The 'Experience of Evil' Theodicy
I have revamped http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/theodicy_experience.html , the bulk of it now reads:
Some people say that God created suffering, pain and evil because we need to experience these things. But there is no 'greater purpose' that can justify the existence of the amount of suffering and superfluous evil that exists for humankind or in the natural world. There are a few major arguments against the experience theodicy.
- Infanticide and Heaven: If the unborn go to heaven when they die prematurely, as is assumed by many, then it means that these babies have not yet experience the suffering of life. If they can enter heaven without experiencing suffering and evil, then, it cannot be true that God created suffering because it is good for us, and God should put everyone in heaven immediately.
- Real suffering is not necessary: God could simply give us an innate knowledge of what evil is like, without us having to experience it. We have a lot of instinctive emotional reactions to pain and suffering, these are not learned. They are proof that innate understanding is valid, and God can easily endow us with as much innate understanding about evil as required. We would then know about it, and not need to experience it. We could all happily appreciate its absence.
- We don't need an experience of suffering. Forgetting the fact that unborn babies don't seem to need it and that God could give us knowledge of it without us having to actually experience it, it seems that there is no particular reason why we need either knowledge or experience of suffering and pain. Any advantage that is gained from experiencing these things could simply be granted to us directly by God, therefore bypassing the need.
- Angels and God: If angels, and if god, exist in heaven then it shows that it is possible for beings to be in heaven without first going through an experience of suffering in life. If it possible, then if God is good, it would immediately place everyone in heaven. However, god is not good, so it continues to let us suffer.
It is inadequate to say merely that knowledge or experience of suffering is requirement for us to enter heaven as a justification of why suffering exists. God can give us innate knowledge of evil, rather than let us experience it directly, and if babies or the unborn go to heaven then is clear that experience of the suffering of life is not actually required, after all. If angels or god exist in heaven then it shows that it is possible for beings to be in heaven without first experiencing suffering. The experience theodicy does not work.
“To the present day, all theodicies have failed to explain why a good god would create evil, meaning that the existence of evil is simply incompatible with the existence of a good god. After thousands of years of life-consuming passion, weary theologians have not formulated a new answer to the problem of evil for a long time. The violence of the natural world, disease, the major catastrophes and chaotic destruction seen across the universe and the unsuitability of the vastness of reality for life all indicate that god is not concerned with life, and might actually even be evil. Failure to answer the problem of evil sheds continual doubt on the very foundations of theistic religions.”
"The Problem of Evil: Why Would a Good God Create Suffering?"
Vexen Crabtree (2002)