I recently came across a real religionist cop-out – it’s on a website run on behalf of John Polkinghorne, a well-known British scientist who is also a Christian.This site introduced me to the concept of “limited omniscience”.
Apparently, religionists have so much trouble answering the question “If your benevolent god is omniscient and omnipotent, why does he allow tsunamis, storms, eruptions, and so on arbitrarily to kill so many people regardless of race, gender, age, or religion?” – that they now have to say that their god has AS AN ACT OF LOVE (!) limited his omniscience. He therefore doesn’t know what’s going to happen, so – guess what – can’t be blamed.
That’s like me purposely not maintaining my car in the hope that I wouldn’t be blamed when I killed someone beause the brakes failed. I know what will happen, I know how to stop it happening – but hey, it’s not my fault, I didn’t know WHEN it was going to happen.
So we have a supreme being that purposely curbs his powers so that natural disasters (possibly resulting anyway from his tacky planetary design) will kill, in pain and terror, thousands of the beings he has painstakingly allowed to evolve? And they want me to spend eternity with him?
I’d rather not, thanks.
That’s a bizarre argument, and one that I can’t recall having run into before. If the supreme being has limited omniscience, then how can religious people give god credit for those who “miraculously” survive a disaster?
There is a better (but, IMO, still pretty lame) argument that there were no disasters, diseases, or carnivores in the world until Adam and Eve’s fall, and that all of these things were introduced as punishment for that original sin. Sounds kind of harsh to me.