Merry Christmas! I'll mark myself down as the first Christian on here, seems a little balancing is needed.
Whatever you've got let me hear it, I've heard all the irrational hate and ridicule before and some of the legit debates as well.
Originally Posted by Fieos
You can put me down. I was pursuant of philosophy/theology degrees before my IT job turned into a career. I'm fairly classicly trained and can argue any side of this if we are doing it for fun. Just tell me what side you want me on. In the meantime I'll share one of my favorite quotes.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Just to stir things up a bit (can follow up in another thread since this is just a registration) here's the short answer to Epicurus: Free will. The Christian answer to that question is: God is omnipotent, but he is also benevolent. If he created humanity but gave us no choice to CHOOSE good or evil for ourselves, then we would be puppets and life would be meaningless.
The basic explanation I can offer is this - Evil comes from our own choice, and God's Gift of free will. He is omnipotent, but his benevolence constrains him from destroying his own gift of free will, hence his obscurement of himself to something that can never be "Proven" beyond doubt, only felt through life's experiences and patterns after witnessing the positive aftereffects of good choices such as love, charity etc. and the depressions and hardships of making evil choices such as cruelty etc. If there was an all powerful God sitting right there in front of you that you knew you couldn't anger or go against, where's the free will?
In the same way, he cannot wipe out evil in this life without wiping out humanity's free will, he can only take us away from it (afterlife and so on) if we choose to move away from it on our own. But even in this life, if we do move away, the rewards are palpable, and these I can vouch from my own personal experience and those of other christians.
He is very much able and willing to prevent evil to some degree in this life as well, there is prayer but of course it's not an instant magic button. Because there is also the whole "you reap what you sow" thing and the constrains of free will. But evil and life's tests or no, there is always the general happiness that comes from making the right choices in life. Love over lust, humility over arrogance (just ask all top MMA fighters for example) and so on,