42. Why does God allow animals to suffer?

Cat eating birdThe Bible doesn’t say too much about why God created animals, other than to say he did, and gave mankind dominion over them (Genesis 1:26). Whatever his reasons, God obviously chose not to spare animals from pain and suffering. Why?

Human suffering vs. animal suffering

In many ways, the problem of animal suffering is even more problematic than the problem of human suffering, because many of the standard explanations offered for why humans suffer are worthless when applied to animals.

For example, Christians often say that humans suffer as a consequence of sin, and because we are all sinners. But the animals never sinned against God, and thus they should not be punished as if they share our guilt. They seem to suffer only as collateral damage in a conflict between man and God.

Other Christians say suffering must exist in order for humans to experience the full extent of free will, but what is free will to an animal?

And Christians reason that it’s okay that humans suffer, because God will reward us eternally in heaven, but what eternal reward do animals receive?

Is God guilty of animal cruelty?

What’s so surprising about animal suffering is just how many diseases and defects are endemic to specific kinds of animals. It’s as if predation and accidents alone were not enough suffering, so God had to design specialized bacteria, viruses, parasites, and diseases to multiply the suffering of animals.

Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour DiseaseTake, for example, the Tasmanian Devil we discussed earlier. Even at birth, poor design ensures that his odds of dying outnumber his odds of surviving. But those that do survive are more than likely to contract Devil Facial Tumour Disease, a fatal contagious cancer that causes large growths on the devil’s face, making it difficult for them to eat or see, and putting the entire species at risk of extinction.

But what his this animal done to offend God? Did they eat of the forbidden fruit? Does their suffering help to increase their faith? Or help them to experience the full extent of free will?

If God created this world for humans, why include the animals in our suffering?

Can we trust a God who abuses animals?

The fact that innocent animals suffer through no fault of their own should be very disconcerting to the faithful, for if God is willing to allow the innocent to suffer, why should we believe he will reward the guilty?

It’s analogous to dating someone who has a history of abusing animals, but says, “Yes, I admit that I abuse animals, but I would never abuse you! You’re different!”

If the innocent are made to suffer without cause, then God cannot be benevolent, because a benevolent God would never allow suffering that wasn’t absolutely necessary. The believer is in the unenviable position of having to explain why a good God has chosen to extend human suffering to innocent animals, and believers have come up with several justifications.

“Animals don’t feel pain”

17th-century Catholic philosopher René Descartes once argued that animals were just like machines, that did not feel pain because they did not have a spiritual mind (an idea that later became widely accepted).

Modern theistic philosophers like Michael Murray still argue that animals cannot feel pain at the same level humans do because they lack self-awareness (a highly controversial philosophy).

Dog

Professor Bernard Rollin disagrees, and facetiously recommends that anyone who denies animals feel pain should test their hypothesis by using a pair of vice grips to squeeze the balls of a large doberman.

While animals can’t tell us directly that they feel pain, it can be inferred by their similar reactions to it. If you’ve ever accidentally stepped on a dog’s toes or tail, you know they respond to pain. Animals vocalize their pain, they withdraw from it, and they will even change their behavior to avoid it. Animals can also experience the opposite of pain, like a dog who enjoys having his belly rubbed.

We can also infer that animals suffer pain because they share much of the same anatomy and neurological makeup as humans, and they even respond positively to the same pain relievers we use. These similarities make it obvious that animals do feel pain, and there are numerous peer-reviewed studies that have reached the same conclusion.

Speaking from personal experience, I once witnessed a dog get run over by a car. He laid there in the street, yowling in agony for several minutes (in much the same way a human would). I can’t imagine looking at this dog and saying, “That dog didn’t really experience pain because he has no soul,” or “That would’ve been significantly more painful if he was actually self-aware.” No matter the degree, that dog was clearly capable of suffering. And for all we know, not being self-aware may have made the pain even more confusing and stressful.

“Maybe animals go to heaven.”

Many Christian theologians have already ruled out this possibility:

“Our souls are rational–theirs aren’t–and ours are rational because they’re spiritual, not material.”
Catholic.com

“…if the word ‘soul’ is used to refer to an immortal soul that one day will inhabit heaven or hell, then no, animals may not be said to possess a soul. This is the only conclusion that can be drawn, respecting the instruction on the subject found within the Word of God.”
ApologeticsPress.org

And the Bible does seem to segregate men from the animals:

Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.
1 Corinthians 15:39

But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.
2 Peter 2:12

So it doesn’t matter if a 40-year-old chimpanzee is much smarter and has suffered longer than a 3-day-old baby, if they both die, it’s the human that goes to heaven and the chimpanzee that “perishes.”

What if animals did go to heaven?

tumblr_kr2tk66FEH1qzmd3ao1_500_large

Just for kicks, let’s imagine that animals do go to heaven. This raises a lot of interesting questions, like: Would they all go to heaven? Elephants? Horses? Apes? Chimps? Dogs? Cats? Snakes? Rats? Birds? Mice? Mosquitoes? Ants? Gnats? Plants? Amoebas? Bacteria? Or does God draw the line somewhere?

If single celled organisms are allowed into heaven, do all the cells that make up my body go to heaven? Or just the soul they hosted? (Because they have served me well, and I think they deserve a vacation from all my abuse.)

If single celled organisms are not allowed into heaven, how many cells must an animal have before it does qualify for heaven? 10? 1000? 1,000,000?

Or perhaps it’s not a matter of cell count, but intelligence. If that’s the case, is that 40-year-old chimpanzee worth more to God than the 3-day-old baby?

AnglerfishAnd what about ocean life? Do whales and dolphins go to heaven? How about fish? Even ugly fish? Like the anglerfish? Or do ugly fish go to hell? Does heaven have an ocean for these occupants? Or do they just float around us in heaven? Even the ugly ones? Because I don’t want ugly fish floating around me in heaven.

What about extinct animals? Will heaven be filled with friendly t-rexs, pteradons, and trilobites?

And finally, even if all animals did go to heaven, no amount of heavenly reparations would change the fact that what God did was wrong. For example, if a man murders a child, no amount of apologies or reparations will ever justify his murder, it will always be wrong. Even if we come to forgive the murder, that doesn’t mean we think murdering children is now okay — his actions were still wrong. Likewise, even if all the animals forgive God for torturing them when they were not guilty, it will always be wrong for God to have done so.

Allowing animals into heaven may help us feel better about their suffering, but it’s not very Biblical, and it seems to raise more issues than it solves. And even if God did allow animals into heaven, it doesn’t change the fact that what God did was wrong.

“Humans need animals.”

The majority of animals don’t need to exist to ensure human survival. If life was perfect for animals in Eden, God could’ve left most of them there after evicting Adam.

But even assuming humans can’t exist without animals (and God was unable to design any other alternative), this still doesn’t explain why God didn’t just design all animals as herbivores, to limit their suffering (and constant fear of being hunted). It also doesn’t explain why he would choose to inflict additional kinds of diseases upon them.

“Animals should just be grateful that God didn’t make things worse.”

There is a Calvinistic idea that animals, like humans, are basically deprived creatures that should feel lucky that God shows them any grace at all. But I would argue that God’s benevolence obligates him to extend grace, especially to his innocent creations.

The argument of last resort

Finally, when all else fails, the believer can still claim there is an explanation, even if we don’t know what it is. This reasoning sounds like this:

We do know that God is just and that when we get to heaven we will find ourselves in complete agreement with His decision on this issue, whatever it may be.
GotQuestions.org

This is like saying, “Never mind that God’s actions seem nonsensical and cruel, just keep believing! And when you die, you’ll find there really was a good reason for all those animals to suffer, just as there really was a good reason for God to allow children to be raped and murdered! There’s just no absurdity God can’t explain! It will all be rationalized and explained once you’re dead.”

As I’ve said before, if we accept that all nonsense can be explained away in the hereafter, then all religions become equally viable, since all their absurdities (the reasons we have come to denounce them) can also be explained away in the afterlife.

Conclusion

I can only imagine a couple scenarios in which one might justify the suffering of animals, but both are problematic.

1) Animals don’t actually suffer. If this is the case, they have certainly be made to appear to suffer, so if they don’t, then we have been deceived.

2) Animals deserve to suffer. Since animals can’t intentionally do evil, the only plausible explanation is to suppose that before they were animals they had the mental capacity to sin. But if animals don’t have immortal souls, this doesn’t seem very likely (and most Christians don’t believe in reincarnation).

Dead baby gorillaTherefore, if God exists, he appears to be a sadist, for he creates suffering because it brings him pleasure. God was not forced to design animals, or to give them the capacity to suffer, or to design predation or specialized bacteria or viruses or parasites… but he did.

Still… we don’t know what we don’t know, and God may have a good explanation. Assuming he does, he is still guilty of placing us in a deceptive environment, one that leads us to conclude he is evil, for only evil creates innocence and leads it to suffer. We only know what we know, and what he has given us to know is a creation that seems to be baring false witness against its “good” creator, which leads us to incorrect conclusions about who God is.

If there is no God, the fact that animals suffer as much as man is nature’s testimony to the fact that she does not distinguish between man and animal. Nature has no mind to respect one and curse the other, they are all the same.

Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals.
~Ecclesiastes 3:19

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331 Responses to 42. Why does God allow animals to suffer?

  1. Anonymous says:

    There is no god.

  2. Anonymous says:

    First let me say I love animals. Any type of abuse, suffering ect., that they go through breaks my heart. I just lost my best friend, who suffered terribly. He was a boxer, and unfortunately came from a puppy mill so he was never very healthy, and health problems worsened as time went by. He was 5 when he died. I’ll say this and I’d bet every cent I have on that I truly believe animals have souls. My Rocky had a beautiful soul. (And animals feel pain, as well as loneness, joy, fear, and a ton of other physical and emotional feelings.) God doesn’t cause pain on animals humans do. In one way or another a human being or a group of human beings are responsible for any illness or what ever horrific situation an animal is in. We will never get the answer that we are looking for because Our brains are not capable of understanding. God intelligence level is so much higher the ours therefore we are not capable of understanding. God is loving and merciful. I pray for you to let go of all this, and open you heart up and let your Heavenly Father in.

    • Pebble says:

      I’ll admit that in some ways, God is a “loving and merciful God”. However, “letting go” the fact that billions of animals are suffering everyday isn’t something a group of us can easily do – much easier said, than done. We can rely on God to heal and ease our pain somewhat, sometimes. However, we’re made to feel pain when there’s injustice done and we will toss at night thinking and knowing there isn’t much we can do, except to hope for the mass public to be educated and to grant compassion to ALL non-human beings.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a crock of shit. There is no god if he allows innocent animals to suffer. And of course they feel pain, physically proven, and no they don’t deserve to suffer. No thanks, not interest in a god like that.

  4. Maryann says:

    Evil came into the world because Adam and Eve disobeyed God. God created all animals and other creatures before He created humans and I believe He loves them very much and have given Him great joy. I have thought of this a long time, animals and other creatures like sea creatures etc. have never sinned against God so why is suffering allowed on them? I can answer that creatures do have a soul. How do I know this? Because our good God let me know, and this is what happened to me. In Aug.2012, my cat Sen Sen died at 18 years old natural causes. She died at 10:00 AM and at around 8:00 pm my husband and I heard her meow in the sunroom where she died and knew it was her because there are no other cats that lived with us. Now, the same year in Sept. our yellow lab died at 15 years old of epilepsy which she had all her life. With these two animals that I loved so much crushed my heart that I cannot put into words, but God was good and let me know that their souls were in heaven. After grieving every day for 3 months, one morning at 5:30am, I heard her bark loudly in the foyer and then one minute later, she was barking out on the porch which is outside our foyer. The following year in Dec 2013 we had a feral cat that was a barn cat named Tiggy. When she became sick, 3 months before of kidney problems which the vet diagnosed, we brought her in our house and nursed her with homeopathic medicines but her time came and she passed away, That same month, I felt her also jump on my bed and I knew also her soul was free and with our Lord and happy. I believe there is suffering because no creature or human is as innocent as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who suffered like nobody else has suffered so we can all be saved from everlasting death. So, do animals have a soul? yes they do and all go to heaven because they are free of sin.

    • Hi Maryann,

      So sorry for the loss of your beloved pets, they can become a very special part of our lives.

      “…no creature or human is as innocent as our Lord … So, do animals have a soul? yes they do and all go to heaven because they are free of sin.”

      So… all animals must suffer because they are not innocent… yet, they go to heaven… because they are free of sin. I’m confused. Are they innocent or not?

      If they are guilty, what sin are they guilty of committing? They can no more contemplate the morality of their actions than an infant.

      500Q

    • Razman says:

      hmn….. I love people who are caring to others, your feelings towards your late pets shows how caring you are, your care to Human may be greater…..

    • Anonymous says:

      colossians 1:16 – For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him….
      Nothing Enters Into This Universe Without God’s Doing.
      God Created Evil
      Hence Proved

  5. Dr Datye says:

    The quantum of pain humans inflict on self, on fellow human beings, and on animals and plants in general relying on antiquated ideas written in religious scriptures by who knows whom, is really appalling. Humans killed animals for food. Beyond that it is plain cruelty in the garb of hunting, shooting, maiming, experimenting without any remorse. Christianity talks about evil – left center right without ever understanding that Human is the devil/evil incarnate. It is time to leave religion behind and walk on righteous path of self realisation.

    • Karla Sanchez says:

      I completely agree. Animals are such innocent creatures and the human race has been abusing them for thousands of years and most of the times just for fun. The only evil creature in this world is the human being. I have started losing my faith after all the cruelty and sadism inflected on those poor innocent souls. They are the one who should go straight to heaven.

  6. Desiree says:

    I really think you have the wrong idea about God. First off God is loving forgiving and just, He doesn’t cause pain. The world we live in has suffering and pain because of Man that’s why God gave us Heaven to go to. We just have to choose him and honor him to get there. Animals are capable of Love and anything that can Love is from God which has a soul. Otherwise animals wouldn’t be capable of love towards each other or humans. They also wouldn’t have personalities which distinguishes them as an individual not a mass production. I also want to mention the lamb was considered a sacrifice in the Bible. If animals meant nothing to God it wouldn’t be a sacrifice which means to give up something that is very dear to you. He also wouldn’t send his Son if he didn’t feel the need to end it and show his love and sacrifice in return. He sent Noah to save two animal of each kind so there would still be animals after the flood, He obviously cared for them. The sufferings of this world are from Man and everything we reap we sew. Unfortunately animals have done nothing to deserve this but are in the cross fire. But if we didn’t suffer here Heaven wouldn’t be such a prized reward. It’s that simple people.

    • Natalie Wells says:

      Who would want to go to Heaven if it involved the torment and suffering of the innocent? I couldn/t be happy in a Heaven like that. Could you? Yes, I know Jesus was innocent and paid for our sins, so if we accept Him, we go to Heaven on that account, His blood, His grace. But would you want to be a part of Paradise that relied on the suffering and torment of those who gave their lives/ or more likely, their lives were taken from them, would that be an enjoyable state, for you? For anyone?

    • “I really think you have the wrong idea about God. First off God is loving forgiving and just, He doesn’t cause pain.”

      “The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish.” — Deuteronomy 28:22

      “The world we live in has suffering and pain because of Man that’s why God gave us Heaven to go to.”

      The world we live in has suffering, because God created Satan, and man, knowing the majority would be sent to hell… yet he chose to create them anyway. Why not just create us in heaven? That way no one has to suffer.

      “Animals are capable of Love and anything that can Love is from God which has a soul.”

      Animals are also capable of eating one another, is this also from God?

      “If animals meant nothing to God it wouldn’t be a sacrifice which means to give up something that is very dear to you.”

      If animals meant anything to God, he wouldn’t have designed them to eat one another, nor would he have subjected them to a world of sin for crimes they did not commit.

      “He also wouldn’t send his Son if he didn’t feel the need to end it and show his love and sacrifice in return.”

      Why send his son to end all the pain and suffering? Again, he didn’t have to create us at all. You might say creation was an act of love, but if the majority of those he creates suffer here on earth, and then go to hell… the real act of love would’ve been to create nothing at all. If I knew my own children might suffer forever, I never would’ve have them!

      “He sent Noah to save two animal of each kind so there would still be animals after the flood, He obviously cared for them.”

      Well… except for the 99.99 he sentenced to drown. Can you imagine? All those poor animals, even baby animals… swimming for dear life? “Mamma? Mamma? Where are you? What did we do to deserve this?” *glub glub glub* God is love!

      “The sufferings of this world are from Man and everything we reap we sew. Unfortunately animals have done nothing to deserve this but are in the cross fire.”

      Then… you agree … these animals do not deserve to suffer, that’s all I’m saying.

      “But if we didn’t suffer here Heaven wouldn’t be such a prized reward.”

      First, this has nothing to do with the animals. We can suffer just fine without them eating one another.

      Second, do you really want to argue that pain and suffering are required to appreciate the lack thereof? Should I beat my children, so that when I’m not beating them, they will be much happier? Or should starve them, so that food will taste much better?

      If the only way to experience pleasure is to experience its opposite, then pleasure is not truly pleasure, it’s just relief from pain. This would mean the angels do not enjoy heaven, or God’s love, for they have never known anything else. And it would mean Adam and Eve could not truly enjoy the Garden of Eden. And it would also likely mean that there WOULD need to be tears in heaven, in order for us to continue to appreciate it.

      500Q

  7. Our Father Who Art On Earth says:

    If there were a god who allowed animals to suffer as they do, then it is evil incarnate. Just the same as a factory farm worker who ignores co-workers torturing or raping or beating animals in their control. Just the same as people who turn their attention elsewhere when hearing a child crying muffled in the next house over.

    It is more plausible that there is no god, or that it is evolving out of the chaos of the cosmos. And it’s going to have a lot to answer for. I believe that the Big Bang was the result of god finally coming into being then realizing the hell it had unleashed on creatures in the cosmos, and it blew apart. Over and over this will continue. Until we find a way to free the evolving god from its own insanity.

    I stopped believing in god when I was 7. I asked my parents why, when Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple, he didn’t free the little lambs and doves imprisoned there to be burned to death. The idea of that tormented me. My mother made up a bunch of nonsense. But later my father pulled me aside and spoke to me with a True Father’s love. He was kind to all little animals, and to children, as well as very strong. We would find sad little city birds and care for them. He was so kind and loving that I didn’t want any parts of a “god” or “savior” that wasn’t at least as much so.

    My father used Socratic Method to ask me what I thought, and he comforted me as I struggled with questions. I am a better woman as a result.

    I am of Nordic and Sami ancestry. I instinctively rejected worship of imaginary fathers for striving to honor my living actual father and be worthy of his unconditional love. I guess if people didn’t know that kind of fatherly love they might believe in pie in the sky stories. But any man who claims animals don’t suffer is a psychopath and should be made Outlaw, as in the Havamal.

  8. Anonymous says:

    ALL EVIL NEEDS TO SUCCEED IS FOR A GOD TO DO NOTHING!

  9. Jon says:

    I would like to think we grow into what we are by starting off at the very bottom. From the smallest form of life we live and die only to live again as something else and mature our soul into what we are and what awaits.

    I believe in a God and a heaven but I don’t believe it is eternal. As I don’t believe the worst human being will suffor for eternity either. I feel karma is a strange but real thing. But how can we blame evil if evil is all a person knows. Is evil a chemical imbalance in the brain or is it an emotional decision based only from experience and external inpact of what you’ve experienced in life.

    I strive to be an honest person who can change the world for the better and minimize suffering if animals as they’re are truly innocent creatures.

    I can’t put my figure on what it was that made me this way. Maybe it was my family dog who I bonded with as a child and view all animals similarly as many pets are only taught to be mean and are not that easy by nature. Maybe it’s a mix of being raised a Catholic and going to a Catholic school until fourth grade but then transitioning back to a public school. I believe in God and heaven but with a scientific mind. I don’t follow much of the Catholic religion other than lent and a few other things.

    I can’t truly explain in my head why people are evil but I do feel it is the people who can’t find a balance between religion and science, or the people who lack self education of life, whether it is understanding the world and life lessons through education or teachings of religion are who the ones who lack compassion for all living things and lack the ability to empathize/sympothize with them. This leads ultimately to greed, selfishness, and everything the nagatives of this world consists of.

    Maybe at some point are mature souls will be able to bring heaven to earth.

  10. Anonymous says:

    God is not loving if he permits innocent living things to suffer. Such as babies and animals😦

  11. melissa says:

    VERY well said, and i so often come to the identical conclusion. And this is coming from one who has been saved. Although I’m a “christian”, I STILL have questions and issues with the God I professed a faith in. The truth of the matter in my opinion is this: The amount of Godly presence in ones life depends on that person. We all have a certain level of relation to God just because of who He is. At large, the majority of mankind pays no mind to the principles of God, much less centering their life around them as well as their childrens lives, grandchildren and on and on. Again, if mankind was appointed to hold dominion over all animals on earth as stated in Genesis 1:26 , I view this as being more of a spiritual dominion or leadership that mankind has over all other forms of flesh on earth. In other words, the moral depravity of man and disobedience to God in the garden of Eden is what brought the flesh to evolving to what it is today. No one is living in the spirit as first intended by God, as stated in Romans Therefore, we lost the ability to depend solely on God and God alone for our needs which would explain why he rendered the remainder of creation to be at our disposal for food, as well as other comforts and needs related to the flesh. Once sin entered our DNA, basically ALL flesh became doomed to fend for himself, due to the wedge of sin now placed between God and his creation. Essentially, a pact was made with the prince of lies by not obeying God and we are paying the price for it as are the animals in which we have dominion over because they bear the brunt spiritually for our lack of dependence and rejection of God. . Their suffering is just the remnant of our spiritual condition , which completely lacks Gods direction for most. So, the short answer would be; upon our submission to sin, we were put on our own but with an option of being redeemed which very few have chosen to take. Thus, leaving our animals to suffer for our spiritual condition.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for writing this article. I’ve been struggling with this and it has tested everything I used to feel so secure in believing. I have lost my faith because I don’t believe that any feeling entity, call it god, if you will, could intentionally allow innocent beings to suffer. I cannot believe in a cruel god and I will not follow the teachings of a cruel god.

  13. Nanci says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this because it has eased my mind on the way I think. I will say that, although I believe in a God, higher being, whatever, I cannot like, little own love, or follow anything that allows animals to be born hurt or to be abused. Reading this article has made me fully realize that there is no justification for it to be allowed to happen. (sorry for my bad grammar)

  14. Andrew Spencer says:

    We have a wrong idea of God. God cannot make a 3, a 4. Or a square a sphere,it’s common sense. He created us with free will,no other way even for God,the fall caused suffering. Now the beast couldn’t be in perfection,while we were not anymore,common sense. God in his wisdom decided to create,knowing the suffering ,He could not do both, no pain for them,but only for fallen man. We can be saved,if we obey His laws,known fully through Christ. Maybe the animals will return to Eden when all things will be made new, in the grand finale. But not lost souls,they freely chose to not obey,GOD. So let’s put things in the right perspective, and understand this, God cannot make a 3 a 4.

    • Hi Andrew.

      No one is asking God to turn a 3 into a 4, or to do the impossible. It’s not impossible for a loving God to create a world where the innocent are not made to suffer. Humans, for example, could all be born (or created) in Eden, only to be evicted after choosing to sin. And animals — we don’t even NEED animals to exist, so to place them in the crossfire is unconscionable.

      And no, God can’t make up for this by simply returning them to Eden, no more than a serial rapist can make up for his crimes by paying off his victims. Once you violate innocence, you’re guilty of it, and no future amount of apologies or gifts after that fact can change that. You can apologize, and try to make up for it, but you’ll always be guilty of doing wrong.

      500Q

  15. Andy Rhodes says:

    I thought your article was well composed. Keep up the good work. It’s great to see such a large group of people commenting in response to what you’ve written.

    I was having an online discussion this week about animal suffering and the Christian God, so I searched around for more information and found your post. I’ve debated the topic for many years, but I know there’s always more to gain from other voices and perspectives. I was responding to an article titled, “Did the Fall of Man Really Occur?”:

    strangenotions.com/did-the-fall-of-man-really-occur

    I’ve posted a lot there. I think challenging the historicity of the Fall of Humankind is very important. If it didn’t happen, at least in some form, then Christianity has no foundation – there is no need for humans to be saved from damnation, no need for Jesus’ everlasting rescue of our wayward souls.

    If interested, check out my blog, “Disagreements I Have With Christianity”, which explores topics similar to yours and results from a slow journey away from biblical religion:

    disagreementsihavewithchristianity.wordpress.com

    Animal suffering and natural theodicies in general were major reasons for my incremental abandonment of the faith. These two posts on my site directly address the issues undergirding animal suffering and empty justifications offered in the Bible for why human suffering is necessary in relation to the Garden of Eden and the New Heavens and New Earth:

    disagreementsihavewithchristianity.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/if-physical-death-entered-the-world-because-of-sin-why-does-science-demonstrate-that-death-always-existed

    disagreementsihavewithchristianity.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/freedom-fulfillment-and-sin-in-heaven/

    We can consider how the various disciplines of science have found much evidence to support the notion that death is generative and normative:

    thegreatstory.org/charts/death.html

    I explain my general background at the beginning of my article called, “Why I Am No Longer A Christian”:

    ————————————————————-

    I have a strong evangelical Christian background. I was immersed in it since birth and felt at home there for most of my life. My father is a hospital chaplain and former pastor, trained at arguably the most influential seminary regarding the theology of dispensationalism – which dominates much of American Protestantism today, Dallas Theological Seminary. He received another degree from another leading evangelical school, Talbot School of Theology, while my mother completed coursework at a Bible college. My sister graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and was ordained in recent years. The religion made sense to me, enabled a connection with deep spirituality, united my whole being with God and provided a special kind of community and support that initially can be difficult to replicate in secular environments, especially when thousands of local churches positioned across the nation offer experiences that are familiar and normalized in our society. I wholeheartedly invested an enormous amount of time and energy in lay church leadership during all of my twenties. I worked as a research/teaching intern for a brief time with two Christian apologetics think-tanks and evangelistic outreach organizations that reach out to skeptics and train believers to understand why and how Christianity is true (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Probe Ministries). To varying degrees, I also researched and experienced Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Episcopal and numerous types of non-modernistic/fundamentalist/American-styled/evangelical Protestant traditions in Christianity. Also, I studied philosophy, religion and history at Auburn University and Georgia State University.

    I was a Christian until age 32 (now I’m in my late thirties). I was well educated, lovingly treated by other Christians and committed to following God the best I knew how. But, I was blind to many basic and important aspects in common skeptical challenges to this religion. Even though I was in the process of pursuing a career in professional Christian apologetics evangelism during my early to mid twenties, many of the challenging assertions of skeptics didn’t make full sense to me (especially as humanistic moral objections toward an apparently all-loving/knowing/powerful creator God). A few key doctrinal issues drove me out of the faith gradually. Years later, I was able to think in a different way about various other theological/philosophical topics and vantage points that didn’t occur to me or feel spiritually/emotionally/intellectually safe to really openly address while still in the Church.

    ————————————————————-

    disagreementsihavewithchristianity.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/why-i-am-no-longer-a-christian/

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