On p. 26, Loftus asks an insightful question. He wonders “Why God tested me…if He knew in advance I would fail the test”. Similarly, he asks on p. 31 “Why didn’t God do something to avert these particular [deconversion] experiences of mine, especially if He could foreknow that I would eventually write this book and lead others astray?”
Both are examples of attempting to show that God is either impotent to stop rejection of Him or doesn’t desire that everyone believe in Him thus making Him immoral. The issue with these critiques becomes apparent when they are worked out fully to their logical conclusion.
The first statement is predicated on us never failing a test. Loftus is asking for God, since He is omniscient, to test us in ways that could only end in successful resolution. Knowing failure is a crucial part of our existence. If we only succeeded every time we were tested, we would be robbed of a profound means of gaining knowledge. In fact, educators frequently call those moments of failure “teachable moments”. It is at those times that we are most malleable. To wish otherwise is essentially to assert that the critic occupies an omniscient vantage point and would have created a better universe than the one we currently experience. Thus, everyone would pass each test of faith and never have a reason to not believe in God. However, no person can substantiate such a statement because they can’t guarantee that the people who are spared the experience of unsuccessful trials would be better off psychologically. At most, it’s speculative. Since we’re obviously not omniscient and can’t deliver on such speculation, the criticism carries no real weight.
The second thought is along the same lines as the first in that Loftus wonders why God does not guarantee success in regards to our belief in Him. Loftus is basically wondering why God has allowed people to write information that rejects His existence and could potentially lead people astray. Reading that type of information is a kind of a test for people. If God didn’t allow our beliefs to be tested, they wouldn’t have any real meaning in our lives. God would again be robbing us, this time of freedom via spiritual choices. If all the spiritual information that exists is homogenously pro God, we wouldn’t really have spiritual freedom. If we don’t have spiritual freedom, we’re essentially coerced and our belief is practically meaningless.
I said in the previous post that relationships ebb and flow. Essentially, our entire life is one big test composed of many smaller tests in which we move to and from God. If that weren’t the case, if we were spared failure or tests of faith, our lives would be incredibly dull and vacuous.