Is god good?
If we’re going to ask that question, the first thing that has to be established is: whose “good” are we using as a standard? If human good is to be the benchmark, then the task is relatively easy. Whatever good god recognizes, however, will introduce a degree of vagary which may be insuperable.
Regardless of which deity is supervising this reality, he/she/it cannot be said to be good by human standards in the slightest measure, and one need look no further than the world’s children for evidence. Entirely too much of the young population of this planet are subjected to the kinds of deprivation, indifference, abuse, torture, and resultant loss of life which the average adult of the US would find abhorrent and intolerable. Children starve in Darfur and Bangladesh; they are used as sexual playthings in the Orient and elsewhere; they are collateral damage on the battlefields of Syria and conscripted into renegade armies to be used as cannon fodder in Africa by uncaring warlords such as Joseph Kony and others like him. The utter lack of protection rendered by any form of supreme being and indeed the complete indifference held toward the youngest and most vulnerable may be summarized as follows:
If I could stop a man from raping a child, I would. That's the difference between me and your God.
-- Tracie Harris
Man’s inhumanity to man, whether minor or adult, and the failure by any god to defend against it is well documented here, but what of the deity’s own sins against those least able to manage against that being’s onslaught? Childhood diseases and disorders, whether genetic or of bacterial or viral origin, pose as much of a threat to their existence as those created by humankind. Afflictions such as mumps, rubella, and chicken pox are bad enough, but these only scratch the surface. Polio, assorted cancers, autism, diabetes and too many others daily rob a child of any opportunity to live his or her life frequently even as their lives have started. If that’s not enough, genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome or spina bifida can start them with a severe disadvantage before they’ve even left the uterus. If, as the song says, Jesus loves all the little children of the world, he could show his devotion a bit better than to saddle them with such weight.
Of course, now the believers have to retort with such zingers as: “The world is fallen and this is the penalty for the sin of Adam,” and “Who are we to judge god?” and “God’s ways are not our ways.” My responses to each, respectively, are: “Where is the evidence of the fall of this world outside of the bible?”, “Who do I HAVE to be to judge your precious god?” and finally, “Okay – What ARE his ways?!?” Ask that last of a hundred people who style themselves as biblical scholars and I suspect you’d get 101 different answers, amusing considering the repeated declaration we have heard that “no one can know the mind of god.” In theory, what we’re supposed to do is observe the dictate of the lord’s prayer: “Thy will be done,” and live in submission to something unknown and unknowable.
Or … we can assert ourselves for our children’s sake and our own against a world which, for all appearances and evidence, has neither god nor interest in our continued existence and make our own way by our own devices. I vote for Door No. 2, myself.