The premiere episode of Stupid Hindu Comments. This video series deconstructs a stupid comment or argument made by a Hindu on the internet. I’ve examined and critiqued many silly things theists have said in defense of their beliefs, and I’m continually amazed with the level of their irrationality. Stupid defenses for one’s religious perspectives are not reserved for stupid people, as is the case with this video’s focus on Jay Lakhani, a theoretical physicist and a speaker on spiritual humanism. Jay Lakani, is far from an uneducated buffoon, but his argument for why a god allows suffering in the world, is just pathetically weak.
The problem of evil is the central argument under discussion in this video. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the argument from evil refers to the question of how can a theist who believes in an all good, all knowing and all powerful god explain the existence of suffering and evil. Why would a loving god capable of anything allow his special creation to suffer needlessly from things our of their control? This argument is not meant to convince a theist that a god doesn’t exist, that’s impossible in any regard, it is meant rather to expose the impossibility of a LOVING god existing. A cruel or callous god could very well exist, but almost no one argues for such a being. A loving god who permits gratuitous suffering is a contradiction and needs to be seriously considered.
God as a principle? Not as a personal being? What utter nonsense is this? A principle, as defined by Dictionary.com is either an accepted rule of action, a fundamental law from which others are derived, a fundamental doctrine, or a guiding sense of the requirements and obligations of right conduct. How can something that is some combination of one of these accepted definitions be the cause of the cosmos? A principle is a conceptual construct of the human mind, not a thing that exists in the universe. Calling a god a principle is nothing more then a deepity, which is a statement that is apparently profound but actually asserts a triviality on one level and something meaningless on another.
A god of gravity… lord gravity. We’ve hit bedrock. Okay, so lets entertain this hypothetical scenario in which people worship a god of gravity. I can’t believe im doing this…. anyway… so we have an incident were your buddy gets killed by a falling rock, and we are told by our Hindu friend here that we can’t rationally blame gravity. This example falls apart on a number of fronts.
1) Jay Lakhani, by using gravity as an example, is trying to suggest the absurdity of blaming a non-personal force in nature for our stoned friend fate… but then Jay has lord gravity shrugging his shoulders and proclaim “this is how the cookie crumbles”.The whole point of this absurd scenario was to illustrate that gravity is not a personal being who is to blame for the man’s death, but then he forgets that and makes him a being with shoulders, a voice and douche who quotes cheesy movie lines from the early 2000s. Since this lord gravity is a personal being, and he is in control of what falls, he is directly responsible for the man’s death.
2) Okay, so lets give Jay Lakhani the benefit of the doubt, and ignore the slip up of lord gravity actually being a personal being. Lets take his scenario to its logical (laugh) conclusion. Alright, so lets set the stage so we all can keep this story straight… because my grasp on it is slipping. We have silly people worshiping an impersonal, unconscious force of nature, gravity. These people don’t realize that gravity is just a force of nature without any wants and desires. These people are, I take it, analogous to the typical theist in this world who believes in a personal god. Jay Lakhani is thus suggesting that our real world god is like gravity is in this hypothetical universe of gravity worshippers…. but… that… doesn’t make any sense because gravity is not any more like a principle then a god is. Gravity is a natural phenomenon in which things with mass are attracted to each other. It has no creative powers, intelligence, thoughts, desires, emotions or characteristics that would be necessary to give rise to a universe. Just like a principle, which it too has no creative powers, intelligence, thoughts, desires, emotions or characteristics that could lead to the creation of a universe. This is the problem with a deepity: its sounds profound unless you start to think about it for more then a second.
I can’t believe this. Instead of actually addressing the problem of evil and the gratuitous suffering we find in the world, Jay Lakhani goes on to explain why our tummies have an awweee when we are hungry. Seriously? Everyone understands why we feel discomfort when hungry… it encourages us to keep eating so we keep living. The same reason why sex feels so good… a biological encouragement to keep procreating to ensure the survival of our species.
The problem of evil is a much more profound argument against the notion of a good god existing. If the extent of human and animal suffering was a singed finger, or empty stomach, maybe Jay’s explanation would suffice. But we don’t live in such a world. Earth is home to a lot of suffering and death caused by avalanches earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, tsunamis, blizzards, Epidermodysplasia verruciformis virus, Cancrum Oris infection, tapeworms, myiasis, polio, cholera, ebola, malaria, bubonic plague, Spanish flu, aids, cancer, and on and on and on. What’s the point of all this suffering? We feel hunger in order to ensure we eat. What do we get from cancrum oris infection besides a permanent rearrangement of our face and genitals? Jay’s explanation for why there is suffering in the world is pathetically myopic, and holly inadequate.
Jay Lakhani’s arguments against the problem of evil, is far from sensible. The typical theist apologist response to the problem of evil is that god may have his reasons for permitting suffering that is beyond our capacity to comprehend. God allows for suffering to exist, and at times intentionally dishes it out, but all for a great unknown good. This too is holly inadequate as it suggests that god could not have achieved that unknown greater good without so much pain and distress, which would suggest that a god is not all powerful or all knowing, and thus no god at all. If a god exists, it created the universe and the laws that guide it, he is to be held responsible to account for all the needless suffering within it. If, as I suspect no gods exist, then death and suffering is an unfortunate part of living in a dynamic universe filled with countless possibilities for good and bad experiences.
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