid trapping ourselves in ideas of perfection and infallibility.