Previously I've suggested some reasonable ways a good God could have stopped James Holmes from firing on innocent people in that Colorado theater without revealing himself, and without abrogating Holmes's free will. Link. But is there another way to exonerate God in what I call the Omniscience Escape Clause? Could God have overriding reasons based in his omniscience for allowing that horrible tragedy to happen? I don't think so at all. While this isn't impossible it's extremely improbable to the point of being virtually impossible.
I still really don't like the free-will defense because we don't have it. We are going to see if Loftus can demonstrate that God cannot have sufficient reason for allowing evil and suffering.
Before proceeding there are very important questions concerning whether there is evidence for a personal three-in-one beginningless omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenelovent, omnipresent God who consequently never had a prior moment when he chose his values or his nature, never had a disagreement within the Godhead, never took a risk, never learned any new truths, and so on, and so forth. Questions include why this God created at all, why he set human beings up for a fall into sin, how it's possible for a God/Man to truly be a God/Man, or how this God/Man's death atones for sin, and why God expects people living in a scientific age like ours to believe in miracles in the superstitious past like the resurrection of this God/Man or be thrust into hell. These kinds of questions, if studied in scholarly depth, already diminish the probability that there is a God who needs to be exonerated for allowing the killing spree of Holmes. With no God there is no need to exonerate him.
Answering the above questions or not being able to answer the above questions does not prove or disprove that God exists. The Bible contains some of these answers and for the others, why is it so difficult to understand that God has not chosen to reveal that information to us? For the sake of this post, Loftus assumes that God does exist in order to show that God's omniscience does not excuse God for allowing James Holmes' shooting spree.
Even granting this kind of God it's hopeless trying to exonerate such a deity based in omniscience. Theists claim we cannot fathom God’s omniscient ways. This is either a blanket statement covering all that we think we know about the ways of an omniscient God (i.e. nothing), or we can know something about the reasonableness of his ways.
I would argue that we neither have the right or ability to judge the reasonableness of God's ways. We have no right to judge God's actions any more than you do for fumigating your house. Also we only know of God by what he has revealed to us through God's word and his creation.
As a blanket statement we would consequently have no way of knowing that God's ways are reasonable or good ones at all, and if that's true, we would also have no reasonable way of knowing whether we could trust him.
That is one of the things that very much sets Christianity apart from every other worldview: the promise of a personal relationship with God. God shows you that God is worthy of your trust as your relationship grows. That relationship isn't an equal relationship - we are not God's equals.
But if instead we can know something about God's ways then we should know enough about them to know that they are reasonable and good ones.
Humanity is fallen. Why would you trust your own perceptions and thinking process to judge if God's ways are reasonable? It's like trying to measure an infinitely straight line with a broken, cracked, and bent ruler. It doesn't work.
But there is absolutely no reasonable explanation for why such a God would allow this tragedy to happen. Not one potential explanation works at all.
Bald assertion. How do you know that? How can anyone really say that? I don't know why God allowed that or anything really bad to happen. Sometimes we do find out when we see how things play out. Sometimes we don't find out. The point is that God has proven to be trustworthy in my own life so I know I can trust God no matter how bad things get or what I feel.
Think otherwise? Then I challenge believers to try. Go ahead. Think. Don't proof-text from the Bible since that's also in question here.
For Loftus, the Bible is questionable, but not looking at what it says you are saying you don't really want answers to your questions.
Come up with one reasonable explanation for why God might have allowed this tragedy to happen when there were many reasonable ways he could have stopped it before it happened. Just one. Give it your best shot.
Bottom line: I have no idea why God allowed James Holmes to kill and hurt so many people. It's also hasn't even been a week yet and we have no idea what will happen in the end.
The bottom line is that theistic attempts to exonerate God based in his supposed omniscience cut both ways. We’re told God is so omniscient that we can’t understand his purposes, and this is true, we can’t begin to grasp why God allowed Holmes to do what he did if he exists. But if God is as omniscient as claimed, then he should have known how to avert this tragedy before it happened since we do have a good idea how he could’ve done so, especially since by not doing so there will be more people who reject the very faith he so desires people to have in him.
It's because of the purpose that God has in mind that God allowed the tragedy to take place because of course God could have stopped him. God didn't. Why? I don't know yet, but one day we will know and because of the good God has been to me in my life, including through my suffering, I know I can trust God.
The Omniscient Escape Clause as I have argued elsewhere, makes one's faith unfalsifiable and forces the skeptic to prove the believer's faith is impossible before he or she will ever consider it to be improbable--an utterly unreasonable standard of proof.
I think this calls for something at the end. Hmmmm...
Debunking Christianity: Omniscience Doesn't Exonorate God For The Colorado Movie Massacre