An omnipotent God, as Christians, Muslims, and Jews alike claim to worship, is one whose capabilities are limitless. No power is beyond his reach. He is the maker of all things and harnesses the power to do anything he likes, whenever he wants. Unshakably perfect. Incorruptible. Almighty. And yet, not so much.
If God is all-powerful, why does he willingly allow so much suffering? Most monotheists will tell you that he gave humans free will, thereby excusing himself of all responsibility for the actions of his creation. However, there are many problems with the “free will” argument. First of all, free will is gradually being debunked by neuroscientists – meaning that the capacity for humans to make conscious choices is a mere illusion of the brain. If you don’t trust me, read neuroscientist Sam Harris’s book, Free Will. It is a very short e-book that is at the very least an extremely thought-provoking read. But we will leave the scientific stuff out, given that I am certainly no neuroscientist. So, for the purpose of my argument, let’s pretend that free will is in fact something we humans possess. If God is the creator of all things, then he must be held responsible for the very capacity for humans to make mistakes. If our own free will allowed us to make mistakes and evil was not existent before us, then technically we are the creators of evil, making us, as it would seem, equally powerful to God.
Now, I don’t think most religious people would espouse this belief. After all, it’s supposed to be our weaknesses as humans that cause us to sin in the first place. So if God made all things possible, he surely needs to be responsible for evil and suffering. If he is not responsible for the outbreak of evil, then he is not all-powerful. If he is responsible, then he is certainly not the perfect god religious people portray him as. Again, monotheists will almost certainly tell you that God so kindly endowed us with the freedom to make our own choices, thereby placing the responsibility to be moral on our shoulders. But it is the very capacity for making a wrong choice that represents the flaw in this logic. If God was all-powerful and truly created all things physical and metaphysical, then where would the choice to commit evil even come from? Clearly, this god either doesn’t exist or is terribly flawed. I prefer the former.