It is basic teaching of the Abrahamic religions that life is a test. Because life is a test, this loving god has to sit by and watch the cruelest things happen in the world but can not interfere (just like Star Trek!). To reject this premise is to deny some of the most basic teachings of all these faiths.
Now, there are some major flaws in this premise before we even start looking at it. For example, why would an all-knowing being need to test us? Even if it would, couldn’t it find a better way that did not involve so much human suffering? These contradictions go on, but we will ignore them for now.
Ok, so life is a test, a test so important that it will decide our fate for trillions upon trillions upon trillions of years. Now would not you think a perfect, just being with the power to create the universe could find a way for everyone to take it in a fair way? When we look at the world though, this clearly is not the case.
- For example, what about the mentally ill? How can they take this test?
- How about all the countless children that this god watches die young from various causes including the diseases that the creator of the universe created?
- What about a person who is brain damaged and forgets their past. Is that person judged on their old or new personality?
- What about the children who are brutalized or brainwashed into committing horrible atrocities (for example, the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia or child soldiers of Africa) and then die young?
- There are a many more examples of people who did not have the mental facilities, died young or lived lives in which they had no real chance to practice free will. So, what happens to them? According to these religions, they either go to heaven or hell.
So, let’s say they go to hell or are damned in some other way. How is that fair and divine justice? Why should someone be damned for a test they had no chance to take? How in the world can that be divine justice? Surely no divine being could be that horrible, cruel and unfair.
Most religious people will say they get to heaven. There are many problems with this argument too though.
- How is that fair? If they can just skip the test, why not everyone? Why send anyone to heaven then if so many can just skip the test?
- In the case of people dying young, at what age are they held responsible for their actions? If it is puberty, then atheist children who die the day after they reach puberty are damned for all eternity, but those who die a day earlier go to heaven! How is that fair?
- What if Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot or some of the other horrible people in history had died when they were young? Would they have gone to heaven then? If they would have gone to hell anyway, then life is predetermined and there is no need for the test. Why would a god create people knowing they would be damned anyway?
- If they can all just go to heaven, then why this whole test on earth in the first place? If the worst people in history can skip the test, why not everyone? How many would-be Hitlers and the like are there now? In that case, we should be overjoyed when children die young since they get a free pass and cannot be damned!
No matter how one tries to twist and justify this, there is no way to come out with divine justice. Many either get a free pass or a damned for things they had no control over. That is a divine test from a merciful, loving being? That was the reason to put us on this earth with all its problems when everyone could have been sent straight to heaven (or hell)?