The Atheists’ question ‘Why do bad things happen to good people’ or ‘If God is all good then how is it that He lets bad things happen’ has been answered many times and in this series of articles I will go through the many answers to this question.
The common answer that religious people give is ‘because human beings were created with free will’. This doesn’t satisfy the Atheist because the response is something on the lines of ‘yes but God could still have prevented these bad things happening’.
Actually, people don’t have as much free will as they think they have or the world would have been destroyed by now. But people in the West talk about freedom as being something that is almost sacrosanct. Democracy is seen as the ideal system of government as it gives people ‘freedom’ (or so some people believe); slavery is seen as the most undesired system to live under as there is no freedom. In fact, in many countries the main punishment is to deprive people of their freedom in prisons.
Freedom requires people to have the choice to make their own mistakes. Many parents have watched in dismay as their children reach a certain age and make really bad decisions. There’s nothing the parents can do legally and any parent has to accept that this is the consequence of living in a free society.
So when the religious person says people are able to bad things because they have free will, they are seeing God as a great Father who having created his children has to watch in despair as they make bad decisions. Much of the terminology in the Bible reflects this view of God as the Father.
So in answer to the Atheists’ who ask why it is that God gave humans free will but allows them to do ‘bad’ things (and I’ll review this concept of good and bad in another article), the answer is that if he didn’t he would not be giving humans free will. Free will requires that people can make their own mistakes.
By Philip Braham on July 15, 2018