Nasty By Design

In a rather heated post a little while back, I railed against the notion that a merciful God would permit suffering such as that of little Abigail Taylor, the six-year-old girl who was recently disemboweled in a horrifying accident. The universal, reciprocal cruelty of the natural world also offers bountiful evidence that even if some sort of God exists, He cares not a fig for the torment of the living beings for whose existence He is reponsible.

In yesterday’s mail, correspondent Edward Babinski sent along a link to a website that extends this line of reasoning even farther than I had thought to take it; arguing that God is not indifferent, or nonexistent, but malicious. Have a look here.

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  1. But none of that disproves the existence of a God (using that title in a non-religious, neutral sense). Existence might indeed be a cruel and capricious experience but we fight tooth and nail to keep it going as long as possible.

    I say again, whilst apologising for my tediousness, that the proposition “God exists” and its negative are unprovable and therefor belief in either is a matter of faith. The only rational stance is agnosticism. In this, as in so many other aspects of my life, I remain contentedly a ‘Don’t Know’ – although some might describe me as a ‘Know Nothing’!

    Posted August 30, 2007 at 7:48 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Hi David,

    You are right, of course, and most sophisticated thinkers have long ago abandoned the notion that one might prove the nonexistence of God. The very notion of God as described by most religions is carefully tuned — by a kind of selection pressure — to be intrinsically invulnerable to such efforts.

    This does not mean, however, that one must regard the existence and nonexistence of God as equally likely, however — and this, too, varies according to what one means by “God”. I consider the existence of the involved, personal, intentional, petitionable-by-prayer and noting-the-fall-of-every-sparrow God unlikely in the extreme, and I think atheism, at least as regards a God like that, is a perfectly respectable position.

    Posted August 30, 2007 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  3. Did you know that Chuck Palahniuk wrote a short story involving being disemboweled in precisely the same way? Sick and sad. I thought of that when I read this article when it came out, and had to check the calendar to ensure it was not April first.

    Posted October 1, 2007 at 3:13 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Hi Maven,

    No – I haven’t read any Pahlaniuk, but it does sounnd like the sort of thing he’d come up with, from what I’ve heard. What a horrible accident.

    Posted October 1, 2007 at 4:20 pm | Permalink
  5. Yes. Indeed.

    And if you were so inclined, the title of the short story is simply named, “Guts.” .

    Posted October 2, 2007 at 3:26 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Honestly, I think I can do without that one.

    Posted October 2, 2007 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
  7. In hindsight I find it fascinating, not in the graphic depiction of what that little girl no doubt when through. I find it fascinating, wondering what type of research Palahniuk had to do in order to tell that story so accurately… the disembowling aspect of it, I mean, and then the after effect, where the main character’s growth is stunted and doesn’t grow beyond how big he was that day.

    Posted October 3, 2007 at 12:31 pm | Permalink