We've just been told by our religious interlocutors that suffering IS about God teaching us lessons. The problem of evil usually starts with certain assumptions, namely, that God exists, that God is simultaneously omniscient, omnipotent, and omni-benevolent. The point of this particular brand of apologetic, then, is to reconcile those assertions.
Well, in the case, I'm with you on that one - it's all a pile of unmitigated bollocks.
Like I said, I don't "do" religion. I've got no time for people who make it their business to tell us who God is, what he wants, and how he works - like they know! If there is a God - and my own personal belief is that there is - then those questions are unknowable. We can be sure about that
because our little brains can't even grasp the size of the universe, let alone the concept of a being who might know what's going on inside it. Anyone who pretends to be the gatekeeper of those ultimate truths is a snake-oil salesman.
It's irrelevant anyway. Let's say, f'rinstance, that God is constrained by the speed of light (with all the implications of that) like the rest of us. Does that actually change anything? It probably still gives him a massive amount of scope to be God.
I wonder what lesson God wanted to teach her. "Don't be an innocent bystander in a war zone" might be it. Oh wait, it's the parents who are supposed to learn the lesson. Or other kids, or someone. Sorry, I'm having trouble figuring this out. What is the lesson, and who is learning it?
Uh ... yeah, again, bollocks. I'm pretty sure God isn't the great kindergarten teacher in the sky, and I don't know where anyone got that idea or why they're going around telling people that's what faith is about - they're not doing themselves any favours.
Sudanese MiGs bombed the border state of South Kordofan
If you want to believe that God is trying to teach us something in that case, it's to get off our lazy asses and put a proper peacekeeping force in countries where you can't even have a birthday party without precipitating a civil war. Or perhaps there's a lesson for the Russians to stop selling bombers to fucked-up countries. If you get upset about people being slaughtered in Sudan, and assuming God is a benevolent God, imagine what he
must be feeling about it all (we can't, of course, but maybe we can take a guess). But seriously, what would you have him do? Does he have to come marching in every time this happens, arrange a Live Aid concert, and miraculously start building schools, farms, roads? Train politicians, judges and military leaders to behave themselves? Here's the thing: if the Sudanese were Christians, they wouldn't be doing things like that in the first place. Whether or not you hack your neighbours to death depends entirely on the way you think about your neighbours.