Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H



Christian callousness


Animal lovers are always selective.  An animal lover is really just a lover of particular animals.  So our compassion for animals in general is always suspect.


It comes as no surprise that believers in God's loving care are not that worried about how animals rip each other to bits and are abused by humankind.


Christians and God believers tend to deny that animals suffer in the personal sense and that animals can love. So because animal suffering is in some way really just pain rather than suffering and because animals are not as valuable as persons as they cannot love the suffering then is fine! Its no big deal.


They celebrate the fact that they think they cannot prove animals suffer.  That is a most unbecoming attitude.  They should think, "We can only believe that animals suffer or don't suffer.  Its a pity we can't prove they suffer." As belief can be wrong, they think God might still be possible assuming a good God does not let animals suffer.

Bethany Sollereder wrote God, Evolution, and Animal Suffering (Routledge, 2018) to help make animal suffering sound as if its no threat to faith in God. She says there is no scientific proof that animals suffer but there are evidences and indications that they do. So it is a matter of belief not knowledge. She admits they show signs of suffering as we do but that is not enough for her. Even the fact that treatments for PTSD work on elephants has gone over her head.


Evolution if there is a God behind it then makes out that suffering is good for it takes away the weak and leaves room for the more adaptable. Even in the Bible God boasts about making the most red in tooth and claw creatures such as lions.  But we take the position that evolution is about change not good so there is nothing good about suffering.  We can hate it or call it a thing but we will not celebrate it.

Animals can suffer
Animals can feel pain. We discriminate against them and we have always assumed since we first appeared on this earth millions of years ago that just because they couldn't talk and had different brains we had a right to slaughter them for fun and food. Religion encouraged us in our evil. We did not consider that an animal might be a person too but a very different one from us or perhaps one that could be like us if it had the bodily resources and communication abilities we have. An animal can have the same consciousness as we have but just be unable to use it like we do. Consciousness is simply awareness that we exist - that is all.
Animals can suffer. Whoever has witnessed an animal being very sick knows this.
Few say that animal suffering does not matter what animals feel for they are not conscious beings but just robots made of flesh that act like they are suffering but which are not. The Bible advocates animal sacrifice some of which was cruel. As God is said to be good, it can be assumed that it is being hinted that animals are robots of flesh. There is something very perverse in saying that it does not matter how we treat animals for they are robots when this cannot be proved. Evidence is what shows something to be likely to be true. When animals scream in pain and seek happiness it means that it is most likely that they are conscious beings. They really can feel pain. They really can be happy. They probably are conscious for they act it. Religionists who are in favour of cruelty to animals on the grounds that it is not really cruelty are accusing their God of deception of having made animals act conscious when they are not. If their God deceives or does not deceive they should still take animals to be beings worthy of good treatment just in case.


Adam was offered animals as companions by God in the Book of Genesis. Robots would be no use for that. So the book teaches that animals are conscious that is assuming that the book is not being foolish. In Genesis 9, we read that animals can sin: “And surely for your lifeblood I will require an accounting; from every beast I will require it; and from man [who spills another’s lifeblood] I will require a reckoning” (v5).


John Hick wrote of the lower species that we cannot “even prove demonstratively that they have consciousness. There is, however, sufficient evidence for the presence of some degree of consciousness, and some kind of experience of pain, at least through the vertebrate kingdom, to prohibit us from denying that there is any problem of animal suffering” (Evil and the God of Love, page 346-7). He presented some evidence. He declared that evolution means that human awareness is just different in degree from animal awareness. The nervous structure of the non-human vertebrates is similar to ours meaning that they can suffer. The higher vertebrates can be trained to avoid pain and go for pleasure.

Believers do not want to suffer the pain of compassion too much
God is supposed to be good and the Church says you need to see some good before you can start to discover God for God is goodness. Human persons assume there is a God just because they were lucky enough to have a fairly good and human life. This is arrogance in the extreme for it ignores the fact that there is more suffering and degradation and evil in the world than life and goodness when you take into account the endless evils that happen to animals. It is thinking, "I am relatively okay in life and that shows me there is a loving God and I take comfort from that and I refuse to see that the suffering of animals and other people proves me wrong." There is callousness in such an attitude. It is the same as, "my lover is kind to me and therefore he is a brilliant person who deserves the best out of life even though he is slaughtering babies every day of the week." It is really trying to get enjoyment while ignoring and refusing to emphasise properly with the suffering of other people and animals. It is admitting that if you suffered enough or saw enough evil it would prove to you that there is no God. But just because you are fine or coping then there is a God. That is really looking upon yourself as the most important thing in the universe. It is putting your own comfort first.

Free will excuse for God letting evil happen
God supposedly has to tolerate man doing evil because God wants man to love him and he cannot force this love. They say love from a puppet would not be love at all. You feel love for others when you drink and the drink is causing it. Do we really care that much if love is voluntary or not? If you love others because you are programmed to does it really matter? The love is not love in the sense that it is not chosen voluntarily but in other respects it is love. It is not true that a puppet's love is not love at all. It is love up to a point. Love is not all about the voluntary. If you need free will otherwise you are a puppet then this is degrading to creatures that do not have free will. No decent person thinks a dog is a mere puppet though the dog cannot love voluntarily.


Believers say that God allows suffering because of free will despite babies and animals suffering though they don't, according to the religions, have free will.


Believers callously ignore this to believe in God. We need to realise how odd and contradictory it is to say that free will explains why there is so much evil and why God can let this evil happen and still be perfectly loving when most living beings do not have free will. What if God made a universe populated only by animals? What if he made a world in which no creature has free will? The believers are in effect saying, "When creatures suffer in this world though they have no free will, there is no problem if creatures suffer in a world where nobody has free will". They do not believe in the free will defence at all. They do not have a problem at all with calling God good when he lets evil happen gratuitously. The free will defence is only a cover-up to get people to think that a loving God can make sense in the face of pure diabolical evil. No matter what evil happens, believers are set on saying God has the right to let it happen.


If evil doesn't disprove God then it follows that if I were the only grown-up in the universe and there were billions of babies suffering beyond belief all around me, I may, and perhaps should, believe. If God exists and is good I am bad if I don't believe. The God belief is protected by believers from any refutation from evil. Nothing is bad enough to disprove God. The God belief is pure vile hypocrisy. A decent person has to be open to the fact that at least some people's suffering might be totally inexcusable and that no power therefore has the right to let it happen. That would mean that if it has no right then we have no right saying it agrees with a divine plan.


The amount excuse

An animal suffering terribly next to how much a human suffers counts for virtually nothing in the eyes of the Godly. But with that kind of thinking you insult suffering by making it about the amount. It is not. Believers in God know that human suffering dwarfs animal suffering to an unimaginable degree. The religious concentration on the problem of there being a God while people suffer is cruel and shameful. By the fruit you tell how bad the tree is.  Faith in God is selective and a bad fruit that comes from the concept of God. Suffering is bad not because of how severe it is but because of how it removes dignity from the existence of the creature and the life of the creature.  Existence and life are not the same thing.  The argument is ended - you cannot condone the suffering without hardening yourself and degrading the victim.

No answer
The Church admits that it has no answer to the problem of a good God letting animals suffer (Question 17, Radio Replies, Vol 3). It has been said that we should be grateful that animals are animals for they are better off like that than being flowers (ibid, Question 17). That is a callous answer. Its like saying to a rape victim, “you should be glad that he could rape you for better to be able to be raped than to be a flower”. Would you say that to a rape victim? It is argued too that animals have stronger senses in many ways than us which means they have more pain. But they could have their stronger senses and be less affected by pain. They only need a certain amount of pain for their own good. But they can suffer horrendously. God believers usually deny this and say the general state of animals is a happy one with little pain for they don’t know what they are doing. As always, cruelty has to be whitewashed over for the sake of God. They know fine well that only a person who knows what it is like to be an animal should say that.


Jesus said, "Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?" (Matthew 6:34. The error in this is that birds might not reap but they have to look for food just as we do. Birds not sowing and reaping and still getting food then does not prove what Jesus tried to use it to prove. (He is a God who makes mistakes then!) Also, even if we have to or prefer to regard human persons as more important than animals it does not follow that we should believe we are better. Jesus wants us to believe it. That is bad enough. But it is worse when he wants us to believe it as if he were a speaker for God and knows things others do not. He uses that for us to listen to him and obey him. Just because animals don't have the same bodies as us doesn't mean they are deprived of the knowledge that they exist and sense things just as well as we do. If abortion is killing unborn babies and if we feel we have to allow it or just prefer to allow it we only make things worse by encouraging or asking people to believe the babies are not people. See the point?

Nature set up cruelly
God is so evil that he makes animals prey on one another. So many do it and it is terrible. John Stuart Mill, thinking of nature or God’s design, wrote that God made animals impelled by their instincts to kill and torment each other and made them unable to survive any other way. God forces them to be cruel so God is definitely cruel.

Unknown and useless animal suffering
Religion blames human misuse of free will not God for human suffering in the world. It thinks God allows no suffering to be wasted. God uses it in his complicated plan to make us better people. This is slander for nobody has the right to accuse us of breaking God's law when we don't know if God really has a law. You need proof to make an accusation like that! And we have seen that another reason it is slander is that the religions do not really care if free will excuses God or not.


Most animal suffering is unknown to us who are reportedly here to do good with our free will so when we don’t know it is wasted suffering. When bird is killed by a cat in the forest nobody ever finds out about it. When a dog has terrible stomach cramps in the middle of the night nobody knows. When a slug goes on to a patch of salt next a bin it dies in torture and nobody knows. And most animal suffering that is seen is not even thought about again after a few minutes so it might as well not have happened at all. What about the suffering that took place before human beings walked the earth? If suffering happens so that free beings might be good then nobody can say then that animal suffering is for a purpose for we know nothing about much of it. God could have made animals as unconscious robots and should have. If we grow spiritually through helping animals is that growth worth the animal suffering? That growth is essentially made of caring feeling and a better attitude but what about the feelings of the animal? The suffering would tip the scales more than the growth. The animal will not live on after death like us. It is worse to hurt a being with a short life than one with a longer one. If you appreciate the suffering for making you grow then that is callous and the only growing you have done spiritually is growing in hypocrisy.

Animals do not suffer so that we might help them. We simply cannot help many of them.

All the animal suffering that happened before we evolved cannot be explained and is proof that there is no God. Those who say that animals have no moral rights but are to be treated kindly because God made them and no artist likes his work mocked (eg Question 51, Radio Replies 3) are telling those who have little or no belief in God that they may abuse animals if they want for that is not a reason. And when God lets animals rip one another up how could he care as long as we don’t abuse too many of them and drive them to extinction? Is it genuinely caring to use the God belief to protect animals? What does it say about us that we can’t just see that animal suffering is an evil to be prevented and averted instead of looking for a belief to tell us that its wrong?

It would be answered that if secret suffering never happens then we could stop God causing or allowing suffering simply by refusing to know. It would be a sin for us to help them if God should hurt animals. And we would not know for sure if it really succeeded. The answer does not work.

Augustine said that animals have to suffer for God needs to make different grades of being as if that would be an answer! He blamed animals suffering on the sin of Adam and Eve. If God made nature red in tooth and claw because of them then it was just an excuse. Religion says that it was people who sinned not animals. We know from science that animals were suffering and dying long before man appeared on earth.

Animals don't have rights?
Some argue that animals may be abused because they don’t deserve good treatment. They mean that since the animals don’t have the free will necessary to merit rewards or punishments then we have to treat them as we please. That is very wrong. You do not abuse a being that can suffer. Freedom does not come into it.

The Bible degrades animals
Different kinds of animals are at different levels of intelligence and awareness. The evil Bible says that God has given us all animals as food. The Lord told the Hebrews to kill goats and sheep in sacrifice and eat them in the book of Leviticus. It should tell us to eat the lower animals and not the higher ones when they are available but it does not. God could have made it unnecessary for us to eat the higher animals by making their flesh as tough as old boots and make the edible lower ones more common. That is, only if one assumes that we should have meat to eat which is wrong for God could have made plants that suffice to give us all the nutrition and pleasure we need.


If God abuses animals cruelly then we should do the same if he is good. We should approve of it then. So we should not believe in God. Better to do that than to risk praising a being for doing evil and gratuitously causing suffering. Your heart is deceptive above all things according to the Bible prophet Jeremiah. So you could be secretly glad to see the cruelty. You might not be aware of this or the degree of your approval yourself. Clearly, any doctrine that risks you condoning evil should be rejected.  Religionists say that God is the centre of their lives and actions. And then they refuse to imitate because they fear society’s mores and taboos more than him. They are not so godly after all.

Animal cruelty hurts the cruel person only?
Believers often say that when a person tortures an animal the worst damage is probably done to the tormentor and not the animal (page 214, The Enigma of Evil) the implication being that it is not such a big deal that the animal is hurt. In other words, the tormentor ruins his own soul by enjoying such evil and corrupts himself. But if the tormentor repents quickly this will not happen.  The Christian cannot condemn the animal tormentor for hurting the animal as much as for his damaging himself spiritually. But if he can prevent damage by repenting then it is not damaging that is wrong and immoral but not repenting. Christians are making the torment of animals out to be a tolerable and minor wrong in which case it is impossible to see how anybody maltreating animals could damage themselves in any important way. It is contradictory to say that that you ruin yourself by hurting an animal and what you do to yourself is the main wrong. If the animal isn't important, if its suffering isn't important, then how can you do yourself much damage by torturing it?


Presumably the closeted heretic only damages himself too. But religion still says that heresy is a dreadful sin on its own apart from not repenting of heresy. So if you are a heretic for ten harmless seconds it is still a major offence. I am tired of the nonsense that Christians foist on the unsuspecting world.
Animal suffering disproves the love and therefore the existence of God. Those who call it a mystery are offending against the law that we should have as few mysteries as possible. It would be better to believe in an all-powerful spirit robot that does not give a toss than in a spirit God of love.

The religious are really just refusing to admit the truth. Their mystery is silly and is mere stubbornness.

Human free will isn’t worth the suffering of even one animal. Nothing can be more innocent than an animal. Religion argues in the free will defence that the existence of suffering is necessary because we have free will. The defence says suffering should not exist if there are no agents with free will. That tacitly admits that a being without free will should not suffer. Animal suffering


It is impossible to deny that our treatment of animals is evil. Killing an animal even painlessly is using a conscious being for our benefit. It is taking away its happiness and its opportunity to be happy. It implies that we cannot object if some alien being comes along and eats us on the grounds that it is a being better than us. The atheist may eat meat and even kill animals. That is evil. But the atheist does not make the situation worse by acting as if God approves of his behaviour. Religion and belief in God deepen vice.


If you are an animal lover, do not give money to a faith that demeans the rights of animals.
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