Saturday 5 March 2011

Is the suffering of Christians evidence for anything?

Bruce A. Little's "Suffering for What?" is the fifth chapter in Dembski & Licona's Evidence for God, but I have no idea why. This first section of the book is titled The Question of Philosophy, and I can see why the cosmological argument is in it, and the moral argument. Less so the argument from near-death experiences, though a valid critique of naturalism should fit right in.

But Little's chapter isn't even an attempt at "making philosophical excuses for God" — otherwise known as theodicy; it's about specifically Christian suffering and is stuffed full of New Testament quotes. In what way is this "evidence for God" — or even an "argument for faith"?

For what it's worth, however, here's Little's thesis (or sermon — which is definitely how it comes over): Christians suffer for three reasons, the first being when they are righteous (it says so in the Bible); the second is that they are in a "fallen" world (it says so in the Bible); and the third is that they will suffer when they are "evildoers" (it says so in the Bible).

So there you have it. No hint of an argument, nor any trace of evidence bar scripture. I assume that some effort will be made later in the book to establish provenance of scripture, in the section titled The Question of the Bible, but what's presented in this chapter seems irrelevant in the extreme.