Skeptical Theism is the insistence that no evil, even an animal or baby burning to death when nobody knows they even exist or ever will, ever shows that God might not exist or probably does not exist. It rejects the notion that some evils are so meaningless and gratuitous and savage that they contradict the love of a God who supposedly rules all and creates all and thus who is ultimately accountable for letting it happen. The accountability works only the one way, "God will be shown to have been right".

They are only guessing.  A claim made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.  They won't tell you that.  Why do they keep saying that God uses all suffering?  They try to influence you and that is abusive in such a serious subject.  The honest person will say, "I will not comment one way or the other." 

They are guilty of toxic positivity when looks for the good in all things and that is bad and callous when it is not there. In fact only evidence has the right to direct us to a conclusion about any case of suffering being meaningful.  It is a case by case matter.  One case seeming to show the suffering had value does not mean all cases have value.  Besides sufferers have value not suffering. Isn't that the reason why we slam suffering so much and condemn it outright?  Also, if you endure ten years of useless suffering and that changes in the next ten years you will start to say the suffering was worth it in some way.  That is illogical.  Useless suffering cannot be validated and given meaning just because it is over.  It is a terrible attitude.

God having power over evil means he is internally involved in it. He is not like a system outside of the criminal that tries to work on him.  That would give him control over some things evil does but the evil heart cannot be interfered with.  The criminal could live forever and not allow himself to be changed.  If God is that involved in evil then how good is God really?  The charming evildoer is as evil as the cartoon villain type one.  God would be in the former camp.

Logically, if the sun shines in your window every day for a thousand years that does not prove or show it will do the same thing tomorrow. As counter-intuitive as it seems, it has absolutely ZERO to do with it.  For that reason we have no right to say that if all suffering to now has meaning that anybody's suffering will continue to have meaning in an hour's time. Don't forget that this is a person's suffering we are talking about - there is more than correct thinking to worry about here.  Who are you to give a value on suffering that is not yours?

Free will is a big thing for Skeptical Theism for it teaches it is better to be responsible and free and suffer than to be a happy robotic person.  But all of us having free will until now gives us no right to assume it will exist at all or for many in one second's time.  Skeptical Theism then is incoherent.

Many of the Bible stories are etiology. In other words, instead of telling you what to think, a story is told to answer your question concerning why something is the way it is. Genesis in the early chapters deals with such questions. Why is God’s good world so full of sin and suffering now? Why do men bond with women and women with men and marry? Why do we wear clothes? Etiology style tales can be myths but a good historian with a spiritual bent can use true tales to teach us with. The true tale might be written in a mythical style for effect. So the writer of Genesis was claiming what he wrote was true. 

The Adam and Eve story in Genesis is a theodicy - an attempt to show that its reasonable to hold that a loving God exists though his creation is marred by incredible evil. There God makes a good world and Adam and Eve rebel and it suddenly starts malfunctioning and causing suffering. I would point out that theodicy calls for an attempt to give a sensible reason why suffering or some specific case may happen in the care of a loving God.  That obviously rules out Skeptical Theism. Skeptical Theism calls such attempts a waste of time. A doctrine like that that discourages thinking and assessing is clearly dangerous and has something to hide.

That alone would forbid us to promote Skeptical Theism. It's an evil itself while it purports to give evil meaning.

We can mention Mark 11:24 where Jesus like a faith healing con man, tells people that whatever they ask for in prayer they will get it if they believe they already have got it. This dangerous doctrine has led to people believing they were cured when they were not and they were thinking that Satan is counterfeiting their symptoms and sufferings.  Jesus gave himself a good cover if a say a demon cast out was shown to be still there.

I would mention too that Jesus saying this is proposing that evils should not happen. By default that would include extreme ones, especially extreme ones. It an admission that extreme degradation does not agree with the love of God but yet it blames the victim for not having enough faith. According to Jesus, it would be evil of God to make you sick but your lack of faith is making you sick so God is in the clear.

Should God when an evil is bad enough act with a miracle to address it? A miracle, to keep it simple, is like magic, for example God turns the pumpkin into a carriage. He turns the dead Jesus into a living one that can walk through walls.  It is obvious that the fancy word miracle is just a trick to hide the fact that it is superstition and magic we are really talking about.  As magical beliefs are harmful it is clear that those who say that God sometimes does miraculously intervene are using evil to make God's negligent evil look better (not to mention themselves with their doctrines!).  People who think this way say God should have done a discreet miracle to take Hitler’s life and thus prevent the holocaust.  Others will say that maybe he did - they will point to the suicidal urge that claimed Hitler's life.

People say that God should not do a perpetual miracle for example, empower a medication to prevent those who take it from acting murderously against children. God could do this in a hidden way where science does not know why taking it makes you so life-affirming with regard to innocents.  This is ad hoc.  They notice there is no miraculous detection for social workers when children are being abused by their parents.  It is shameful to say that just because they don't have a sixth sense that this is, as far as God is concerned, a good thing.

Religion usually ignores the suggestion that God should do miracles to prevent at least the worst atrocities. It says it is his choice and the absence of miracles does not mean he is not dealing with it. This amounts to looking at terrible things and seeing no sign of a supernatural intervention and saying that is right. This is illogical. Not acting is an action. If a miracle can happen but does not then the 'does not' can be a miracle too. A doctor who won't give you aspirin for your headache is treating you by giving you nothing for she knows you have your own healing system to deal with it.

If God miraculously cures all who go to a shrine then surely it is a miracle when Jane goes and nothing happens?  A miracle is relative to the circumstances.

Some say God already has been doing secret miracles! If God is a free agent and has reasons to act or not act that we cannot know of right now, it seems we should not complain that he has given us no way to think of a vaccine to protect babies from some new terrible disease. Now they say God does miracles such as raising the dead Jesus to life to teach us and give us the promise of moral and spiritual redemption and cleansing. Lessing tells us, “The problem is that reports of miracles are not miracles…they have to work through a medium that takes away all their force.” You cannot call belief in the New Testament accounts of miracles belief in miracles. It's not the same thing. If God is so desperate that he wants us to substitute faith in writings for faith in miracles then it's a disgrace if he really did raise Jesus. It is evil to raise him and let babies starve all over a faith in miracles that is in fact really a faith in stories that happen to be telling the truth about miracles.  If God does a real miracle to further miracle faith that is in fact not really faith in the miracle but looks like it then that casts Jesus' return in a very bad light.

If God does hidden unevidenced miracles then no person using their reason will hold that a God does them. Such a miracle might as well not occur at all.  The book God and Horrendous Suffering edited by John W Loftus says. “They would not be able to produce reasonable belief, if belief was important to a god”. The book points out that nobody says that your organ failure is down to a bad divine miracle, a curse, a hidden magic from God, but blames natural causes.  So the believers who say God does unevidenced miracles are contradicting themselves and showing that they don't believe in them at all.  If they don't believe then why can't they hold that open miracles may be the product of mistakes and lies or even fairies hiding in nature and using natural law to simulate miracles?  They should.  If a miracle is a miracle then unevidenced ones and evidenced ones are no better than each other.

Now I would add that Christians already say they believe in unevidenced miracles when they claim that say if you prayerfully sprinkle holy water on yourself and go out and walk away from your write-off car after crashing it that God protected you in response to your prayer.

The skeptical theist tells you that just because you think there are no divine reasons for a case of suffering it does not mean there aren't any. If I look into a supermarket and see no horses in it then I can reasonably say there are no horses in it even if I have not thoroughly checked. Chances are I will be right. If I look into it and see no insects in it chances are I will be wrong if I say there are none. If you say then that unnecessary evil shows there is probably no God you are like the person saying there are no insects. You just don't know enough to rule them out so you cannot rule out that God might have good reasons for permitting the most unbelievable suffering.  The answer to that is that seeing no reasons for somebody's suffering might indeed mean that there might be reasons but it equally means there might not be.

Skeptical Theism is a disgrace for why it is theism then and not agnosticism?  Saying you cannot comment either way is the only humanitarian and humane position. 

Note - it's on Bergmann's Skeptical Theism

Imagine we accept Bergmann's claim that there is no good reason to believe the possible goods we know of to be representative of the possible goods there are. In other words, how good things seem to us is no reliable guide to how good they really are. One implication of this view, Hasker points out (2010:23), is that if you take some state of affairs, such as the happiness of a loving family, then if you believe ST1 you must be skeptical about whether the happiness of the family is truly good, since there is no reason to think the seeming goodness of their happiness is a reliable guide to whether their happiness is truly good. However, seriously doubting whether the happiness of a loving family is truly good violates ordinary moral principles. It is simply a fundamental part of morality that the happiness of loving persons is truly good. Seriously casting doubt on that simply strikes us as "unacceptable", Hasker says (2010:23), or obscene. This is the first reason why Bergmann's ST is morally problematic.


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