JR'S Free Thought Pages
The Covid-19 Plague and the Big Guy in the Sky
By JR, August, 2020
Reporting from the hub of the British Columbia Babble Belt.
One of Donald Trump’s useful idiots Vice President Mike Pence is your typical dunce cap born-again anti-science Christian fundamentalist and “prosperity gospel” (Jesus was apparently a vulture capitalist) advocate. When the corona virus epidemic was full blown and growing exponentially in the United States, fellow anti-science dunderhead, President Agent Orange, decided to appoint Pence to head the task force to deal with the rapidly spreading virus. Pence’s first order of business, after being granted this crucially important responsibility, was to hold a White House prayer meeting. One wonders who Trump or Pence would call when they have a throbbing pain in the centre of the chest. Would it be their pastor? 
The results of course have been disastrous as the USA with 4-5% of the global population, has over 30% of the world’s confirmed covid-19 cases. There are likely millions of other untested Americans and countless others throughout the world who don’t realize they have been infected.
Incidentally, the United States with its 4-5% of the world’s population also has 25% of all people in the world incarcerated in its cages called prisons. For a country that is the most religious in the Western world, with believers in god and the supernatural comparable to theocracies like Iran and Saudi Arabia, this statistic speaks volumes about the efficacy of religion in civilizing human behavior. Another interesting fact in a recent poll is this: in the predominantly religious United States 9-10% of Americans agreed with the statement “there is no god” but within their prison gulags, less than 1% of inmates do not believe in god; that is, they are atheists. That means that over 99% are believers in a supreme being – the infamous invisible dictator in the sky.
Has anyone asked Pence, who believes the Genesis account of creation and a 6000 year old universe, why his omnipotent loving Christian God unleashed a pandemic to kill millions of people? This uncomfortable question could be posed for endless other horrors inflicted on humans and other living species throughout history, often referred to as “the problem of evil” - or theodicy - by theologians and philosophers.
Given his infinite powers, why didn’t Pence’s all-powerful deity prevent this and countless other tragedies from happening? Perhaps it can be explained by the truism “power corrupts”? Is he asleep at the wheel, smoking weed, recovering from a bad hangover or is he simply powerless to prevent this pain and suffering. Perhaps he has no conscience, holds no moral principles and simply just doesn’t give a shit - like many humans I have known. The best known presentation of the problem of evil is attributed to the Greek philosopher Epicurus, later restated and argued more formally by the Scottish philosopher David Hume.
In his excellent book Evil and Omnipotence, philosopher J. L. Mackie summarizes the problem of evil to show that the theist's belief in the existence of God is irrational. Not only is reason unable to prove the existence of God, but the beliefs of the theist are in direct conflict with each other. The problem of evil claims that, because of the nature of God and the existence of evil, God cannot exist. The focal beliefs regarding God with respect to the problem of evil are that God is omnipotent and perfectly benevolent. Though not explicitly stated by Mackie, it is generally accepted that God's omnipotence implies his omniscience; that is, there are no situations over which God could not have control due to his ignorance thereof. The conflict arises because, in spite of God's all-powerful and all-good nature, evil continues to exist. 
If God was omnipotent and infinitely beneficent, he would obviously prevent evil from occurring. Therefore, based on the overwhelming evidence that evil surely does exist, either God does not exist, or God is either not all-powerful or not the endlessly virtuous deity as commonly held. For the theist, there is no escape from this irrefutable conclusion.
That the rapidly replicating corona virus pandemic is continuing to spread raises the aforementioned age-old philosophical/religious dilemma called “the problem of evil” – which merely asks why a supposedly all-loving god, yet omnipotent deity does nothing to stop death, sickness and suffering both naturally and human caused by plagues, diseases, endless wars, tsunamis , earthquakes, hurricanes, Genghis Khan, Adolph Hitler, Donald Trump, Capitalism, the Royal Family and Wrestle Mania. If there’s an all-merciful father-creator, why did he create cancers, childhood leukemia, cerebral palsy, diabetes, heart disease, natural disasters and predatory animals that kill and devour other smaller animals or their human counterparts such as kings, queens, popes, theocrats, dictators, banking bandits and hedge fund cock roaches that destroy people’s lives?
Even the ancient Greek philosophers were perplexed by this paradox and contradiction. There seems to be no reasonable response to the dilemma. Some apologists invent another non-existent supernatural entity called The Devil to account for this mysterious conundrum, explaining nothing. Is this Satan dude more powerful than the pre-existing ostensible infinitely powerful Christian God? Are there various magnitudes of infinite power?
Jim Daly, president of the born-again fundamentalist tax exempt Focus on the Family, wrote a silly Fox News commentary offering no answer, but saying:
“God is working through the government’s response to this crisis, providing President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and the Corona virus Task Force wisdom and guidance as they plot and plan their attack on this lethal pathogen.”
How quaint. The know-nothing psychopath and pathological liar Donald Trump and his equally moronic VP sidekick Mike Pence are on God’s team to protect humanity.
Surely the truth is obvious to anyone with a functioning spinal cord. The pandemic, like all other natural and human induced disasters prove that the Christian Sky Daddy either simply does not exist or he does exist but is an immoral uncaring asshole, like Trump. From this there is no logical escape.
From its earliest beginning, Christianity has never been able to withstand the slightest degree of rational scrutiny. This was why, when Christianity was declared the religion of the Roman Empire in the 4th century CE, they proceeded to destroy anything that conflicted with their rigid dogmas. The destruction included the classical world, including the massive libraries in Alexandria, thus postponing the Humanist Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution for more than a thousand years. Why? It is because anything that conflicted with their Bronze Age Biblical world views had to be obliterated. Even the most infinitesimal application of logic, argument or evidence was a threat to their faith. And since belief without evidence, i.e., faith, is integral to salvation, people must believe the unbelievable to make it into Heaven. It follows that those who threaten Christian’s irrational beliefs also threaten their control of information and salvation. Thomas Aquinas therefore defended the Inquisition on the grounds that torturing and gruesomely murdering heretics and non-believers by barbecuing them on a stake was necessary to defend the silly beliefs of Christian doctrine and salvation of the flock. “The Lord is my Shepherd; what does that make me?” (23rd Psalm updated)
Now that the Christian Churches no longer have the power to persecute, terrorize, torture or kill those who threaten its faith and masses of sheep with scientific fact, evidence and logic, it must find other means to silence dissent and criticism. Endless Christian apologists have adopted newer offensive strategies that include electing as many of its disciples to government positions of power, to paralyze human curiosity rationality and scientific knowledge and shame human beings into silence. The carrot and the stick of heaven and hell still convince the unthinking multitudes.
In the final analysis, Christianity suffers from “the problem of evil” because it is predicated on the infantile belief in cosmic justice. Since Christians believe that everything that happens is intended and caused by a beneficent God, they are endlessly entrapped and perplexed by the conundrum of “the problem of evil.” In their desperate efforts to evade the unfathomable problem, they make it worse by defending a psychopathic psychotic cruel vengeful God, deny observable evidence and reality, invoke magical thinking and attempt to silence logic, reason, cogent argument and science.
Worst of all, Christianity contributes to the tragic quality of existence by fostering a reckless disregard for the natural world that for them exists exclusively for their desires and pleasure. After all, our earthy existence is only a bus stop on the road to heaven. Why, one might ask, is this bus stop necessary; why not immaculate conception for all and head on straight to heaven.
 Homophobic theocrat Mike Pence belongs to what I refer to as the BBBBB crowd (Bible Banging Book Burning Bozo). Here in Chilliwack, BC a hub of the Fraser Valley Bible Belt, there are a few of these anti-science, anti-intellectual homophobes on the local school board. When my wife and I lived in Surrey a group of these loons on the Surrey School Board led by an incredibly daft woman Heather Stillwell, began removing books from the public schools that conflicted with their fundamentalist Christian Medieval world view. Yes, people in Surrey elected this obtuse control freak woman so don’t ask me about how anyone in the US could vote for a moral monster and moronic know-nothing huckster like Trump. It took several years, an initiative from the Canadian Humanist Association, and a few million dollars in public legal fees to remove Stillwell and her lunatic cohorts from the school board.
The idiotic robotic ghoul Pence has declared, “The Science Should Not Stand in the Way of Reopening US Schools” and during this same period contended that schools should ignore Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on reopening.
 J. L. Mackie demonstrated that theism can be disproved thus:
(a) If God exists, God is an omnipotent and wholly good being.
(b) A good being always eliminates evil as far as it can.
(c) There are no limits on what an omnipotent being can do.
(d) Evil exists.
Ergo, God does not exist.
As Mackie noted:
If you are prepared to say that God is not wholly good, or not quite omnipotent, or that evil does not exist, or that good is not opposed to the kind of evil that exists, or that there are limits to what an omnipotent thing can do, then the problem of evil will not arise for you.
Which premises might the theist attack? To deny (1) is to deny traditional theism, particularly mainstream Christianity. This was the strategy of Rabbi Harold Kushner in his bestseller, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Kushner said that God wants to destroy evil, but he is unable to do so. He’s far too weak and impotent. But the traditional theist believes (1). So let’s move on from illogical machinations of Harry K.
It would appear obvious to any clear thinker that the theist must face the logical/rational problem of evil. Now, if it can be demonstrated that the alleged contradictions are real, would it not follow that there is no rational basis for the belief in an omnipotent and benevolent God? Would it not follow that the belief in such a God is, indeed, positively illogical and irrational?
 Why do diseases, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, famines, floods and wildfires inflict such terrible misery? Why must innocent children be buried alive in rubble as a result of earthquakes? Why are blameless people swept away to terrible deaths by tsunamis? How can an all-powerful and caring God allow so much misery, suffering and gratuitous death if he is omnipotent and can stop it? This question was put to Benedict XVI by a young girl from Japan after the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. “I don’t know,” was the reply of this apparent source of pious wisdom.
The fact that the current Pope Francis has added capitalist parasitism, global warming and environmental degradation to his already bloated list of sins such as pedophile priests is blatant hypocrisy. After all, his Christian religion has not even remotely addressed the roots of the problem for two thousand years. Those who believe in the End Times, that the world is destined to be demolished by God, followed by Christ’s second resurrection, there is obviously no reason to care for the planet that has been used as a looting platform and trash heap for 2000 years. If the Pope was serious, he might start by abandoning his Church’s reckless “go forth and multiply” procreative strategy, which has contributed to human misery as well as human overpopulation, species decline and environmental desecration. We’re informed that God will deal with the consequences - war, poverty, homelessness, acquisitiveness, untrammeled greed, gross economic disparities and now a global pandemic. Sadly, religion thrives on human misery and destitution; the more tragic life is, the more likely people will in desperation appeal to the supernatural for deliverance. This is often played out politically in gravitation to other variations of authoritarianism (other than religion) in the form fascism and moral degenerates like the self-described Christian Donald Trump.