A while ago at work I overheard a couple of coworkers talking about The Secret, a silly bit of pseudoscience that claims that any intentions you “put out into the universe” will somehow attract whatever it is you intend. For example, if you “put it out into the universe” that you want a new car, eventually you’ll get one. It’s a dumb idea, I know. Our thoughts don’t actually affect reality outside of what they lead us to do.
But there’s a dark side to this kind of belief. You see, according to The Secret, everything that happens is the result of our intentions. Sure, when we get that big bonus at work, it’s a sign of the power of our intentions. But when a tsunami hits and kills us and hundreds of thousands of others, it’s really just because not one of those hundreds of thousands of people really wanted to be safe from tsunamis – or, worse, that more of them wanted to die in a tsunami than wanted to be kept safe. In other words, as soon as you get outside of this sappy, fluffy, happy-go-lucky, upper-middle-class, first world life, The Secret starts becoming horrifying. Everything bad that happens is either because of too many people wanting it to happen or not enough people wanting it not to happen.
With The Secret, though, at least we can only blame ourselves. If the so-called Law of Attraction were true, we could do something about it.
When you believe in an omnipotent god that you call perfectly good, you’re in an even worse situation. Because you’re stuck believing in a being that is capable of literally anything, but which (for whatever reason) still decides to take a course of action that engenders massive amounts of suffering. An omnipotent being could, of course, achieve its goals through any means it decides to use. So if it achieves its goals through means that require human suffering, the only logical conclusion is that it prefers human suffering to the absence thereof.
And we’re absolutely unable to make the situation any better.
I’ve seen Christians extol the virtues of their god by talking about how everyone feels God’s love in their lives. Tell that to the African boy that just starved to death, in agony and terror, because a parasitic worm burrowed its way into his large intestine and siphoned off all the nutrients from the tiny amount of food he managed to scavenge. Tell him that it happened because your god loves us all equally and doesn’t wish for us to suffer. Yes, clearly your happy-clappy scripture is a comfort to people who aren’t as pampered and privileged as you are in a rich first world country.
If you believe in an omnipotent god, and you believe that everything which happens is a part of that god’s plan, you worship a monster. There’s no other way to put it.