Once again, our two debaters go back to an oft-visited well to drink. The atheist talks of animal cruelty and conspicuous absence of consideration for animals and how Jesus made it worse by permitting the eating of all animals (as opposed to promoting vegetarianism or humane farming). The Biblical God is evil, therefore… The atheist also works in the problem of suffering; it is not just the Biblical God that promotes suffering, but any God that created the world is a God that created a world with vicious, capricious, heinous predation and parasitism.
The Christian’s response is basic: if you care so much, you must be religious. By reducing nature to the “pitilessly indifferent” description offers by Richard Dawkins he asserts that anyone who cares about animal suffering has failed to recognise the consequences of an atheistic worldview. The Christian then adds in a redemption narrative: apparently all of nature needs to be exonerated. There are some Biblical passages to suggest that God is procrastinator on a Biblical scale: ‘I’ll fix it later’ he says while millions of individuals live and die in suffering in the meantime.
I want to coin a new informal fallacy: the Nietzsche fallacy – If I can’t see the secular value, there isn’t any. If it’s not grounded in God it is somehow a reductionist valueless waste. We are conscious beings and our experience is the greatest thing. We don’t need a God to recognise that.