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Why God Why? June 28, 2005

Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, faith, God, Jesus, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
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It recent years, we’ve had one natural disaster after another. From tsunamis, to devastating hurricanes, to earthquakes, mudslides and floods, everywhere you look there has been death and destruction. I’m sure the doomsday prophets are having a grand old time showing the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and predicting the end of the world. For me, I wonder how could a loving God allow these devastating incidents. I’ve heard all the cliche and weak explanations about the fall, the curse, the devil, and all the other beliefs that allow us to think of these “acts of God” as being justified. However, I am a father and no matter what, if I was in total control, I would not allow my children to be killed or left to live with the pain of losing everything.

This reminds me of the story of Job, a very sick story about God allowing the devastation of the life of a righteous man in some cosmic battle with Satan. In the process, Job loses everything including his children. However, it all turns out ok since his riches are restored and has new children. Well, what about the ones who were killed? How can one look at those acts and somehow justify it?

I cannot reconcile the belief in a loving Father in heaven who cares for his children and then turn on the news and see the devastations. Of course, in the midst of the devastation, there are always the stories about God dramatically saving a few from sure death. Their “testimonies” normally conclude that God, in his love and mercy, saved them. They encourage the audience about God’s love and talk about the plans that God has for their lives. Whenever I hear these stories it makes me want to jump up and scream “What about the ones who died? Did God hate them? Did he not have a plan for their lives?”

I know there are no easy answers to these questions for those of us who are no longer willing to accept the cliches and the weak arguments. The answers can range somewhere between there is no God to there is a God but he is no longer active in the affairs of his creation. Whatever the answer is, I am convinced that God cannot be defined as a “loving, caring Father in Heaven who has a plan for our lives” unless we believe that this love and caring can sometimes be defined by death and devastation and the the plan can include ripping one’s spirit from them. I guess one can also conclude that God has a pre-determined few that will experience his love and the rest of the world are just left to face whatever life brings their way.

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Comments»

1. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - October 16, 2005

First off, the Job story was the turning point for me during my Christian exploration period. I could never understand “why” God would allow those things to happen to Job (and most of all his family). It’s as if human beings are expendable, play-things for the higher beings to make examples and prove points to each other (which in itself shows that they are NOT higher powers). It shows weakness and imperfection on God’s part.

“…if– what Jesus said was marvelous. What does it matter whether he was God or not?”–KURT VONNEGUT

The truth that Jesus spoke outlasts the deity.

2. MMM - October 17, 2005

Seems to me that if you want to believe in God who is ultimate good, its polar opposite would be ultimate evil. <br/><br/>Any thoughts on the fact that God has an opposite, and his name is Satan?<br/><br/>Let’s hear whether that’s a possibility, and make a passionate inquiry as to whether this entity could be rejoicing in the fact that God is blamed for his bad rap.

3. Zoe - October 18, 2005

Hi mmm,

Again though, who made the possibility of a “Satan” being possible?

Respectfully submitted.

4. Paco - October 19, 2005

Good Blog Paul…

Bottom line, A-Z, the whole thing is God’s chessboard and a lot of it can’t be reconciled rationally. If I were God I wouldn’t have set up the “board” this way.

The other bottom line (grin) is we instinctively “know” God to be good, hence our question “what gives?”

This is where the rubber meets the road and where “faith” is the only answer a christian can have… pat answer’s don’t cut it here.

5. Roopster - October 20, 2005

I guess another possiblity is that our belief that “God is good… all the time” 🙂 isn’t accurate. However, personally I don’t buy the Satan is in control belief.

6. Paco - October 20, 2005

Paul, as a believer who adhere’s to the Bible and a “Christian World View” I do believe Satan is “the god of this world”… it certainly explains spiritual evil better than any other religon’s explanation, at least to me.

Evil… real, spiritual evil, has to be reconed with and explained. Garden variety “bad behavior” isn’t what I’m talking about!

However, even with that world view, as I said, God still set up the chess board this way, whether passively or actively, it doesn’t matter… it’s still “His Game.”

Pat answer’s don’t cut it because the bigger view is God knew man would disopey and fall into seperation and darkness. He knew the millenia of suffering that would follow.

Obviously, from my POV, He made a way of escape, but it still, rationally, flies in the face of human reason… how can a God who is good have set the board up thus?

Well, I do believe in the goodness of God and do believe I can’t answer that with any satisfying intellectual argument other than to say “it’ll all make sense when we pass from this dimension.” That’s why I said, for the christian, the only answer can be “faith.”

7. Anonymous - October 20, 2005

Thank’s MMM.

Also Paul, one more thought.

You said that perhap’s our belief that “‘God is good… all the time’ isn’t accurate.” That, of course begs the question, “how can God be a truly ‘good being’ on a part time basis?” Wouldn’t that mean He’s really not good at all?

My view is I have an extremely limited view and must have faith to navigate in such darkness!

8. MMM - October 20, 2005

ammen paco. you said it better than mmme.

9. Roopster - October 20, 2005

My final comment in the post “I guess one can also conclude that God has a pre-determined few that will experience his love and the rest of the world are just left to face whatever life brings their way.” really is one of the only views that makes sense to me within the Christian world view.

I’m a logical person and there are too many inconsistencies in most Christian World views except the Reform view or Calvinism.

To define God as God and then come up with a scheme that He’s not in control of the world introduces a great contradiction that cannot be easily reconciled. Especially when there are so many scriptures that state that God is in control.

He’s either God (and in control) or just another spiritual being on the same level as Satan and they’re engaged in a cosmic chess game with humanity as pawns.

To say that Satan can control weather, the fate of a child of God, etc. contradicts many of the core tenants of Christianity. Psalms 91, for example, cannot hold true in an view where Satan is blamed for all evil.

I’m rambling 🙂

10. Paco - October 21, 2005

Paul, you’re not rambling… just engaged in honest questioning!

The Calvinist view really doesn’t take into account Satan and has never satisfied me. Can’t the legal ruler of the universe surrender a degree of autonomy legally? Does that diminish that ruler and His authority? I think not… in fact, in my mind, it enhances the power and majesty of such a God revealing His humility.

11. Paco - October 21, 2005

Mmm… nice thought.

I’d also add to Paul, I’ve never heard satan blamed for ‘all evil”… he’s certainly the author of misery but I’m a big believer in choice (free will)… apparently God is too!

12. MMM - October 21, 2005

Saying God’s not in control because Satan causes evil to happen is kind of like saying that the sun isn’t shining because the rain clouds are blocking the view.

13. Roopster - October 22, 2005

The devil cannot have any more power in someone’s life than they permit. That’s where choice comes into play.

However, natural disasters have nothing to do with the choice of anyone. They fall on the just and the unjust. They’re random. Who control them? Did God really lose control of the “cattle and a thousand hills”? Does the “earth and the fulness thereof” no longer belong to him? Does satan control weather patterns?

One may say that they just happen as a natural course of things? Does that then mean that God set things in motion and is sitting back and letting it happen? If so, how active is he in the lives of humans?

These questions and others lead you around in circles on a continuous basis. Answer one, and it breaks another. Fix that one, and the first one that was answered previously now breaks.

That’s where we choose to just have faith and ignore the inconsistencies, contradictions, and such…. and it brings peace again. But does it?

Once you know the Matrix exists, can you really ever think of it as reality again?

14. Roopster - October 22, 2005

Paco,
Email me at roopster@gmail.com
Paul

15. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - October 22, 2005

Don’t we all have our own “Matrix” of reality and perception? Does anyone really imagine the same God? The same Devil? The same color blue?

16. Paco - October 22, 2005

Paul, I for one have never thought of Satan being in control of weather… I think that gives him much more power than he actually has. What I think is rebellion and sin “broke” the earth and we’re living with the consequences (remember, even the earth “groans).

Recent events have less to do with God or the devil so much as they’re bad real estate decisions.

On the other hand, it’s still ultimately God’s “Chess Board” and that gets right back to faith.

I don’t look much to the old testament for answer’s regarding Satan… God tended to deal with Israel on a very elemental basis prior to the appearance of Christ seemingly leaving out a lot of detail about the dark side of the spiritual realm.

Regarding faith, the Chess Board, God, Satan, free will, personal responsibility, et.al, I’m not one to ignore seeming contradiction’s and inconsistancies. I believe embracing those question’s is where real, personal faith starts. “Real faith” “sees more than what is seen” humbling accepting that God is great, good and just and that all will be made clear.

I understand it’s no fun turning these stones over with a christian cause we’re so friggin’ predictable… faith, faith, faith… grin

17. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - October 23, 2005

[“Real faith” “sees more than what is seen” humbling accepting that God is great, good and just and that all will be made clear.]

After reading this I was immediately reminded of all the times I’ve witnessed mothers swearing up-and-down that their dirtbag sons (most with relevant criminal records) could not committed the offenses they’re charged with…because they are “good boys.” I guess since they “see more than what is seen” their own faith makes everything okay. Or is it that their own hope refuses to let them see the truth.

Just a thought.

18. Paco - October 24, 2005

Baron, I suppose you’re saying christian faith and denial are the same thing.

The womans “faith” is based on the poor character of her son… there’s no basis in reality for her “faith” hence denial. A christian’s faith is based on the sterling charcter of God in spite of what is seen.

Are you saying God’s character is no different than the juvie’s and a christian is in denial?

19. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - October 24, 2005

Paco,

I just find it strange that someone would still “deny” the evidence even when there is ironclad proof to the contrary. Christians, on the other hand, maintain constant and persistent (well, some of them) “faith” when there is very little proof. Does it come from the euphoric hope that it is all true? Does it come from personal experiences that are attributed to God (experiences not exclusive to Xnty.)? I see the same pathology and process time-and-again in Xnty, Islam, as well as other world religions. It the same desire and effort put into the pagan beliefs (which, by the way, is very well intertwined into Xnty), crystals, astrology, etc. Everyone wants to believe in a higher (intelligent) power, and that they were purposely created. Maybe so, maybe not. I keep an open mind either way.

20. MMM - October 25, 2005

Yeah, when we come to the end of our rope, faith is usually waiting. <br/><br/>What’s at the end of your rope, Baron?

21. Paco - October 25, 2005

Baron, I find your use of the word “pathology” very illuminating… are you now saying those of faith have a mental disease? Care to clarify?

22. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - October 25, 2005

mmm,

I’ve been at the end of my proverbial rope many times. In the past I did in fact rely on my (Xn.) faith to console me, but in the end the results are always the same. No matter what “crutch” I used, it still came down to me alone picking myself up and pressing on. So for me, when I come to the end of my rope, I take a long, hard look at myself, and make a decision to either “press-on” or “check-out.” I must state that in recent times, I am much stronger and focused now than then.

Paco,

I must apologize for my use of the term “pathology” with present company. I was referring to familiar and default processes and mechanisms, not intending to imply abnormality. This is a term that in my circle is sometimes used outside the clinical norm.

I would like to add to all that my opinions, feelings, and resolutions about Christianity and some Christians in no way translates to the present posters. I don’t have all (or any really) of the answers, only my own disbelief. I’m still searching with eyes wide open.

23. Paco - October 26, 2005

Thank’s for the clarification Baron, I suspected as such and took no offense.

My brother is a PsyD with his own practice so I’m probably more sensitive to that sort of language than the average… course he’d tell you that you meant exactly what you said! I’m of the opinion human beings aren’t that exacting or calculating… but he’s not a believer and I am (LOL!).

Best,

Paco

24. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - October 26, 2005

Paco,

I’ve have often found many Psych. professionals display (probably through their own self-fulfilling prophesy) many of the maladies they study. Also, I’ve never found two PsychPros that can totally agree on diagnosis and approach to an analysis. Sort of like Xns. in differing denoms.

Take care my friend.

25. epiphanist - June 29, 2007

The Cross casts a shadow. In prayer in the garden Jesus accepts his mortal fate. Death, and most likely suffering, are conditions of existence. Faith must be robust enough to endure this, the most basic prophecy.
http://epiphanist.wordpress.com/the-cross/cross/

26. chasing shadows again - July 4, 2007

[…] I will add to the chaos this lovely post.  I very much agree with this on a far more emotional level.  It makes logical sense, but the […]

27. fox - July 4, 2007

“I understand it’s no fun turning these stones over with a christian cause we’re so friggin’ predictable… faith, faith, faith… grin”

Do let the heathens come take a whack at it then…. *S* Though this one at least says much the same thing.

Why would any kind and loving god let this world as it stands today come to pass?

I have wondered that often. I still have no answers. When I close my eyes and breathe in the scent of the sea and night blooming jasmine it is clear to me that there is such beauty in this world that it could be nothing but a gift. When I open them to see more horrors, light the candles on my altar, and beg for miracles I cannot reconcile divine love and atrocity. But faith overcomes uncertainty, at least for me.

The only possible conclusion I can draw is that suffering and indifference throw into sharp relief acts of compassion and love. Whether those acts are as simple as opening a door or as ambitious as providing wells to people with no clean water, they seem all the more important now. I don’t believe that those acts are the direct result of any interference from gods, but I can’t help but believe in something when I see what capacity people have for love in the face of hatred and violence. Love and faith are inseparable to me.

I will love this world until it kills me. I will do my best for it, whatever that is. And I when I die, I pray that I die knowing as I do now that I am loved by something greater than I am alone. I could be wrong, but the truth is it will not have mattered then. If my faith let me act with a kindness and grace I would not have otherwise possessed that let me help even one more person than I could have had I given up, I will gladly have been wrong as I fall into oblivion.

That said, I have seen religion used to justify horrible things, and I do believe that many of those people believed in their cause. Faith is a double-edged sword. It will drive some people to do beautiful things, but others will do things that are horrific. There are times I think that the world would be a better place without it, that the cultural rifts that tear people and nations and humanity apart cannot be justified by anything. And then seconds, moments, hours, months later – I look at what good has been done and think it is worth everything.

Paco wrote that embracing the questions is where faith starts. I think that faced with questions with no clear answers the choice between religion and atheism (or between religions) ultimately is decided by what answers we can, or cannot accept.

It is my sincere wish that the answers you find will bring you peace, when you find them (or if you already have, I note I join the discussion late), whatever those answers may be.

28. adamwilsonsv - July 7, 2007

Hey Paul.

I really enjoy reading your blogs. You seem to be a very smart man who I have a lot in common with. Thanks for asking questions that force people to think.

At some point though, I really think that we have to stop asking questions and just trust in God and his plan. Our futile minds cannot comprehend a God who created the heavens and the earth. There are parts of his plan and his character that we are just not going to be able to understand. We really have to hold on to Proverbs 3:5. We can’t lean on our own understanding.

That is extremely hard. Especially for people like you and I who value our ability to reason.

Have a great day Paul.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Adam Wilson.

29. B - July 12, 2007

We’ll find out when we’re dead, till then, be nice huh? 😉

30. B - July 12, 2007

PS. Interesting convo. Great y’all respect eachother. Believing there is no God is still a belief no? Makes me think, anyway. Either way it’s all faith and theories. Good to question everything I say. And if someone wants faith, hey, it may not be for me, but it ain’t hurtin em. Makes for stimulating convo when we all have different views, different questions, anywho.

31. B - July 12, 2007

Anyway, the whole no Gays, or the alternative, “tolerate” the Gays (love the sinner? thanks, don’t help. I mean better tolerated than hated, but really? Don’t patronize.) was the last straw for me. But thats just me. Don’t aim to offend. Lots of love.

32. abigail - August 8, 2007

To say that faith requires “proof” is an oxymoron. God tells us that “His thoughts are higher than ours, & His ways are higher than ours”. (Isaiah 55:8,9) God invites us to “reason together with Him”
(Isaiah 1:18) to a point, then we’re “commanded” to take Him on faith for all the rest. Do we really think that our puny minds that don’t even use full brain capacity can figure it all out? It gives me hope & joy to realize that “more will be revealed” as I ask my Creator for revelation. If He tells me that “He will never leave me or forsake me” I have to believe that means that He will not save me from every terrible fate but that He will walk with me, or carry me, through it. Still, I’m reassured that nothing happens without being filtered through God & is being worked out “for His purpose”. Job is a perfect example … notice that Satan had to ask permission to torment Job & later in the book, never denying God but always questioning (God welcomes all of our questions) Job praises & exalts God. Pretty good testimony of God’s goodness coming from a man who had lost everything & suffered enormous physical pain.


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