Unstop - I remember the loathsome Pat Robinson using that defense of god back in 2004. It struck me that he was the only honest theologian I had read on the subject.
10. God caused the tsuanmi because he is judging people for sin.
My response - The problem for theism is that god cannot be powerful, knowing and loving if he passively observes the violent death of a quarter of a million people.
You have chosen to resolve the dilemma by ditching the claim that god is love. In doing so you are in harmony with pre-exile worhsippers of Yahweh but you are left with a god who is all-powerful, all-knowing and a total tyrant. You still have theism but as far as ethics go your god is on a par with Zeus or Thor. Surely the whole point of being god is being worthy?
Caliber - Thank you for also resorting to pre-exile theodicies of vengeful Yahweh. Your answer is straight out of the book of Job, "shut up you unworthy worm and take whatever shit god dishes out"
11. Who are we to judge god?
My response - You have unhitched the word "love" from any meaningful definition. We may think we know what love means but god demonstrates that we have not the slightest idea. Love could just as easily mean the capricious anihilation of a quarter of a million innocent people. You destroy our ability to make moral judgements. "Good" is whatever pleases god from moment to moment. Mass destruction is just as morally good as altruism and self-sacrifice.
Ethics are a matter of divine fiat. The value of human life is trivialised.
In defending god you have reduced him to a celestial Pol Pot who may choose on a whim to eradicate our lives in the manner of the killing fields of Cambodia. With apologists like you who needs atheists?
Little Socrates - Hi, welcome to JWN. I feel as if I ought to be gentle with you since its your first post but its not easy when you open with...
"We suffer because WE need to learn about empathy and compassion"
Did you really think that through properly?
12. Suffering is good for us (which usually means "you")
My response - Lets try that out with a real tsunami victim. Please take a few moments to get down out your ivory tower and try to imagine what suffering really feels like for this woman. Perhaps this dead child is the only body she managed to recover from the aftermath. Lets imagine she has lost everything. Every family member, every possession every hope and dream and ambition she ever had. She is now condemned to months of living among devastation without adequate food or water or shelter.
Now go and tell her that your god sent the tsunami because she needed to learn empathy and compassion.