There is a question that atheists ask, " How can a just God allow bad things to happen to good people "? I say that is the wrong question. The better question is, " How can a just God allow good things to happen to bad people "? We have gotten things exactly backwards today. Good people are belittled, even punished. Bad people are rewarded and even made leaders in society. Rich people get that way through theft, exploitation, and lies. We tolerate them, even encourage them. We have grown to think there's something wrong with the virtuous. Honest, compassionate, empathetic people are schmucks and suckers. Ayn Rand calls them slaves. Milton Friedman encourages the vile, the exploiters, and insists just making money is the only social responsibility anyone has. We need to turn this around. We need to rebuild a world so that the good are rewarded and the bad are punished.
Ask Pinnochio the same questions....lt matters not if a piece of wood lies and a wood nose grows or truth be told.....Waiting For Godot.....there is no sense to be made of insanity.....the alleged word gawd has no meaning....an alleged referent without object
....the absurd false assumption of monotheism is equally insane as talking to icons Thor Zeus Apollo APHRODITE Osiris or alleged baby gawds birthed in dirty donkey stables every December 25th by alleged vaginal virgins magically raped by an alleged angel....an alleged winged humanoid from clouds or an alleged Mormon planet somewhere invented in Fingerlakes NY ....makes perfect sense ?....do you have union change for some Confederate money ? Jefferson Davis is more handsome than Benjamin Franklin
Why would any atheist ask such a question? It’s not atheists who need to ask these questions it’s believers. I don’t waste any time at all on such nonsensical conjecture as I don’t believe there is a god, I thought that was what being an atheist meant.
most atheists who actually ARE atheists don't ask either question. we're not atheists because we believe there is no good god. we are atheists because we believe there are no gods, of any sort. people thinking they might be atheists ask the good god question.
An apt question--let me try to answer it as a Christian would. Long, long ago, when I was still an active member in a church, there was a concept floating around that god cannot see sin. He is so holy that he cannot bear to look upon sinful people. This is why when Jesus was on the cross, he called out, "My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?" At that point, Jesus bore the sins of the world and his "father" had to turn his face. Jesus had to be cleansed by dying and being reborn.
Not only did my pastor buy into this, but others did, too. I remember hearing a preacher on TV (even then, I watched them for amusement, not to learn) castigating men that if they watched porn the night before, god did not hear the blessing given before dinner--and would not until the man stopped watching porn and asked for forgiveness. This inability to see/hear sin extended to those not saved, as well, not just Xtians who sinned.
Meanwhile, Satan is actively rewarding people who sin with money or whatever (it usually involves drugs, alcohol, sex) they lust after, keeping them happy and sated so that they do not seek out Jesus. God does not help the poor and downtrodden pagans and nonbelievers because he cannot see them--which begs the question of how can he love "everyone" if he does not know that they exist? The poor emulate the rich because they, too, want to be rich.
Of course, this argument has many flaws that occurred to be at the time, but I did not question TOO much:
If god can do anything, why can't he see sin?
Would looking upon sin "taint" him? If to think the evil thought is to do the evil thought, if god saw illicit sex, would he "sin"? (Which leads to other questions about Jesus never sinning and sex, but I will leave that one for now.)
Why is Satan only rewarding some people? Are they especially dear to him?
How can god know whom to send to hell if he does not see them?
The last question, in part, is answered the modern idea that god does not send people to hell; we send ourselves by choosing to not believe in Jesus and/or not obey his word. Going to hell is entirely voluntary.
Disregarding the theological context in which your point is framed; corruption, avarice, deceit and the like are lauded so long as they result in financial gain. The slavish pursuit of success by any means is what's behind it. The result; we get people like Trump, McConnell, the Kochs, etx... akways on top because they're not hampered by issues of morality, empathy, right or wrong.
The ranks of the rich and powerful are swollen with scumbags because they're the ones whose greed and immorality benefit from this toxic notion of success at any cost and by any means. Basically, under this system, being a decent human being puts you at a severe disadvantage.
They have turned it on us for a reason. We are now the product. Everyone wants a cell phone that kisses your ass and then makes you breakfast. The American Dream is still alive if you give up that silly idea of companies paying good wages, having healthcare, and stock options. If you want to work 2 or more jobs and have a partner doing the same, it is all still there. Along the way everyone is free to keep up with the Joneses.
I add all this silliness as just one more reason to not believe in gods. The "gods" are the ones doing this to you and they are flesh and blood just as you are.
No atheist will pose such a question- that's like asking why is Santa Clause being nasty to me by giving me horrible presents? Theists do struggle with the question, which is a subset of the problem of evil.
Good and bad are such difficult concepts. Not all rich people get rich through "theft, exploitation and lies" as you claim, and not all poor people are virtuous.
As the Roman playwright Plautus mentioned more than 2000 years ago, Man is a wolf to man.
[Wikipedia: Homō hominī lupus est, is a Latin proverb meaning "A man is a wolf to another man," or more tersely "Man is wolf to man." It has meaning in reference to situations where people are known to have behaved in a way comparably in nature to a wolf. The wolf as a creature is thought, in this example, to have qualities of being predatory, cruel, inhuman i.e. more like an animal than civilized.]
I agree that a portion of humanity seems to snigger behind the backs of the "honest, compassionate, empathetic" people. In my experience it is incredibly difficult to go through this life as an "honest, compassionate, empathetic" person without having your feelings trampled. I think George Bernard Shaw said "It is dangerous to be sincere, unless you are also stupid".
We're living beings driven by evolution to survive and thrive. You live because somewhere one of your great, great grandparents killed somebody, or exploited somebody, or simply took an opportunity that robbed some other person of a livelihood.
Luckily we also figured out such concepts as human rights and moral codes.
There is so much more than "good and bad" to the actions of humans...
There is no god. Trully good people are good without the prospect of eternal reward. We would like to believe that goodness is rewarded, but it isn't. ..certainly not by material wealth, notority and adulation. However goodness is recognised by personal sense of having contributed to the betterment of the world. It is a little thing but if we all chose this path, life for everyone would be better....
I would disagree with the argument that atheists ask how can a God do anything. In the scheme of things where god(s) are imaginary, they do nothing good or bad.
I 100% agree that rewarding good and removing bad from society should be the goal. Now, how does that happen? Good luck with that. Even atheists will resist being told what is right (or even good for society and individuals) but that is what is needed.
This is more a question that people ask when they begin doubting their religion, most people who consider themselves atheist unapologetically don’t need to ask this. The answer someone raised in old time religion would give is that god allowed us free will; we appointed bad leaders and punish the good ourselves. This of course is an example of a broken clock being right twice a day, their faulty logic accidentally leads them to personal responsibility instead of the usual fare of scapegoats and excuses. They still can’t really satisfactorily explain why god chose to interfere and “rectify” things so often in the Old Testament, a little bit in the new and then it’s been crickets for a couple thousand years. They believe he has been intervening when he saw fit I guess and the interventions just coincidentally took subtler terms now that photography and documentable evidence exists.
The first step in disconnecting from the god delusion is not looking for morality or ethics in the realm of the supernatural. You will find neither here, though the thought is certainly comforting.
I find myself becoming more and more of a fan of what I will call the story narrative. Marx had one. Friedman had one. And now, in the era that the neoliberal story is increasingly imploding in on itself, we need a new one.
Where do we go from here?
Fuck if I know. I just know that we collectively have to right this ship soon, or else the answer will be obvious. Nowhere.
I think Terry Pratchett nailed this pretty much straight on:
“All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."
[Death replied] REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"
YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
"So we can believe the big ones?"
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
"They're not the same at all!"
YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"
MY POINT EXACTLY.”
― Terry Pratchett, Hogfather
The question "how can a loving, just, all-powerful, all-benevolent God allow evil and suffering to exist" is a very RIGHT and pertinent question. This question absolutely (and obviously) needs to be dealt with. Of course, we're presuming a just and benevolent God to begin with, and the Christian God, as we see depicted so frequently, is in fact a very capricious, egotistical, rather tyrannical being.
By the way, if God is all-powerful, then He created the world -- EVERYTHING in this world, including every single one of the bad things -- himself. God is responsible for cancer, war, excxruciating pain and suffering, hunger, and all the bad things you mentioned in your post. You can only escape this conclusion by rationalization or flat denial in the face of simple common sense and very elementary logic.
When I was a christian I asked where the hell is god when I need help. And then I figured out there was no god and I'd have to do it on my own and have been moving in that direction ever since. God doesn't provide as there is no god and once you figure that out you'll be on the right path.