John Loftus attempts to argue that the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School was exactly what we should expect because there is no God. I disagree. This is indeed facepalm worthy. But let us attempt to think through his argument, because he obviously didn't.
Even though I'm a godless atheist I say this. Don't quote me though, at least not without my explanation. I'm not speaking about a godless ethic, that supposedly atheists do these kinds of deeds, and/or that they have no ethical standards to condemn such terrible senseless acts. I do have an ethic and I do condemn these kinds of deeds. That's a topic for another time so don't derail what I'm saying with irrelevant comments. What I'm saying here is something different.
For the sake of this post, let's grant that a godless atheist like John Loftus does have an ethic and can condemn these kinds of deeds such as murdering children and their teachers as wrong. I am willing to allow for that because the Bible is more than clear that he can grant anyone that much grace even a godless atheist. I agree that what Loftus is saying is something qualitatively different.
People are not too good at comparing hypotheses but that's what we must do. Most often in our debates we latch on to a theory and seek to confirm it, ignoring competing ones. It's called confirmation bias, and psychological studies show we all have a strong tendency or bias toward our pet theories. We don't give competing theories the time of day. We ignore them as false and sometimes even ludicrous.
Agreed. Let's see if John Loftus can avoid this trap as he tries to compare his godless hypothesis with Christian theism.
But if we compare the godless hypothesis that there is no god with the God hypothesis that there is an all powerful, perfectly good, all knowing deity, it's patently obvious that the best explanation for this horrible tragedy is the godless one. Now believers may think they have good reasons to accept the God hypothesis anyway, but this tragedy is not one of them to say the least. Let me briefly explain.
So we have a conclusion drawn that the godless hypothesis explains such a terrible thing such as this. We immediately run into a problem: What does he think the godless hypothesis explain? Does it explain how a man could walk into a school and gun-down twenty young children - boys and girls; six and seven years-old - and six of their teachers? Does it explain the big question why? What is it he is trying answer? Maybe as he explains what he mean, Loftus will tell us what he means as he explains how the godless hypothesis provides answers.
In a godless universe shit happens without rhyme nor reason. Life is predatory from the ground up. Creatures eat one another by trapping unsuspecting victims in unusual ways, launching surprise attacks out of the blue, and hunting in packs by overpowering prey with brute force and numbers. Sometimes a creature just goes wacko for no reason at all. Humans are not exempt. Sometimes the wiring in our brains goes haywire and we snap. We too are violent and we inherited this trait from our animal predecessors. We also show care and concern to our kith and kin but we can lash out in horrific ways at what we consider an uncaring world.
So the godless hypothesis is answering the question "why?" with things "happen without rhyme or reason". Then he gives examples from nature. He raises more questions than answers. Is it condemnable when "Creatures eat one another by trapping unsuspecting victims in unusual
ways, launching surprise attacks out of the blue, and hunting in packs
by overpowering prey with brute force and numbers." or when a "creature just goes wacko for no reason at all"? If not, then why is it condemnable for that man to kill those 26 people? If so, why?
In a universe where there is an all powerful, perfectly good, all knowing God this tragedy is not what we would expect to happen.
Why? I see no reason to make that conclusion. Loftus neglects the Biblical description of the universe with human beings enslaved to sin with hearts inclined to evil - I'd expect nothing different. Instead, I'd wonder why such things don't happen more often.
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I
will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the
imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. - Genesis 8:21
There were innocent children who were brutally massacred. We would not expect that after praying the Lord's prayer to a loving heavenly father that such a deity would allow this to happen, just as we would not expect a father in that school to sit by and do nothing while the gunman killed his children.
Hmmm...just who does Loftus think prayed the Lord's Prayer before this happened. Our society took prayer out of of public school, remember?
What could a loving heavenly father have done? There are tons of things. Just have the gunman's brakes fail on the way so he would crash his car into a telephone pole and die. If God knew the man would one day kill these people then he could have killed him in a thousand unsuspecting ways like this. He had twenty years to do it. God could have snapped his omnipotent fingers causing the man to have massive amnesia such that he wouldn't know who he is, or what he was going to do with his guns that morning. God could have caused his guns to misfire if nothing else. God did nothing that a loving father would have done.
Just how many times do you think that God has done exactly that. How many school shootings have been avoided through God's direct actions - restraining evil? We don't know. We only know about the times God has allowed such things to happen. While we don't know why God allowed this, we can trust that God really knows best and God has a purpose for everything God allows to happen. God has the right to do as God wills because everything belongs to God.
When comparing these two hypotheses the God hypothesis fails and the godless hypothesis prevails, hands down, no question, no ifs ands or buts about it.
I'm amazed that any rational person would really think that "stuff just happens" is a viable answer and would think that the godless hypothesis. Really? Really? It's the godless hypothesis that fails. So what answer does the Bible give? Here are two of my favorite verses on the subject:
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. - Romans 8:18-25
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” - Luke 13:1-5
Silly godless atheist, Theodicy is for Christians.
Debunking Christianity: In a Godless Universe the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting is What We'd Expect Would Happen