As a Catholic, O’ Reilly is able to shrug off silly tales like Noah’s Ark by defending them as mere allegory. I really cannot buy this argument. It strikes me as a modern-day rationalization brought on by our more scientifically inclined society. My bet is that such stories were intended to be taken quite literally. Besides, if you’re Catholic, where does that defense end? The story of Jesus’ virgin birth and resurrection are equally fanciful. Are they allegorical, too? As Paul stated in 1 Cor. 15:14, “If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” Without a literal belief in the extraordinary claims of scripture, especially the resurrection, what’s left of Christianity?
Yes, the tides go in, the tides go out. Sometimes a tsunami occurs, and the fucking tidal waves wipe out hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.
This leads us to the issue of theodicy, which deals with the question, “How do you reconcile an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving and good God with the existence of evil?” Typically, apologists attempt to deal with the problem of moral evil–that which is committed by human beings. The apologetic response is that human beings have free will, and that God must allow for that if we are to be considered free agents rather than mere robots. I actually think that particular apologetic defense has some merit. So, I don’t waste much time on the problem of moral evil.
What raises serious doubt for me about the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving and good God is the problem of natural evil–that which is not committed by human beings. The tragic human suffering–the rampant death and destruction–brought about by natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, pandemics, etc. God could prevent that kind of thing without tampering with free will. So, why doesn’t he? As I see it, this presents a major barrier to belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving and good God.
Of course, there is always the “God works in mysterious ways” gambit. I find it quite telling that those “mysterious ways” in which God supposedly works are practically indistinguishable from his not working at all. Occam’s Razor bids us accept the simpler explanation.
Theodicy–the attempt to reconcile an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving and good God with the existence of evil–is yet another failed attempt in the dubious field of apologetics. It may soothe the fleeting doubts of those who are already committed to theism, but it is hardly convincing to the critically minded nonbeliever.