Does theodicy devalue human life?

Gert Korthof, on his blog today, takes on either Richard Weikart or God, I am not sure which. Professor Weikart, whom we have met before, thinks that something he calls “Darwinism” undermines the sanctity of human life and led directly to the Holocaust (and no doubt retroactively to such atrocities as the Crusades and the Inquisition as well).

Professor Korthof points out that current Christian theology assigns blame to God, not “Darwinism.” Specifically, he points to the free-will defense, a theodicy in which God is said to allow evil in order to grant us free will. He quotes the theologians John Hick and Richard Swinburne, and argues that their theodicy intrinsically devalues human life.

The free will defense does not work very well for natural evil or misfortune, but Professor Korthof quotes Michael Behe to the effect that malaria must have been designed. Professor Behe even calls Darwin “squeamish” for his famous remark that a beneficent God would not allow wasp larvae to eat a caterpillar alive. If Professor Behe is right, then God surely has killed many more people than Hitler ever dreamed of. And not by natural selection but by design.

Thus, says Professor Korthof, Christian theodicy (if not God) devalues human life and discounts human suffering. He concludes that what Professor Weikart considers shocking is unhesitatingly and “maybe even enthusiastically, ascribed to God by modern philosophers of religion such as John Hick and Richard Swinburne.” Who, then, brutalizes the population, those who think that humans are the result of natural selection or those who think that God tacitly approves of evil? In short, does “Darwinism” truly lead to devaluing human life, or is it religion?