There is something about children that raises strong emotions and the desire to protect them from harm. These feelings are especially evident in those with children of their own. Parents will experience the worst hardships or give everything, including their lives, to protect their children. With so much expected from earthy fathers, should a heavenly father act any differently?
The children of God
According to the world’s major religions, we are all the children of god. However, the contrast between what society expects of parents and what they expect of their heavenly father could hardly be any starker.
Afflicting children with disease
A good example of this is disease. Every parent wants to protect their children from disease. When a child is afflicted, parents will do whatever is possible, sacrificing everything they own to pay medical bills if necessary, if it will help a child recover.
On the other hand, there is no hard evidence God ever does anything to help his children, be they young or old, from healing from any disease. There is no demonstrable evidence that the power of prayer has helped anyone heal faster (let alone cured an amputee) even once. In fact, a person’s likelihood of recovering from any illness is directly related to the seriousness of the disease and the medical care available. It has nothing to do with religiosity. Keep in mind that the most faithful often died in the past from conditions that modern medical science can easily treat today.
This is further complicated by the fact that these diseases and flawed human bodies would have been the creation of the creator in the first place. In addition, God would have to be in a position where he knows the pain and agony being suffered down to the minutest detail and is doing nothing to stop it even though he easily could!
God the provider
Even on providing his children with basic nourishment, God does not appear to show any concern. Until modern farming methods, much of humanity never knew when they might face starvation. Even to this day, many children face famine. While this is blamed on humanities fall from grace at the Garden of Eden, this only raises the question of why a just and merciful god would punish so man of the most innocent children over something a very distant ancestor did (see collective punishment).
They never had a chance
The fact that so many children are born horribly deformed or die so young (some before they even take their first breath) also raises the question of what happens to free will. Assuming God has to allow suffering as a sort of test of free will, putting humanitarian concerns aside, shouldn’t every child be given the chance to reach the point where their minds have developed enough to take this test (is life a test)? On top of God creating children so physically weak or deformed that they live the most horrible short lives or none at all, he is not even giving them the chance to take the very test that is given as the reason for allowing so much misery in the first place! The absolute cruelty of it all defies belief!
Finally, any parent does their best to protect their children from the horrors of the world. There are many causes in history of children being kidnapped, brutalized and turned into monsters, with the child soldiers in Africa being the most recent example. As evil as the people who do such things must be, isn’t a being that allows it to happen to his own creations, even though he could easily stop it, much worse?
Parents are given a lot of responsibility to create the best possible environment for their children, guide them and protect them whenever they can. If we are God’s children, he would be the kind of father who abandoned his children in the worst way imaginable. This is worse than a father not being there for his children. This father would technically be there watching over them in the most minute detail but doing nothing whatsoever even though he could stop the most horrible suffering with incredible ease. To make him even worse, he would have been the creator of the very system that causes so much misery.
Let’s hope no parent ever treats their child even remotely as bad as the Abrahamic god treats his.