Is the Universe Benevolent, Malevolent, or just Ambivalent?

Most religious leaders want us to believe that the forces of the universe (god) are all-powerful and all-loving. But I’m skeptical.

I’m aware of the joys in the universe, but I’m also not blind to the unavoidable suffering that most beings have to endure - like the deer that falls prey to the lion, the mother who loses a child, or the frailties that come with aging. It’s hard for me to perform the mental gymnastics of theodicies to conclude that the omnipotent, benevolent creator didn’t have creative alternatives to this suffering for whatever their end goal might be. Maybe that’s a limit of my intellect, but I don’t see any other proponents of the theory articulating a sound defense either. 

I understand that the belief in a benevolent force can lead to psychological benefits, like optimism. But naive optimism only lasts so long as your brain is blissfully ignorant of the naivety. Such optimism is fragile and risks collapsing under the weight of reality. I’d rather settle on the belief that life is an unexplainable experience, that it isn’t all roses and butterflies, and the general universal forces are ambivalent to individual suffering, but we can try and make it enjoyable and meaningful for each other. We may not control the indifferent currents of the cosmos, but we can choose to navigate them with compassion and solidarity. 

Maybe we could be the capable and benevolent agents of the universe.