Skip to comments.On seeking 'a better God'
Posted on 08/22/2009 6:43:08 PM PDT by TBP
"The questions [people are asking] have changed quite significantly in the past 30 years," he told me. "It used to be, 'Is there a God?' and now it's 'What I know about God I don't like.' Their biggest complaint is that God acts in morally inferior ways compared to us."
Not only that, but the God who appears in the Bible is especially offensive.
The God who gets communicated to the young sounds vengeful and angry and over-anxious to consign people to hell, plus he gets all wrought up about divorce, homosexuality and whether people sleep together before marriage -- which are non-issues to them.
Plus, the typical Gospel presentation of God becoming a human and dying for the sins of the world does not reach these students. No court of law would punish an innocent person for the sins of the guilty, they reason. Why kill off an innocent man for the trespasses of a world that didn't ask to be saved in the first place?
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
I dare anyone to post their position on that.
There is no good answer.
Why allow “thousands of years of human suffering to go on and on and on”?
Only suffering? No joy, love, peace, happiness. Only suffering? No watching your family grow and learn. No learning yourself.
I have gone through some years of suffering. There were times when I wished I was gone. But that is when I found out who God was. I learned what comfort and peace was. I don’t think a person can experience unbelievable peace until they’ve suffered.
A guy gets falling down drunk and wanders out into traffic. A car hits him and kills him. Did God cause this to happen? AIDS virus came and killed thousands of people. Is it Gods fault that men have forbidden sex with other men and or animals? To tell you the truth, I wouldn't blame God if he did cause a lot of pain. After all we kicked Him out of our schools, courts, government functions and just about every thing else.
If we are made in the image and likeness of God, we must be born with free will.
If that is so, then the suffering that comes into our lives is the product of the choices we make. The good news is that we can always make new choices.
We have freedom of choice, but not of consequence.
Things don’t always show up in the way we imagine when we ask for them, either consciously or subconsciously. But they do show up.
C.S. Lewis and Malcolm Muggeridge were two giant intellectuals who were staunch Christians. They wrote exhaustively about modern man’s penchant for the idolatry of self-worship. Interesting reading from men who could both think and write.
Yes, and all those times, he was standing right next to you. All you need to do is ask him to come into your heart. As you did.
Ever since God created man in his own image and likeness, man has been trying to create God in his image and likeness. God’s ways are not our ways, and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. What people are actually saying is, “If I were God, I would do a better job.”
God could make human beings without a free will. We would be no different than any other machine. Without free will, we can’t love either God or our neighbor. The problem with free will is that it is also capable of great wickedness. God is not the cause of human suffering, but it is the will of sinful human beings. Suffering can also produce great good.
There is a different way of looking at the Bible and God’s covenants with man, that explains things in a different light.
Pagan gods were all about punishing what they disapproved of, and rewarding what they approved of. Pagan gods were totally involved, from a flip of a coin to the victory or defeat of armies. They spent all their time intimately concerned with every petty thing people do.
And in that way, people controlled them, and assigned juvenile and erratic emotional behavior to them. They were petty and fickle. Because, in the final analysis, reward or punishment were based on what people thought. And being petty and fickle themselves, that is how they imagined their pagan gods to be.
But the commandments of God, by another interpretation, were not demands, but warnings. Just as a mother tells her child not to touch a hot stove, if the child does and burns their finger, do they assume that their mother is punishing them by burning their finger?
So the covenants amounted to the same thing, warnings not to do things or we would harm ourselves. And like the child who ignores the warning, because they do not understand that a hot stove will injure them if they touch it, people do not see the connection between a commandment and the harm that befalls them if they violate it.
And they go back to assuming that God is fickle. That He rewards and punishes out of immature motives. But there is more.
While people are commanded to not touch that hot stove, this is not inclusive to the world. Just because the mother doesn’t tell the child not to stick their hand into a red anthill, doesn’t mean it won’t get them in trouble if they do.
But for the most part, God lets us deal with cause and effect on our own. Make mistakes and learn from them, or not. But He has given us some extra special warnings about stuff that isn’t obvious, but can severely hurt us.
Not that it is Him doing the hurting, or Him rewarding us for not doing it by not hurting us.
And strangely enough, this is not an agnostic view, just a respectful one. Not assuming that God behaves in a petty, fickle and immature way, like we used to think pagan gods behaved.
The answer comes from Christ. First requirement for any to 'see' the kingdom of God is to be born from above. You would not want to deny those not yet born that opportunity now would you. Now it is NOT the Heavenly Father's fault that humans seem to never learn from history.
There is a good answer but its not found in typical, secular Christianity. If a man is hypnotized to believe a dragon is about to eat him, you would not try to save him by trying to kill the dragon. Instaed, you would try to awaken him from his hypnotic state. The dragon is an illusion just like all suffering. Jesus and the other great teachers all taught. In other words, if God is love and perfection and God is all there is, there is no room or place or actual existence for suffering or evil.
I dare anyone to post their position on that.
There is no good answer."
Because God did not create automatons.
The whole point of the Genesis story about Eden and the expulsion of Adam and Eve had to do with God giving man the ability to grow on his own. It was when man decided to make himself God (the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) where human suffering was first introduced.
This is seen again and again, where Cain slays Abel, the Babylonian kings enslaving Jews, the period of slavery in Egypt, and so on. Even within the time of Jesus on Earth, the Pharisees exerted a sort of tyranny over the people in the name of following the Law of Moses, forgetting that the purpose of the Law was to constrain that darker portion of human nature (all roads point to pride, see Eden).
The symbolism of the crucifixition aside (fulfilling, but not replacing, the Law of Moses), the primary law of love for another took place in the form of the ultimate sacrifice.
Let's look at it from another angle. Noah and family were the only ones spared the Flood. Whether this is viewed as allegory or literal truth, the pre-flood world is described as a place where suffering and depravity were rampant. The same is seen with Sodom, where Lot prevails upon God (who agrees) to spare the entire city if only ten people of good will could be found.
The point is, as long as man lives on earth, he is going to suffer the baser aspects of human nature--thus suffering. However, it is God's grace, and his word written upon the human soul that allows people to grow and rise above their baser nature. Thus, while men who deem themselves gods slay millions (Nazi Germany, for example), others rise above and do not give in, or provide aid, thus bringing forth Angelo Roncalli (John XXIII, who used his office to save the lives of thousands of Jews) or Maximilian Kolbe, who gave his life to save that of another in Auschwitz.
But, there is a final answer to your question. That 'allowance for thousands of years of human suffering' does eventually reach its limit. Anyone who reads the last book in the Bible sees how that pans out.
To the author of the article--having faith in God and (most importantly) living it is not easy. And those who do it from abject fear of punishment have a weak faith--although the reality exists. If looked at solely from the context of the world, faith makes no sense. But from conscience and reason (yes, you pseudo-intellectual secular snobs, REASON), faith makes a lot of sense, even to those who do not ascribe to a particular religion.
The fact that there are questions that you cannot answer does not mean a logical answer does not exist. Perhaps the explanation lies somewhere in God’s granting of free will to humanity.
The simplest failure of atheism is the errant assumption that the human brain is capable of comprehending all things. The atheist demand for absolute proof to precede belief is nothing more ridiculous faith in the capacity of human understanding.
It seems to me, however, that a God that was so eager to condemn humanity to Hell would not have voluntarily sacrificed His son for their Salvation.
Of course they can.
Pleasure does not need pain to exist.
Love does not need hate to exist.
Good does not need evil to exist.
Those are two opposite categories.
The question at hand is why the lack of intervention in the second category.
Much suffering happens to individuals which is not attributable to their personal choices.
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