This is a basic idea I think is coherent, and I’m going to try and see if I can structure it properly.
1. If God exists, God created the universe
2. It is selfish to perform an action with consequences that are worse for others than yourself, especially if the doer of this action is aware of this.
3. The act of creation had worse consequences for beings other than God, and God was aware of this.
4. Therefore, God performed a selfish action when he created the universe.
Premise #1 is an assertion that I think most people will accept. If God is defined as Omnipotent.
#2 is based on a fairly straightforward definition of selfishness as being motivated by pure self-interest. Theists often describe God as creating humans to have someone to experience a personal relationship with (in short, God was lonely and wanted some company).
#3 is, in short, based on the problem of Evil, mainly the problem of Natural Evil and Suffering, as well as the Problem of Hell. The Bible makes it clear that the majority of people throughout all of time will end up in Hell; couple that with Omniscience to complete the premise. God was aware of all the horrible things in the Bible he would eventually command, of the chaotic, brutal mess that is Evolution, of Natural disasters and how many people would end up in Hell, and he decided to create anyway.
From this, God saw all the horrors he would directly and/or indirectly be responsible for, and did it anyway.
WHAT'S THE POINT?
The conclusion, if valid, simply stands. It attempts to point out a conflict between the supposed qualities God is said to possess, and which qualities he can be observed to possess. It's up to the theist to decide if they're okay with it. It really isn't my problem.
Appeals to God's will and ends being unknowable are highly suspect at best. How do you tell the difference between a God merely claimed to be Good (and thus possessing the intrinsic qualities of love, kindness, compassion, mercy etc.), but not actually showing it in practice, and there simply not being such an entity, or a God with reverse qualities (cruelty, callousness, ruthlessness etc.)?
Appeals to The Fall or Original Sin are only partially effective, assuming we grant that's even fair. The long process of evolution still leaves plenty of undeserved suffering being experienced by God's creations, by his own hand, before there were any humans around on Earth to sin against God.
The Crucifixion is not comparable to the ultimate issue of eternal torment in Hell. Whatever Jesus endured on the cross cannot be comparable, since you cannot compress an infinite amount of suffering into a finite moment in time. Even if you could, that would just cancel the problem out, not solve it. God would have to go beyond infinite suffering to actually be selfless, and that's even less coherent.
So, does this hold up? What can be done with it?
But you could also say that life can be a beautiful gift, and who would want to miss out on that? Suffering is the price we inevitably pay for the joy. Some people have more of one, some people have more of the other.
Acceptable. But you could also ask the question "who says?"
If God decided that is so, then he has neglected to properly explain his reasons for doing so. If this was inevitable, then God is actually absolved of blame, but how do you show that is in fact the case?
Where is He to explain it? I guess the Bible or Qu'ran is where He is said to have done it.
The difficult, and convenient, thing about mysticism is that it's difficult to both understand and explain. The other thing about the Bible and Qu'ran is that they're not systematic, they're ad-hoc. We're taking a systematic approach, Jesus and Mohammed were talking off the top of their heads 2000/1400 years ago in primitive times, and they were frankly beginners at all this.
We would expect God, who has a perfect grasp of His material, to take a systematic approach. But human messengers are very imperfect. From what little I've read of the New Testament, much of it constists of Jesus trying to convince people of something he can't properly put into words, and them consequently telling him he's full of crap. But if we do put it into words, it's not so different from what I said. Life can be very rewarding if you play it right.
A gift from who? Also who are you paying with suffering. Can we at least get over personification of the universe. There is nothing giving gifts or asking for your suffering. You evolved from creatures that did not even know they were alive.
I don't think a gift has to be from somebody. People say things like, I have a gift for languages, or so and so is gifted. It doesn't have to be personified. Of course, to a Christian, these things are gifts from God.
It implies servitude. Suffering has everything to do with entropy.
Surely you're personifying it now.
What has suffering got to do with entropy?
Everything...entropy is what causes us to have to work to stay alive and it always wins as you eventually return to dirt.
I think that should be an interesting discussion with theists, or at least Christians. Ultimately I have to question the validity of any dogma, especially dogmas with followers that insist that theirs has the most validity. So I could never argue supposing that my interpretation or belief is the most valid. It's only a thought experiment, largely based on more ancient thought experiments. It's fiction.
I might embellish it with personal insights, since ultimately that's where the most value is, as long as it is communicable with others. Hmm, but actually, my emphasis would go back to the fact that it's fiction, invented by humans, in the image of humans.
The really interesting experiment that could be asked is "Why not ask Jesus if he's got an answer for you?"
How long would it take before discrepancies between Christian responses crop up?
So that is why there is only one christian church, LOL