Re: Carrier: the religious meme
Hi Dexter, I think the question of prayer,suffering and evil is very difficult. Everyone I think experiences these things to some degree or other in their own lives or family members lives along with what we see and is reported all around us.
I think if you want to critique the Christian teaching on prayer,suffering and evil it requires some effort to understand as comprehensively as possible what that is. Suffering and evil exist and Christianity speaks about these things. There is a conditional aspect to prayer which you may not agree with but needs to be understood.
The fact is that everyone dies sooner or later and there is no biblical promise that this can be averted by prayer ultimately.
Christianity gives a comprehensive picture of reality in terms of death entering creation and evil and suffering and what if anything God does or has done in relation to it.
For the atheist there is no such thing as evil and no possible meaning in suffering and death, just the end of a process of physical degeneration or bad luck to be born in the wrong country etc.It's all just part of a mindless mechanical process where what we see is just genes trying to survive and replicate. It is utterly meaningless and purposeless in itself, and ends as meaninglessly with non existence for individuals and the planet that just happened accidentally to create life for no reason whatsoever will also be extinguished for no reason.
Michael Shermer and John Lennox attempt to address these issues from their worldview perspectives. No one can pretend there are glib answers to it or that we possess omniscience to know detailed or even satisfactory answers.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3TAiZRKr50
It's the Nature of Evil and Suffering; Lennox and Shermer.