I guess it's not a *big* surprise that I would have something to say here!! :)
First of all, every single person she quoted in that article who had something to say about God was an idiot. Most of the God-tie-in's regarding the tsunami out there are total foolishness. They try to comprehend an infinite God using the finite mind of man... without regard to what God has told us.
Actually, if people would look to the one single source we have for understanding God (aka the Bible), you would clearly see why God caused this tsunami. Yes, I said it, caused this tsunami.Psalms 7:11 -- "God is angry with the wicked every day." God sees all humanity in one of two categories: wicked or righteous. The Bible speaks often about how God's judgements against sinners are being daily carried out. His wrath against those who refuse to obey him is constantly being shown through all types of means... accidents, natural disasters, etc...
If you deny him and his word, he is angry with you and he will judge you. Maybe not today... maybe not tomorrow... but eventually. "The wages of sin is death", the Bible says. That is the price we all must pay.
Some people then ask, "Weren't there some Christians killed in the tsunami?" "Or aren't Christians killed in the same way as non-Christians?" The answer is yes, but the outcomes are completely different.
Joe (a Christian) and Jake (a non-Christian) both died in the tsunami. For Joe, he now goes to Heaven... he leaves behind pain, suffering, sin, and darkness to live in a place unimaginably glorious. Jake, on the other hand, is cast into hell where he spends eternity suffering. That same event (tsunami) had ENTIRELY different outcomes for those two people. Everyone will die... Christians and non-Christians. The Bible says "For it is appointed for man once to die and then judgement." As surely as you die, you are then judged. So death is merely a moment... a doorway into what is next.
The tsunami was nothing more than God bringing judgement against sinners. The "groveling" (as Heather would call it) we do in church is in response to being saved by God and delivered by his love for us.
I really find your take on religion warped and not a little sick. But that's me.
Only recently you ran the devastating photo of a young mother who lost her kids in the tragedy. That poor girls kids will, according to you, burn in hell and be destroyed because her mother happened to be born in an area of the world prone to tsunami and not to Missionaries.
And we're not allowed to say that sucks ass, because we can't judge an infinite god?
First of all, I wouldn't pretend to know the state of those kids' souls... whether they went to heaven or hell.
Secondly, all the details of your life are determined by God... where you're born, where you live, the actual location you will be in when the tsunami hits, and by what means your death will occur. So it's not random chance that you and I survived it and others did not. It was God bringing judgment on those specific people... young and old.
And to feel ire towards God regarding who he is shows that you don't fully understand him. God is perfect in holiness and incapable of accepting sin. It is his only option to be angry with sinners. He created us... we are His (the Biblical clay and the potter stuff). We have strayed from what he has commanded of us. Who are we to speak against him when he merely spoke the world into existence?
I have never said that I enjoy the fact that God judges people. It breaks my heart to see a little baby get killed.... trust me, when you have your own kids... it gives you a whole new perspective. But that doesn't change the reality of God.
I would understand people angry at God if they have no chance to escape. But God has provided a way for us to escape his judgement. You don't even have to DO anything... just believe in him and his promises... that's IT!! Jesus lived and died so that you and I could simply believe in him and be saved from judgment. Every man and woman is called to do that... yet so many refuse and are punished as they deserve. Not a single person on the planet is innocent... myself included. We all deserve death for our sins. But through God's love, you can escape the judgement you deserve.
Every man and woman is called to do that... yet so many refuse and are punished as they deserve. Not a single person on the planet is innocent... Personally, I don't need children of my own to think that's a crock.
Punished as they deserve?
Little Anusha, 3 weeks old, who's never even heard of your god deserves to be punished? Such a god is not worthy of being worshipped. Fit only for the lowest contempt. But since I don't believe such a god exists anyway, I can only stand agawp at those who think he does, and worship it anyway.
Well, just because it doesn't sound nice to us doesn't mean it's not true. The fact of the matter is that we are all BORN sinful to begin with... so even the youngest is guilty.
That said, is it entirely possible for God to save little babies? Sure it is. He's God. He can work salvation in the heart of even the youngest or most disabled person if he wants to. I have no idea if he actually DOES or not, though. But we do know that even in his wrath, he shows mercy to many people.
"Secondly, all the details of your life are determined by God... where you're born, where you live, the actual location you will be in when the tsunami hits, and by what means your death will occur. So it's not random chance that you and I survived it and others did not. It was God bringing judgment on those specific people... young and old." If God specifically determines the details of each individual's life, what role does free will play in anyone's life? If someone is planted in some little village in the middle of a rainforest, the odds are not great they will come in contact with Christianity. A hypothetical question, but if God put them in that place specifically, than he really stacked the odds against them. Part of a divine plan that no human can understand? Certainly a possibility. It's tough for me to find that balance between the idea of God controlling so many facets of your life and the notion of free will. I know you think people choose on their own to follow Christianity or not, but it is tough to reconcile that with idea of so much of your life being pre-determined. Commenting on the posted article,I guess the other option possible for Heather (author of the article) is for everything to be sunshine and rainbows and happy little bunnies. God could control everything, no natural disasters, evil, sickness, death, heartache in this world. Then you have no real choice, nothing you do really matters cause God made you do it anyway, and life is completely fuckin pointless. -Jay
I think that the message of the article was a little lost. The question wasn't why God allows bad things to happen to good people (that's a completely different debate, and one that will never be answered as long as one sides defense is "there's a plan, and you can't question it").
What is being asked is why God gets credit for allowing "us" to live, and none of the blame for allowing "them" to die.
I take issue with the line "God is angry with the wicked every day". If everyone is born in sin, as the Bible claims, then that basically means God is angry with everyone from the moment they are born, and for those who believe in a loving God (or no God at all), this just doesn't make sense.
K, you say that "I wouldn't pretend to know the state of those kids' souls", but obviously you do have a feeling. Your faith tells you they have sin, that they have not accepted the Lord, so therefore by God's Law, they are damned. And by you're own admission, this is predestined by God, so by that logic, those who are damned, have no chance (I think we got into this discussion before).
You also say, "God is incapable of accepting sin". If God is "perfect in his holiness", shouldn't he be capable of anything? I'll let the 'can God create a boulder he can't lift' philosophical question go, b/c it's one big headache.
Jay, you put the Free Will vs Pre-Destination problem I have with organized religion into words perfectly. It is the number one proponent I have with most religions
BTW, I don't mean to disparrage those who have Faith. I am in awe of those who can have Faith after going through hell. But, while in awe of it, it doesn't mean I understand it.
My mother is a person who lives by Faith, and there are days I want to pull my hair out at it. It takes strength to remain true to Faith... my problem is sometimes strength is replaced with capitulation. It's a fine line.
For what it's worth, the philisophical answer to "Why does God let bad things happen" follows below. Please understand that I'm trying to put philisophical arguments into laymans terms and into English, so forgive me if it's not explained well.
Assumptions : An infinite loving God exists. Free will exists.
In order for free will to exist, there must be no divine justice in the world.In other words, if every deed you did was somehow karmically/cosmically/whatever rewarded by its merits, there would be no incentive or temptation to do anything bad. Essentially, we'd be like puppies being trained. Treated when good, punished when bad. And such a thing only brings about a well trained puppy who doesn't understand much beyond what's going to get him a treat and what will get him his arse kicked.
Does the puppy (or human) in that case have free will? One can clearly argue no. He is little more than a complex stimulus/response creature.
It follows therefore, that for free will to exist, there must be times when evil deeds go unpunished by god/karma/whatever and good deeds must go unrewarded.
The individual therefore has to find his own path. He has free will, and the consequences of his acts are his own. Right and wrong still exist, but the way the individual learns right from wrong is to use his intellect and his soul and the gifts god gave him. He will be a better and wiser person at the end of this journey, having worked to achieve that wisdom.
There are some commentators who claim that the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil driving Adam/Eve from Eden is a symbolic telling of this lesson. That if you acquire the knowledge of good and evil (and not just obey god because he told you to and you'll get an immediate reward) then you cannot have earthly paradise (eden).
Would that puppy, or person, really be trained if the punishment or reward did not come until the afterlife? Bad things still happen to good people, and vice versa, but that is only on the physical, transitory world. One could argue that ultimate judgment will come only after death, when you are sent to heaven or hell. The idea of training would only be justified if the reward or punishment were immediate, and I think most religions do not rely on this. God kicked Job around, and he kept his faith. People pray for help in certain situations, and it may or may not come. Religion is not some magic trick that you can turn on and off, and that is the difficult part about having faith. Cause shitty things are going to happen no matter what, and you have to deal with them "The individual therefore has to find his own path. He has free will, and the consequences of his acts are his own. Right and wrong still exist, but the way the individual learns right from wrong is to use his intellect and his soul and the gifts god gave him. He will be a better and wiser person at the end of this journey, having worked to achieve that wisdom." I absolutely agree with this. Totally, 100 percent. But for right and wrong to exist, they have to be defined somehow. And who makes these decisions? Is it up God, a higher authority who can enforce these notions of right and wrong? Or is it up to the individual, and we get 6 billion different definitions? Is it society, where the majority rules and the power to enforce and uphold these decisions come? Tough question. -Jay
Would that puppy, or person, really be trained if the punishment or reward did not come until the afterlife?
That's why it says there can be no natural justice in the world. It says nothing about an afterlife.
The idea of training would only be justified if the reward or punishment were immediate, and I think most religions do not rely on this.
It is not a religious argument. More of a theological one. A philosophical one.
God kicked Job around, and he kept his faith.
Job was rewarded for that kicking around on Earth, if you read the story. God pays him back for all the crap he gave him.
Cause shitty things are going to happen no matter what, and you have to deal with them
Yes, that's the point of the comment.
But for right and wrong to exist, they have to be defined somehow. And who makes these decisions? Is it up God, a higher authority who can enforce these notions of right and wrong? Or is it up to the individual, and we get 6 billion different definitions?
Again, the argument says that the assumption is that an infinite loving god exists. Therefore he's the arbiter of what is right and wrong, but by giving everyone a soul and a brain and various other gifts, it is indeed up to the person to work out what's right and wrong. But unlike the moral relativism point of view, there is a definite right answer to the problem.
"What is good Phaedrus, and what is not good? And need we anyone to teach us these things?"
It's funny, I first read that article before anyone posted a comment, and I just smiled at the tongue-in-cheek indictment of blind faith. I didn't realize it would spark so much debate (knowing the readers of this blog, I guess I should have). I may be reiterating some of the points already made (and for that I apologize), but here's my take on things:
Kamin wrote: Not a single person on the planet is innocent... myself included. We all deserve death for our sins. But through God's love, you can escape the judgement you deserve.And also: I would understand people angry at God if they have no chance to escape. But God has provided a way for us to escape his judgement. You don't even have to DO anything... just believe in him and his promises... that's IT!!So, drawing from Manchild's previous example, how exactly is a three-week old baby supposed to "believe in him and his promises" and "escape his judgment?" I never thought that whole original sin thing was very fair. How could a newborn already have sin? Are stillborn children automatically damned?
Holz, Jay, the free-will vs. pre-destination thing has always driven me nuts, too. The way I see it: (1) free will--we have the freedom to make our own choices and somehow we're supposed to figure out a way to save ourselves, even if the means do not exist. So, even the people who have never heard of God are supposed to figure this out (including babies). Or (2) pre-destination--we are all created for the sole purpose of being destroyed. Our actions are not our own, so who cares?
Watching: Lost, Heroes, 24, Criminal Minds Listening: Brobdingnagian Bards Reading: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman Playing: Final Fantasy XII Eating: Healthy...er Doing: Running... hopefully Wishing:
Comic Quote of the Week
"It's trying to end the suffering of everything. Do you want to discuss our options? Maybe together we can, you know, workshop?"
"Okay, best way to stop a ten-story godlike monster from destroying existence? I'm gonna go with hitting, you have anything?"
AKA: Ozymandias, DrOzymandias, Darth Angelus, Darque Feonix, Trip McNeely Kicking ass for: 29 years Job: UWing Systems Design Specialist Walking Theme: Believe It Or Not by Joey Scarbury Most watched movie: The Princess Bride Most read book: The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
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