Consider the following: God is omnipotent. That is, he can do absolutely anything. It’s fair to say that, based on that belief, God is all-knowing of the past, present and future; what has happened or will happen, He is aware of. Following that line of thought, God would also be aware of every possible future that could occur, should say, an omnipotent being like himself altered the current expected timeline. Now, knowing that, think about these facts: just about a third of the world is Christian, which per Christianity is the correct faith, and the one to be believed in if Heaven is to be achieved. A firm belief, if not necessity, of Christianity, is that to ascend into Heaven following death you must believe in the Christian God. Some denominations specify belief in Christ as well, but for general purposes, God is an absolute. According to the majority of Christian doctrines, belief in Him is one of God’s requirements; it appears in numerous ways through Christian doctrine, notably as the first of the Ten Commandments–I am the Lord thy God.
So, God requires belief in Him. He wants everyone to believe in him, yet only a third do. What went wrong? By most standards, this is a failed result. The majority of us are not going to Heaven, and per some belief systems, Hell awaits us instead. Perhaps we should look at the being responsible for us, at our supposed creation, and the concept of free will.
By the Christian doctrine, God created us in His image; during this creation, he bestowed upon us the ability to exercise free will. We can demonstrate this by looking at our daily lives; we make decisions that are offered as a choice, double back on plans we had previously set and so on. Within this, we have the free will to believe as we please; as kids, we believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. Along with this, we make a choice to believe in a higher power. That is a choice of free will, though it may not always seem presented as a choice. Religions have created tight communities that reinforce held beliefs or instill new beliefs upon children; thinking on it, you likely began attending church or interacting with your religion at a young age, accompanied by your parents. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, or with the communities that religions create; often they are filled with gracious, kind people. The problem comes from understanding the apparent predicament this has placed humans in, and the result it has in relation to the fate of non-believers per Christianity.
To achieve clarity, let me offer a review of what has been outlined: God is omnipotent, meaning He knows all. He wants everyone to believe in Him, yet barely a third do. He created us and bestowed upon us the ability of free will, and religion is often introduced at a young, impressionable age. So, here’s the question: Why would God, knowing that Man would result in less than a third believing in Him if He allowed them to exercise free will, allow us to? He had to be aware that the world would come to this; we would fight and wage war over different beliefs we chose. He knew that people would create beliefs that differed from Christianity, and thus, all those people would go to Hell. Those born in regions of the world where Christianity is not the dominant religion, are and have been, doomed. The 1 billion Hindus in the world? Doomed. The 1.6 billion Muslims? Doomed. He knows this, is aware of why it is occurring, knows how it could be changed, how His desire of everyone believing in him could be achieved, how billions could be saved, and yet He does nothing. He created a race that was destined to fail, He knew it would fail, and He has watched it fail. What kind of God is that?
Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher, presented a similar argument over 2,000 years ago, known now as the “Problem of Evil”. Originally, it was a series of three statements in the form modus tollens, which is a logical argument that if the premise statements are true, then the conclusion that follows is true. Epicurus stated the following: If an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God exists, then evil does not. Evil does exist in the world. Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God does not exist. Essentially, based on the evidence of human existence and our history, God cannot be all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good, or else acts of evil nature would not exist, for He would stop them. There are arguments against the Problem of Evil, such as the idea that God is simply not omnibenevolent, and instead exists as an objective being, responding accordingly to the world He watches over. Such an argument is plausible, though it goes against what Christianity spells out in the New Testament, and effectively extinguishes the idea of having a personal connection to God.
One could say that understanding God is beyond human capability, that the reasons why He acts or doesn’t act is not something we can reason. That would make sense; a being we have never seen nor who has had proven interaction on Earth is beyond understanding. If that were the believed case, then one would wonder how we could then place our trust in Him, believe Him to be the creator of everything and believe we know how to act in accordance with His will. God is either beyond understanding or He is not; either He acts in mysterious ways or we know what He expects, what He desires and why He desires that. Otherwise, God is merely a deity of convenience, with changing aspects to fit whichever argument is current. Such an argument further damages the idea of His existence.
It is difficult to convince people to change their opinion. More so when the argument is based on analysis, void of any evidence beyond anecdotal. The basis of religious belief is “faith”, which can be defined and argued as a belief in something regardless of proof. How can one convince people otherwise? Through the centuries, as science has progressed and discovered new truths, the beliefs and claims of religions have diminished. Neil DeGrasse Tyson once stated “If the occurrence of inexplicable events (miracles) is how you want to invoke your evidence of God, then God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that’s getting smaller and smaller as time goes on.” I cannot write that science has disproven the existence of God, and I don’t know if such a day will ever arrive; as I said prior, arguing against faith may never reach a conclusion. However, reasoning through current Christian doctrine and popular interpretations produces confidence in the belief that the God presented by Christianity, in His entirety based on the Old and New Testaments, is not the all-powerful being behind all of this—if one even exists.