Christian Justification of Evil and The Saw Movies

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    Sooner28posted 4 years ago

    Have you ever seen Saw?  If so, chances are you can guess where I am going with this, and either express your approval at what to me is obvious, or wring your hands of such an intellectually vacous analysis.  If not, follow me to the end before casting judgment.

    The plot of the Saw movies, at least in the first few, is relatively straight forward.  Jigsaw is a man diagnosed with a brain tumor and given a short time to live.  This causes him to realize how little people value life, so he puts them through tests, or torture if you prefer, that, if they do survive, will provide them with a renewed appreciation of life.  This is thought to help his "victims" become better people in the end.  If you are one of the unlucky ones who happens to choose death over survival, you didn't appreciate life enough anyway.  (That's a rough gist, and if you are interested in the movies, I suggest watching them to hear it for yourself).

    At this point, the claim I am about to make is probably obvious.  Christian theologians often explain the problem of evil in the world as "serving a greater good."  They either explicitly claim that there is a greater good for suffering in the world, or, if they are more sophisticated, the greater good is wrapped in a "we aren't in a position to say one way or the other if God has morally sufficient reasons for the evil in the world, and since we already agree God is all good, there is probably a greater good being served that is simply beyond human comprehension," or, in Sunday school speak, "The Lord works in mysterious ways." 

    Now, the suffering in the world is not all due to human action, so objections about free will are not going to be relevant here.  There is disease, natural disasters, and old age, just to give the normal list.

    So there is a pickle here.  The justification Jigsaw and the Christian theologian use are exactly the same, with God being more morally culpable than Jigsaw due his omniscience and omnipotence.  My only question is, if Jigsaw is morally abhorrent for torturing victims to teach them the value of life, when he is a mere human being and is limited in power and scope, how much worse is God?  check out number 3 -"Fourth, it is quite possible that God uses the suffering to do good. In other words, He produces patience through tribulation (Rom. 5:3). Or He may desire to save someone through it. Take for example, the account of Joseph who was sold into slavery by His brothers. What they did was wrong and Joseph suffered greatly for it. But, later, God raised up Joseph in Egypt to make provisions for the people of that land during the coming drought of seven years. Not only was Egypt saved, but also his family and brothers who originally sold him into slavery. Joseph finally says to them, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good" (Gen. 50:15-21). Of course, the greatest example of God using evil for good is the death of Christ. Evil people brought him to the cross, but God used that cross as the means to save the world."  Perfect illustration

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      christiananrkistposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      i think there are a couple of difference between God and Jigsaw. first as you pointed out God is all knowing. he konws the would of, should of , could of's, of peoples lives or deaths may have. Jigsaw does not. second, God created everything, including people. even though people dont like to hear it, that gives him the right to kill them. thirdly God know where people end up eternally, Jigsaw does not. remember if God is true, then life on earth is temporary. lastly Jigsaw as i remember typically made you choose between your own life, and the life of another person. and as you pointed out, God arguably always intends it for the greater good, which we sometimes see, and sometimes do not.