PoE in summary:
Something I wrote in a dialog about PoE, I thought I’d share. The context was a story someone told me about a childhood friend who died, and a statement by an adult subsequently that it was all part of god’s wonderful plan for us (that somehow the suffering would result in a net benefit):
“If god is omnipotent, these same results could have been achieved without suffering. Ergo, god prefers suffering as a means to an end, even when the same results could have been achieved without suffering. It’s like a dentist who chooses to not use pain killers, because he simply prefers to achieve the healthy tooth result via horrid suffering, with no added benefit. Theists seem to think that the only alternative is god making us ‘robots.’ But if god is omnipotent, he could achieve the same result without suffering and without making us robots–that’s the cool thing about omnipotence, you are free from constraints. If god is so constrained, then as Epicurus said, god is not omnipotent. But if god is omnipotent, then making people suffer unnecessarily is something he does without need or increased benefit. He simply prefers to make people suffer unnecessarily. He’s either not omnipotent or malevolent. So long as suffering exists, you can’t have both.”
It’s amazing how quickly theists will sell out god’s omnipotence to make god “good” in response to Epicurus. He goes from all powerful to utterly constrained in no time at all.