PRESCRIPT: Recently, I was invited to give a presentation on the theme of “Welcoming the Stranger: Exodus, Exile, and Migration – Effects on the Current World” at the Annual Meeting of the Victorian Association of Texts and Traditions Teachers (VATTT). Texts and Traditions is a stream within the Religious Studies curriculum in Victorian high schools that examines religious traditions from the standpoint of their sacred texts, the literary forms in which those texts appear, and how those texts and their interpretation inform the historical and contemporary experience of different faith communities. Here is the text of my presentation; however, because the presentation itself was delivered in a less formal manner, there was some ad hoc editing and re-arranging of the text as I went along. This is, as it were, the “full and formal” version.

The Question: Doesn’t the fact of suffering prove that God doesn’t exist?

In some respects, this question is related to the question of God’s omnipotence.  If God existed and was omnipotent – that is, able to do anything God wanted to do – then surely God would do something about suffering, given that it was within God’s power to do so.  The fact that God doesn’t do anything about suffering therefore surely proves that God doesn’t actually exist.