Many horrendous evils are horrendous largely because of horrendous indignity to the sufferer. Such "horrendous indignities" may seem to provide evidence against the existence of God. But on reflection, I think, they do not. For only a being with a dignity can suffer an indignity. It is no indignity for a rock to have mud poured over it. Making fun of a monkey does not harm the monkey. Moreover, only a being with great dignity can suffer a great indignity. Thus, that some beings suffer horrendous indignities entails that these beings have great dignity.
The evidence that many suffer horrendous indignities thus tells us that:
- There are many finite beings with great dignity,
- who suffer great indignities.
Let us step back and ask if (2) is usually such a great problem given theism. We need distinguish "o-dignity", the innate "ontological" dignity of a being, from the "m-dignity" which is a manifestation of o-dignity. In (1) we are talking of o-dignity. Indignity, however, is not the opposite of o-dignity, but of m-dignity. The person who suffers an indignity still has o-dignity—if she didn't have it any more, she wouldn't be suffering an indignity, just as a rock cannot suffer an indignity because it lacks o-dignity. (One's pride can only be hurt when one has pride; otherwise, at worst one's former pride is hurt, and that's not a present hurt.) Thus manifest indignity as such highlights the o-dignity of the being suffering from the indignity. Only the evidently holy can be manifestly blasphemed.
In other words, manifest indignity is a kind of m-dignity. Manifest indignities are self-defeating—they highlight the dignity of that which they demean. (This may remind one of Hegel's master-slave dialectic and of the mockeries Christ suffered.) But horrendous indignities tend to be manifest. As such they paradoxically conduce to the manifestation of o-dignity, and hence there is reason for God to allow them to occur.
True kingship is most manifest when stripped, on the cross and with the side pierced.