“Lieutenant Chatrand: I don’t understand this omnipotent-benevolent thing.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: You are confused because the Bible describes God as an omnipotent and benevolent deity.
Lieutenant Chatrand: Exactly.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Omnipotent-benevolent simply means that God is all-powerful and well-meaning.
Lieutenant Chatrand: I understand the concept. It’s just... there seems to be a contradiction.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Yes. The contradiction is pain. Man’s starvation, war, sickness...
Lieutenant Chatrand: Exactly! Terrible things happen in this world. Human tragedy seems like proof that God could not possibly be both all-powerful and well-meaning. If He loves us and has the power to change our situation, He would prevent our pain, wouldn’t he?
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Would He?
Lieutenant Chatrand: Well... if God Loves us, and He can protect us, He would have to. It seems He is either omnipotent and uncaring, or benevolent and powerless to help.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Do you have children?
Lieutenant Chatrand: No, signore.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Imagine you had an eight-year-old son... would you love him?
Lieutenant Chatrand: Of course.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Would you let him skateboard?
Lieutenant Chatrand: Yeah, I guess. Sure I’d let him skateboard, but I’d tell him to be careful.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: So as this child’s father, you would give him some basic, good advice and then let him go off and make his own mistakes?
Lieutenant Chatrand: I wouldn’t run behind him and mollycoddle him if that’s what you mean.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: But what if he fell and skinned his knee?
Lieutenant Chatrand: He would learn to be more careful.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: So although you have the power to interfere and prevent your child’s pain, you would choose to show you love by letting him learn his own lessons?
Lieutenant Chatrand: Of course. Pain is part of growing up. It’s how we learn.
Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca: Exactly.”
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