I often run into the argument that people starve because we let them and so God isn’t responsible. At first brush, this argument seems to make sense because it does make some sense if you take God out of the equation. You can easily make the case that people starve because we don’t share resources well and/or we’re a selfish species.
I ran into this comment again today. Here’s what the original comment said:
Something that always amazes me, why don’t we ever ask, how come humans don’t feed all the starving children? We live on a planet with abundant resources and enough food for all. So how come some children still go hungry?
One problem is that people don’t like to look at the nature of human depravity and some of the horrors we are capable of creating and inflicting on each other. The conditions that create starvation are totally man made, but we never just say, “sheesh people can be outright evil,” instead we demand to know why God allows these things to happen. Some people then go on to try to argue that God must be evil for allowing it, for not protecting people from the full horror of the consequences of our own actions.
While seeming to make sense, this argument misses the point completely and attempts to redirect blame.
Of course people ask why we don’t do more as a species to feed people. The reason why this was brought up in the first place was because God was added to the equation. Let me illustrate why the above argument doesn’t make sense.
Imagine that the picture below included five other human beings who were sitting there eating hamburgers while this poor child looked on. These five people are well fed and they have constant access to more food but instead of sharing, they just keep eating.
Now let’s suppose that God enters the room, and he’s sitting with those five people. Does he get a pass? And if so, why would he get a pass?
By adding a sixth person, it doesn’t mitigate the essential point that no matter how many people are watching this child starve, each of them are equally to blame.
Now give the sixth person in the room (God) magical powers – he doesn’t have to produce the food. He doesn’t have to transport it. He doesn’t have to distribute it. He doesn’t even need to pay for it. All he has to do is will it into existence and this child could eat.
But instead, this deity continues to sit with the other five people while they eat their hamburgers and look on disdainfully.
That’s the point. That’s the problem of evil.
This is the circular reasoning that religion often employs – if something good happens, it’s God who should be thanked. If something bad happens, it’s our fault. No matter what, God would get a free pass.
It makes more sense when you take God out of the equation. At that point, you can make the argument that we’re the cause and we should be doing more to prevent starvation.