THE ATHEIST MISSIONARY SAID:
Let’s say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I’ll take 100,000. In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth. Famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for 98,000 years. Heaven watches this with complete indifference. And then 2000 years ago, thinks “That’s enough of that. It’s time to intervene,” and the best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the Middle East. Don’t let us appeal to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let’s go to the desert and have another revelation there. This is nonsense. It can’t be believed by a thinking person. Christopher Hitchens.
1. Well, that’s one narrative. I happen to prefer the narrative that commences with Gen 1, winds through the OT, arrives at the NT, and culminates in Rev 21-22.
2. As far as that goes, our “species” still dies. That didn’t cease 2000 years ago. The more important question is whether happens after you die.
3. Was there “war” c. 100,000 BC? Is that a cross between Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. and Steven Strait in 10,000 BC? Given a choice, I’d take my chances with Raquel.
4. And just think of the wonderful opportunities for big-game hunting. Not to mention clean air. Clean water. Star-gazing.
5. Is it worse to die at 25 than 95? If you live to be 95, you live beyond your prime. There are lots of things you’d like to do, but are now too enfeebled to do. In addition, you outlive your friends, your spouse, some of your kids.
What about those SF utopias where everyone above the age of 30 (or whatever) is liquidated?
6. In some ways a sinful world is worse than a sinless world. But even in that respect, there are men and women who exist in a sinful world who never have that opportunity in a sinless world.
7. And in some ways a redeemed world is better than a sinless world. So there are tradeoffs.
Suffering can be a source of good. Take a couple who marry young. Let’s say they lack the maturity for marriage. So they break up after a few acrimonious years.
They wander. Pursue other pairings. Then, ten years later, they come back together. All the suffering makes them appreciate each other in a way that wasn’t possible apart from suffering.
Or take best fiends. One betrays the other. Alienation ensues. One hates the other. They no longer speak to each other.
But after a few years, there’s a thaw. Reconciliation. Forgiveness. Their renewed friendship is deeper as a result of suffering.
Not all goods come ready-made.
8. By condemning “someone”? What about the Son of God incarnate?
9. China had a brilliant civilization. But unless you were among the charmed few who resided in the Forbidden City, you were no better off than somebody in “less literate parts of the Middle East.”
Moreover, does Hitchens really hanker for the Ming Dynasty? Does he feel that he missed his calling in life because he can’t be a royal eunuch in the Directorate of Ceremonial?