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Jul 10

The Parable of the Hunter

A father and daughter were camping in the woods one afternoon. The father heard a sound in the distance. When he peered through a break in the foliage he saw another camper setting up a tent. The father went to his truck and pulled out a gun. He checked to make sure it was loaded, cocked the gun, aimed, and fired. The unsuspecting camper was killed.

The daughter, hearing the shot, immediately ran to her father. “What happened?” she asked.

“A man died,” replied the father, as if it were nothing of note.

“But you shot him! You killed a man! What did he do to you?”

“He did nothing,” said the father. “I chose him. But you should know I did not kill him.”

“Who killed him?” asked the girl, confused. “Was there an attacker? Is that why you were shooting?”

“No, no,” laughed the father. “I mean the bullet from the gun killed him. It wasn’t me.”

“But didn’t you fire the bullet, knowing what would happen?”

“Of course. I knew perfectly well what would happen. But I still did not kill him.”

“I don’t understand,” said the girl, confused and on the verge of tears.

“You see,” said the father, “I am a good man. Good men don’t kill people. But sometimes bullets, which cannot have their own intentions, kill people, but never good men. So, it’s not possible that I killed this man.”

The girl feared for her life and for her father’s sanity. She chose to end the conversation there and her father went about his business, as if nothing had happened. That night, she stole away from the camp seeking help.

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4 comments

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  1. Paul

    Interesting parable there Mike, perhaps I can formulate an argument that captures what it analogically implies:

    1) If any person A deliberately performs an action B through whatever means (whether direct or indirect) while knowing the end that would consequently transpire, then that person is morally responsible that end.
    2) God deliberately permitted evil in the world (To permit is an action, though indirect) while knowing what end would transpire.
    3) Therefore, God is morally responsible for that end.

    Is this the kind of argument that would faithfully instantiate the message of that parable?

  2. Mike

    Essentially, yes. I don’t see a significant difference between the father in the story and God creating a world with certain so-called natural evils. Especially when you consider that most theists would accept a premise that says every act of God is morally praiseworthy. It’s hard to make the case that this is a good act.

  3. Matt DeStefano

    I like this a lot. I once heard the same concept described as an engineer who builds a playground and fills it with disasters; lava pits, spikes on the slides, quicksand, monkey bars that fall off when you grab them, etc. and then blames it on the children when they hurt themselves.

    Every act of God is morally praiseworthy, indeed.

  4. jack's hope

    that’s a sad story !

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