War has plagued humanity throughout history and caused unspeakable amounts of death and misery. As people seem unable to stop it, why doesn’t God?
A warlike creation
People have a dualistic nature in that they hate war and violence on one hand but are oddly attracted to it on another. This natural attraction to violence exists to varying degrees in everyone, and it is shown in the amount of fighting in the world on both individual and national levels.
The question this raises is why a god would design people to be so susceptible to violence? If anything is possible with God, why didn’t he create people who were slower to anger, less prone to demonize outsiders and be moved by the call to arms, more adverse to bloodshed, etc.? People could be all these things without losing their humanity.
Scriptures and war
Looking past the seemingly very poor design when it comes to people’s natural inclination to violence, there is the problem of people using their holy books, particularly the Bible and the Quran, to justify war. While some argue this is not the true intent of these texts, many very devout believers have a different view. Even if the former are correct in their assertions, this would mean that a god communicated so poorly that many generations of his followers, from past to present, have totally misunderstood his intent. On top of this, this god has allowed people to remain mistaken without actively doing anything to correct these beliefs even though he could do so with ease.
Killing for the Lord
This raises the most troubling question about God and his commitment to peace. From ancient to modern times, there have been people on both sides of conflicts who were totally convinced that any number of gods were on their side. Assuming there is only one god and that has always been the case, why would he let so many people fight, kill and die in wars in his name?
Assuming God does not want people to kill for him, why does he allow people to continually think he does? Basic morality dictates that it is necessary to stop people from hurting themselves and others if it is in your power to do so. Why doesn’t God follow this obvious moral principle? Not only is he allowing horrible things to happen, often to the most innocent people, that he could easily stop, but he is allowing these things to be done in his name! Leaders are held responsible for what their followers do in the environments they create. Since God would be creating both the environment and the people, his responsibility should be even greater.
Just let them know!
Some might argue that it all is somehow connected to free will, while ignoring the free will of the victims of holy and other war. However, just giving people information or asking them to stop is not interfering with free will; it is only helping people to make better choices.
The most glaring example of this is when very sincere and devout people on both sides of a conflict are certain God is on their side. If God does not want these conflicts, one or both sides have to be wrong. Why not call down from the heavens and tell those devout followers they were mistaken (or inform them in some other way)? Just letting them know would not be interfering with free will. Besides, many of these people who are certain God wants them to kill for him are convinced due to a lack of information. These are often simple, uneducated people living in closed worlds. What could be wrong with letting them know their leaders are not, in fact, telling them what any god wants?
There are only two possibilities here if we are to assume the claims of the Abrahamic religions are true:
- God wants people to kill in his name
- God does not want people to kill in his name, but he is either unwilling or powerless to stop it.
In short, God cannot be much of a peacemaker if he is real. Not only does he appear to do absolutely nothing to stop violence, even when it is committed in his name by his own presumably mislead people, but he also seems to have deliberately created a system that is needlessly conducive to violence.