The ‘God Service’

cwt edt

GodHow come…

When things go great, God is to be praised and as our all powerful benefactor it was His doing, but when things go bad it’s that darned devil, or ‘God’s time is best?’

If He is all powerful He could silence that old devil no? Why is He let off the hook? I would love to run a service like that! Imagine eating in a restaurant:

‘Wow this food is delicious! My compliments to the chef.’ Next week the food is awful, It’s that other restaurant across the street that did this! THEY made the food horrible! The chef here is to be praised!’

 

Help Me Out Here!

School me.

It’s a question as old as Methusela himself yet clearly I’ve not heard an answer that satisfies. Can anyone speak (or type) real slow and unburden my tiny brain on this one?

 

 

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70 thoughts on “The ‘God Service’

  1. To me, God provides us with everything we need. We need to grow from bad experiences, only so that we can cherish the good ones even more. He allows all those things to happen to us. But people need to see things in His perspective. He knew what kind of person we’d turn out to be in the future. He moulds us. People sometimes are too short sighted. Blame God for the bad ones.

  2. God allows the sun to shine on all of us. He provides the rain we all need so we can eat. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. Some of us take His provision and use it to care for ourselves and others. Some greedily abuse it and, in so doing, oppress others. Good things come from God, bad things come from corrupt people. And people, way back when, were corrupted by the devil. So, ultimately he is responsible for the bad.
    I’m pretty sure that God hasn’t wiped the devil off the face of the earth yet because he serves a purpose. But that’s a long story – one I think I told in my post entitled Boot Camp.

  3. I love your blog and I love this question!
    And such a great variety of answers! Awesome!

    I am a follower of Jesus and I believe what is written in the Bible (any translation basically – the main content has remained unchanged since it was written). I say this not to diverge from the main topic but only because I want to quote a verse: “He sends his rain on the just and the unjust.”

    The illustration you began this blog post with was a restaurant meal. I hope you don’t mind that I’m switching it to rain instead. So let’s say I’m praying for sunshine because I’m having an outdoor wedding. Down the road, a farmer is praying for rain to water his crops. Contrary to some famous cartoons, God doesn’t put a little cloud of rain just over one person (or one field). Not saying that he couldn’t do it but he does seem to have set down some laws (we would call them natural laws) that he doesn’t break very often. He does break those laws sometimes though and that’s what we refer to as miracles.

    So back to my illustration, I, the wedding planner, don’t see the big picture. I don’t see the farmer whose crop might be ruined. But because I trust God that he knows best, when the rain starts to pour down, and I have to move my wedding indoors, I can still say, “Thank you God for the rain.” We are told (in the Bible): “in everything, give thanks” but of course sometimes that is hard to do!

    Your original question was why do we give God the credit for the good things and the devil for the bad things? I would say that when we do that, we are not really seeing the whole picture. And we’re not fully trusting in God and his omnipotence.

    One of the recurring questions in the comments was variations of the question: Why does God let bad (evil) things happen? I’ve done a lot of research on child sexual abuse (I have written a series of books on the healing journey) and I do believe that evil exists in this world. Why does God allow it? Why doesn’t he zap people with lightning bolts (back to the cartoons again). The answer has to do with his patience and what the Bible calls “longsuffering.” I believe that God hurts when we hurt (and when little children hurt). He could (and sometimes does) strike down the perpetrator but again, we might not be seeing the big picture that he sees. That sexual abuser was quite likely abused as a child. It’s not an excuse but… I just have to admit that I don’t see everything or know everything that God knows. There are many people who were horrible criminals who have become believers (in God) and done a lot of good in their lives afterwards. God seems to have this great capacity for forgiveness, something I don’t always have!

    And free will is a big part of it. God does seem to give us a lot of opportunity to make good or bad choices. And I really can’t agree with you about the absence of free will being a good thing. Various cult leaders have tried that and failed – and countries, and despots (I guess that’s what Hitler’s tyranny was all about). Being able to make personal choices is a freedom I highly value!

    I don’t understand God and his ways completely because he is God and I am a human. I can’t possibly understand what he can, because he sees everything past and present – and future! But I do understand and know God enough to trust him.

    I know this post is getting super long but if I may comment on just one more thing that was mentioned a few times in the blog posts – God in us. I believe in a triune God – three in one. Mostly that is a topic for another day. Just let me say that God the Father sent Jesus the son to die on the cross to pay for our sins so we could be forgiven. Jesus rose from the dead and returned to the Father but he left the Holy Spirit as our “comforter” and our teacher and guide. The reason I bring all this up is the other recurring question: how do we (I) know these things are true? And my answer is (in part) that I know these things are true because the Holy Spirit inside of me lets me know that they are true.

    Again my apologies for such a long post. But it’s a really big question that you asked – and I didn’t want to just give a quick trite answer.

    1. Okay wowsa! Where do I begin? I like the explanation of the rain and the bigger picture and freely admit that although we are looking at this from our (my) tiny human minds that’s okay, that’s the fun of it.

      Re: free will – no I certainly don’t agree with the loss of it to another human. I meant entirely to God. If one is to believe that He is the Big Cheese and father of all, saviour etc I would have no problem with anything He had to say on anything. Free will? Sure. Have it. Because if He is all those things then I know He’s got my back either way. Why would I worry about anything?

      Re The Holy Spirit inside you. Okay, but one mans Holy Spirit inside them is a sense of morality for another, or just a ‘feeling inside’ for another, which takes us back to that fact that of course we can never really know. Darn it!

      Thanks Dorene, lots of re-occurring points expertly addressed there.

  4. I really like your blog. I appreciate that you’ve kept the dialogue polite even while disagreeing. Kudos!

    For what it’s worth (and I’m typing this very slowly) I have no idea how to answer your question.

    Flannery O’Conner said, “A God you understand will always be less than you.” While it doesn’t satisfy the eternally curious, it does make certain sense from a theological stand point. As soon as we define the exact parameters of God, he ceases to be “God”.

    I’ve often struggled defining the exact parameters of ‘Evil’ (or ‘The Devil’) as well. In your illustration, food being ‘delicious’ or ‘awful’ is relative to the diner. The Chef can rightly be praised or criticized for offering the same meal. That’s what we’re stuck with quite often.

    Generally speaking, “Do to others as you’d have them do to you” seems to be a bulletproof directive. Everyone, even the non-religious, sort of agrees that this is good behavior. The antithesis would be something like, “Do whatever suits you and don’t worry about who gets hurt.” I’ve no insight as to why an omnipotent God would allow such a philosophy to flourish but then if I did…He wouldn’t be God.

    1. “A God you understand will always be less than you.” – Ha! Brilliant! I have always thought this, but Flannery O’Connor has worded beautifully.

      It does shut the door somewhat on most conversations about God though doesn’t it? Lol. But the pleasure of a nugget like this every now and then will keep me asking my daft questions regardless. Thanks John.

  5. Wow. I was going to say, very simply, that if we’re living/making choices within a framework of personal responsibility, no one else needs to be either credited or blamed. But stacked up next to all these other responses, this seems somehow less than profound. Still, it’s what I believe.

  6. “If you believe, no explanation is necessary. If you don’t believe, no explanation will satisfy.”
    To the true believer, what the bible says is true because the bible says it is. To the non-believer, the bible is all fantasy because there is no logical proof. The bible is construed and used selectively to justify anything any person wants. I would offer another question; “If God created man in his own image, why are there so many things wrong with man?” (Or woman)

    1. I agree Jim…but…being humans there is always grey area hence people do switch sides all the time searching for their truth.

      ‘The bible is construed and used selectively to justify anything any person wants.’ I’d say an amen to that. It could probably fit any belief system man can cook up.

      Your last is a good question and I can hear the answers already from believers and that is ‘cos man screwed it all up.’

  7. I keep it simple…i have positioned myself as agnostic…so, these questions dont come to my mind! I believe in trying to do good…and if that is not possible…at least…not do any harm…And if I am passing through a good or bad phase…i remind myself…that it is temporary…i dont like passing the buck in bad times! 🙂

  8. Oh I love this argument. It’s the one that suits Christians the best. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against God, in fact, I believe completely in God, just not the way the religious do, as they piously hypocritically make everything suit their own argument.

    As you say, or, as I’ll say. A man has a near fatal car accident. He doesn’t die. The religious ones will ‘Praise the Lord, he saved him’…BUT…IF he dies, THEN, ‘It was Gods Will’..so they will never ever take any kind of ownership for anything that happens that isn’t to their way of thinking and you can use science, logic, humour, anger, you name it, try anything to make them see that what they believe is WRONG, wrong wrong and makes NO sense, and they’ll want to cast the demons out of you. They will turn whatever happens to suit their argument.

    People were burnt at the stake for having a difference of opinion in the past. Religion is diabolical and cruel. In all of it’s forms.

    Now, first of all, we have to know that God or, whatever you want to call the Higher power, is not an old fart sitting in the sky waiting to burn you. NO. God is within us, as we are within him/it. We are all consciousness/Spirit, living in this human form, and whatever happens to us, has nothing to do with any God. It’s like a big wheel turning, and when we are thrown off, only this mortal body dies, we cannot die. Once we know WHO we are, we are then released from all torment and suffering and the religious debates become silly talk, that are a slight annoyance.

    No, you can’t have it both ways. No one can.

    1. Ha ha! Why do I smile even before I have read your comment?

      So I’m going to hit you with the same question I have asked the others – how do you know all this? How do you know that God is within us and we are consciousness/Spirits in human form?

      1. There is something in all living things that can not be explained. There is something that makes us alive. I think like this commenter and attribute that something to God, a common spirit within all of us. How do I know all of this, I don’t. Not for certain. I don’t know what happens after we die. My mom is dead and many of my relatives are dead. What I know is that they’re no longer in this realm with me. That spirit, that energy, whatever you want to call it is no longer in them, they’re no longer alive in this realm. If they are in another realm, I won’t know until I’m also dead (out of this realm). What I have in this realm is what I believe. I don’t think that every good thing that happens to a person is evidence that God lives. At the same time, I don’t that the occurence of bad things is evidence that God doesn’t exist. But, I know that every person that breathes has experienced something, whether big or small, that he/she can’t explain. It’s not rational. It’s not logical. But in these moments that person knows/believes whatever, that something higher exists. Now for me, I believe most Christians don’t believe in God. I know that sounds kooky, but I believe it. That’s why Christians will give God credit for simple things like waking up in the morning or for having a ham sandwich at night. They don’t believe in the awesomeness of their own God. They’re thank God for finding twenty dollars on the sidewalk, Yet say P Diddy gets his millions from the devil. Now, I were to believe them, I would probably become a devil worshipper. Last time I checked, a million dollars was a hell of a lot more that twenty dollars (no pun intended).

        But nevertheless, I believe in God. I’m not plugging a book. But your question is actually why I wrote Fathers House. Christians don’t like the book because it’s violent (I guess they think the Romans tickled Jesus to death) But it’s really about me coming to grips with a belief in a being that doesn’t always seem to manifest itself. At some point, we all must come to grips with what the protagonist came to grips with. And that’s, we WON”T know everything. You either will believe or you won’t. But no matter what you decide to believe, what is will be What is which is why I think God calls himself in the New Testament, I Am. You have the choice to believe or not to. But it want change I AM.

      2. Okay I hear you. It’s a feeling basically and of course there can be no certitude in that, but also it defies logic so don’t try and apply it.

        Is your book published? How did Christians let you know they didn’t like the book? What have they said?

      3. Because you have to just ask yourself one question: WHO are you? You came into this world a little Being. You weren’t born with your name or your personality. Your parents gave you your name and your conditioning over all these years has made you a person. However, without conditioning, or a name, then who are you? Ask yourself that and there’s your answer. We also couldn’t be kind or loving without a god within. Just a thought! 😊

      4. Surely we can be kind or loving without a god within? Where’s the proof that we cannot? Where’s the proof of a god within?

        Do animals that are kind and loving have a god within too?
        Do atheists who are kind and loving have a god within?

        Without conditioning or a name we are still human, discovering how to find food and survive on our own, but surely that doesn’t automatically translate to us being spirits in humans form does it? I mean, it’s a nice thought but surely these are just comforting words that are impossible to prove??! Surely they are just beliefs.

      5. Well, depends on what you believe. We are not “people” per say. We are Beings. All you need to do to prove this to yourself is take a look at yourself and ask “who is this ‘I’ I keep referring to”. Who is “me” or what is ‘me’? All answers to all of these questions which religion has failed to answer, by scaring and controlling people for centuries, can be found with Beings like Monks,, enlightened Beings, like Jesus and Mahatma Ghandi and many more. When you delve into the spiritual side of who you are and you actually feel your space in our beautiful world, it becomes natural to just live in love, when you discover the delightful wondrous Being that you are! The world and life becomes so much lighter and less stressful, because you get a grip on what not to stress about. When you know who you are you give others peace to find themselves too, and it’s not dreadlocks fairie dust, it’s reality.

  9. I don’t believe there is or ever was a devil/satan being. I do believe in Almighty, Abraham’s God. I also don’t believe in the ‘santa-like God in the sky’ paying attention to and manipulating everything. I believe Almighty created the world and life on it, balanced and functional, then went on and did whatever it is that Almighty does. Humans, being ever so human, have changed the balance and function, creating alternate reactions.

    Does Almighty act or react or intervene or have contact? I believe there are instances in the far past, but I don’t believe it’s happened in an awfully long time. That doesn’t make me believe any less, as I have the natural tools to deal with whatever comes along.

    Good questions.

    1. I often wonder why He would interact with folk at a set time of our stay on this planet and not today. Why not today? Or perhaps He is interacting and we’re all (or most of us are) missing it?

      1. Another good question. From what’s written, I believe there’s been silence due to a huge disparity between what was meant to be and what humanity became – and that the remembrance of earth’s inhabitants, or a group thereof – or more specifically the covenant and the land – is dependent on conditional terms being met. There was a contract, per se, and there are terms required.

        I used to believe there were frequent interactions, but the mind is a strong and unreliable tool in matters of the immaterial. 🙂

      2. Wow yes, could be. But wouldn’t God know that this would happen? So are we all just pawns in a large celestial video game God is playing as He already knows the results and is just chilling out with Doritos watching it all happen?
        Or perhaps a believer might suggest that we can alter the path with our actions? In that case then we would be unpredictable to an omnipotent, all seeing, all knowing God! (Cue weirdy sci-fi music.)

      3. When there is free will – and choice is the right we were given – the results could be widely variable. Predictably unpredictable, imo, since there is always the human tendency to push the limits.

        All-seeing, all knowing? In the writing of Sodom and Gomorrah, Almighty came to inquire if the cry against the city was true – that indicates that Almighty is not the ‘watch every move you make’ sort of God. There is an excessively large universe with which Almighty could keep occupied – I don’t see us as highly entertaining. In fact, I would imagine that in total we’re pretty upsetting to watch.

        So while you might call it a video game, perhaps a giant lab test could be possible or more in line? I don’t believe that Almighty is operating like a puppet master – choice would just be an illusion, and it’s not. Although I do believe that set variables can be put into place to direct outcomes when Almighty is ready to interact. The full outcome would still have some variability due to… choice.

        Could we alter the path with actions? I believe so. I don’t believe in an end of the world scenario. Just huge shifts and attention grabbers.

      4. Some good points here. Re: The Sodom and Gomorrah inquiry. You know how your parents know the answer to a question already but ask you anyway to hear your answer? Could it not be a case of that?

        I think we can be entertaining no? A whole world of people and we are all deadly boring? Upsetting yes – at times – but boring 24/7 365? But I think a test lab concept is just as appropriate!

  10. From a former missionary/minister’s perspective, the matter has been settled, causing the undersigned to abandon religion altogether.
    Without entering the deeper, does God exist at all etc. levels, I shall conclude that mankind, because of it’s infinite cognitive/imaginative capacities, cannot and doesn’t want to comprehend its own, biological/physical limitations. Children would love to fly, adults travel to the depths of universe, writers imagine unimaginable things, poets describe yet unknown emotions, musicians compose new feelings, while humanity seem to be bound for a pathetic, back to dust inevitable end.
    We love, hate, laugh and cry out of necessities so unfathomed, that the boundaries never accepted by mankind, had to be projected onto personifications of the two extreems, good and evil.
    But as we developed, simplicity became too tight, breaking ground for compromise. The waters of life, as lukewarm as they are, are sometimes better than boiling hot, or freezing… Our souls nevertheless, bound by their biological reliance upon the binary chemistry of the brain, revolt, causing endless metaphysical turmoil.
    Our transcendent projections are loosing their meanings, as we realise that it is us at the helm of our destinies.
    What is so hard to understand though, is the sad realisition that the boats of our lives have been cast ashore of dried oceans, and we depend upon unpredictable skies for winds and fresh rain.
    And since oftentimes these tarry, we start naming them, and asking them, and worshipping them, and loving them if they listen, and hating them if they don’t…
    Our children will see us, and tell stories of the Good Rain which wanted to fall, and the Evil Wind which blew the clouds away, or maybe viceversa…
    Amen.

  11. It has something to do with free will. For instance, you can’t appreciate happiness unless you’ve been sad, you can’t appreciate the fact that you are healthy unless you’ve been poor. We, as humans, need these comparisons. Probably it has a lot to do with the idea of God that you created in your mind, but for me it’s amazing that we have the oppprtunity to choose. How can you blame someone else for your mistakes? Or if something goes bad? I don’t know, but in many cases you decide for yourself. I agree that some things are supposed to be, but that’s not my point. We need things to go bad so we can appreciate them when they go good. If you believe that God is everything, then you may understand my answer. I heard that when you reach a higher level of consciousness you don’t associate things with ‘bad’ and ‘good’, you just simply see them, without judging. We tag things as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, but in the end you realise that you put the mark. What makes you cry now in two months time can make you make you happy. Hope I’m clear enough and that I could help yo

    1. I can get down with that. If folks want to use God as an explanation for everything in very black and white, good and evil terms then so be it. My interest lies in their logic or explanation for doing so.
      And it really is a pure interest not an excuse to pull them apart because of it.

      1. You made a good point. I encourage you to question them. Many times you ask religious people ‘why such a thing happen? why are you using this explanation’ and the answer is: ‘I don’t know. That’s just the way it is and always has been. ‘ I read some other comments and to an extent I agree with you. There are so many bad things happening in the world and I wondered many times why God does’t stop them. Well, I came to the conclusion that these things need to happen. People have free will. If, let’s say God wouldn’t give you freedom of choice to do whatever you want where would be the ‘fun’ then? I personally don’t agree with many religious beliefs and what I’m saying came from my own experience with the world and the whole ‘God’ thing. I admire you for questioning this. Good job.

      2. Thanks MHIAA. I’ve heard this in other religious debates about free will and such and would you prefer not to have it and I’ve always thought, well, if that was all we knew from the beginning we wouldn’t miss it.

        Humans are sturdy creatures and even in concentration camps they found reasons to smile occasionally so I expect we would still be able to have fun without this all important free will.

        I like my relative freedom but I still don’t put much stock in this free will that folk mention as a reason for bad things happening. I think I’d take a nicer world without free will. I also don’t believe we are as free as we like to think in a lot of ways. Ah, this discussion could go down so many rabbit warrens! 🙂

  12. This post struck a chord with me because it is the same question that I have been asking for years. Turn back the clock to a couple of years back. I was seated with an acquaintance and the subject of levitation came up. This person was a very staunch Christian and claimed that he had seen levitation with his own eyes in the church he attended. After agreeing with him that it was possible for something like this to take place, I told him that I had also witnessed levitation on two separate occasions – during a Buddhist and Vedic ceremony. He kept quiet for a moment and then told me to be careful because only God could perform levitation and any similar feats were the work of the Devil. Turn the clock back to a time more recent. A friend’s 21-year old son died from a horrific car accident on the night he was out with 3 friends to celebrate the end of their final exams. During the funeral service, the pastor said that J was such a good and fine young man that God decided to take J from the world to be with Him in heaven sooner rather than later. We were then asked to pray and give thanks to the Lord!

    No,I have no answer for this one!

    1. Looooove the levitation story! I have met many people infantilised by religion. They all think similarly.

      I have heard many an eye raising thing come out of particularly pastors mouths, in a way I have never heard from priests in the catholic or christian faiths, so nothing they say at this point could surprise me.

      1. I’m a Christian and the one thing that comes to mind is that when horrible things happen, is not because God caused it or not, but because we live in a world that was intended to be good and perfect but something has gone horribly wrong. My mind spins when I see all the suffering, like friends babies dying or cancer attacking the most kind people. I get mad and angry and wonder why? Why is this happening? What good can come from this? An then I go back to the fact that God intended his creation to be good and perfect until his created beings decided to do things their own way and rebelled. Basically I believe the Bible to be true and perfect in totality and God is giving a chance to everyone to come to Jesus, and be saved. You are probably rolling your eyes and thinking , ugh , another brainwashed Christian… I don’t blame you. The way the world is and so much evil getting away with evil is just too much. Where the heck is God? I believe He had left us with plenty of proof of who He is just by looking at a new mother with their baby, or the fact that we live in a suspended globe, in the middle of the universe where is so hostile but Earth is outfitted, made to sustain us. I believe God is waiting as a patient a father to come to Him. How? By finding out who is Jesus (his son) and why Jesus died on the cross. This is all very confusing but I believe all the evil in the world, someone or something has to pay for it. And instead of us (people) “paying” for it, he made His son pay for the debt evil leaves us with. Death. This doctrine of “salvation” by faith in believing in Jesus and his death on the cross, became a little more clear when I became a parent. My second baby (a boy) is deadly allergic to peanuts and he ate a peanut at a birthday party . His little body Went into shock and he could have died. He didn’t. We used the epipen rush him to hospital and then there he was stabilized , he was given another dose of epinephrine and he was saved. While I was watching the doctors poke him, put an IV, an oxygen mask, my son was terrified and in pain. I thought right then, if I had the power to put myself in his place and be ME the one getting all the shots to spare him from the pain of being poked several times, I would have. If I could trade places with my sweet boy, I would have. But I couldn’t. In the same way, I saw how , God’s plan of salvation makes sense. Evil, sin, is like a disease, a terminal disease. God traded places with us and instead took upon himself the consequences of evil and sin. Pain suffering and death on the cross. Now it doesn’t end there. 3 days later he rose from the dead and conquered death itself. Death had NO power over Jesus and paid the penalty of sin and evil (which is death) once and for all. Sounds like a bunch of crap right? But God made it clear , on the cross Jesus suffered the death of a criminal. He was perfect innocent , died a horrible death so one day when we die and face God the Father and we are judged by what we did in our life, God will say, who is going to pay for the consequences of all your evil? Then Jesus will say, I did. On the cross. All is this is in the bible, over and over again . I didn’t understand this until I studied the bible at a bible study (non denominational) and my eyes were open to the truth that I’m not good by nature, yes ok I’m a law abiding citizen but I’m not good ALL the time. I can’t be good all the time. I can’t have perfect righteousness until I ‘assume” Jesus work on the cross and I claim his righteousness and believe He is the son of God, saving me From eternal death. Hopefully I didn’t put you to sleep. So going back to the eternal question: why does God let all the evil in the world take place? He is giving us ALL a chance to come to Jesus and know him and take this free gift of His salvation. Once Jesus comes back the second time, time will be up and we either belong to Jesus or not. Again, I write this with respect to all your comments and written answers. I’m sharing what I know from
        Studying the bible and what I’ve come to believe. You have always the choice to either read the bible seek God and see how He reveals to you. Or you can laugh at everything I wrote. I’m a ok with that 🙂 I’m no better than anyone, nor “good” nor I know everything and the rest doesn’t. I humbly believe I’ve been given grace, a gift of faith to read my bible and find out who Jesus is. I will wake up tomorrow and I will screw up. Lose my patience with my kids, yell, etc and then I ‘ll remember what Jesus did for me on the cross, see what an idiot I am, repent and keep trying to show grace to my kids and the people around me. All because of what Jesus did on the cross. Peace to you all.

      2. ‘You are probably rolling your eyes and thinking , ugh , another brainwashed Christian… ‘

        – Not for a minute.

        Very interesting take on the parent / God role taking, or at least wanting to take sins / pain away, never heard that slant before, interesting…I’m going to have to think on that one and a question may pop out eventually…or not!

        ‘Hopefully I didn’t put you to sleep.’

        – Not in the slightest.

        Wow, like my friend before on these comments that was a read! Some really interesting interpretations of what the bible means here. I’m going to read this again tomorrow as this is the end of a long work stretch for me and the old brain is not at it’s sharpest. But some really interesting stuff in there on first read that I might get back to you on if I may.
        Thanks Ursula.

    1. Didn’t see any to take? What did I miss?! Damn! If I can’t see the offence how can I make it my business to be dramatically and fashionably offended?
      I think I shall be offended by the fact that I missed the opportunity to be offended. Grrrr!

  13. God was obviously smart enough to leave himself an out. Like loving you without condition, but he may send you and your loved ones to hell. Or thou shalt not kill, but it’s cool if he wants you to.

    I’m not sure a strict application of logic is helpful in religious paradoxes. Otherwise you’ll have to conclude that God must be evil because He could make the world nice but likes it better with war and famine and pestilence and politicians, or He’s a fraud, or something equally unsatisfying.

    Or you could go with the standard answers: either He has a plan that you can’t understand, and it’s all for the better; or He’s testing your faith when he makes evil in your life. Both require faith in Him to supersede your doubts.

    Ian

    1. ‘I’m not sure a strict application of logic is helpful in religious paradoxes.’

      – I know! I always like to throw it in though! 🙂

      ‘Otherwise you’ll have to conclude that God must be evil because He could make the world nice but likes it better with war and famine and pestilence and politicians,’

      – don’t forget lawyers and real estate agents!

      I’m going for ‘He has a plan that you can’t understand!’ It’s tried and tested and dare I say logical. I try and leave faith out of it because once that all encompassing, ethereal, get-out-of-jail-card variable is introduced it ends the discussion.

  14. It is always so much easier to blame someone or something else. If you say the food is bad you are admitting you have made a bad choice and that possibly couldn’t be true. It’s not my choice, it is just that they were jinxed for the night…

  15. I can’t believe I’m attempting this, but anyway… I have come to the view that God doesn’t silence ‘that old devil’, because the devil has free will, just like the rest of us. It’s a big ask to venture to justify God’s perceived action or inaction to make him more palatable to those who find him distasteful. These are hard questions, and I daresay no one on this thread will sort it out for you, though I’m sure you’ll be entertained, or wound up, or both, by the answers you get. You’re basically asking for proof that God exists in a way that neatly reconciles the good and the bad stuff that happens in life. The Christian God doesn’t present himself like that. He doesn’t protect us from bad stuff. He experiences it with us and gives us a way through it. I praise God in all circumstances because He is God whatever’s going on and because being in relationship with him beats anything life throws at me. And yes of course I have a good moan at him when things are not good, but often looking back I see good things emerge out of the chaos too. he doesn’t do things the way we do. Sort of thing.

    1. Love the first line lol!

      ‘It’s a big ask to venture to justify God’s perceived action or inaction to make him more palatable to those who find him distasteful.’ – It is indeed, which is why I question why people do it…constantly, which is really what the query of the post is about. How do people justify their interpretations of a spirit being?

      ‘I daresay no one on this thread will sort it out for you’ – I never say never. I once asked someone a similar religious question on Facebook and the simplicity, authenticity and honesty of his answer blew me away. I was satisfied. It’s very, very rare though, too many people speak spiritually with tired old quotes and hand-me-down beliefs, but I always live in hope…

      ‘You’re basically asking for proof that God exists in a way that neatly reconciles the good and the bad stuff that happens in life. ‘ – Actually no. I’m taking it as read that He exists for the purpose of this post. I’m asking people to try and explain their inconsistent behaviour, logic and thinking where God is concerned…

      …which you went on to do, ‘…because being in relationship with him beats anything life throws at me.’

    2. This is the best, most humble answer I’ve ever seen in a discussion like this. You just said everything I would have wanted to put in a comment. To really get at the heart of this would take a large book, (hmmm the Bible maybe) but this comment does well for now. 🙂 God bless you my sister.

  16. If all we experience are good times, then we really don’t know the difference between bad and good. We would not know when to be thankful. We would not know how to get ourselves out of a jam. God could make all things wonderful if he wanted to, this is true, but he gives each of us specific gifts and talents, and allows us to use them. This way, we learn discernment, and can know where to spend our time, and where we don’t need to. Maybe someone else has a gift for that! If everything was good, we would not need to do anything at all, but calls us to make things good in service to him.

    1. ‘If everything was good, we would not need to do anything at all.’ – I’m kinda thinking, would that be so bad?! Isn’t that what folks say Heaven is like?

      In any case, it’s not so much that good or bad things happen that is being queried here, rather the logic of all good things come from God and bad things have nothing to do with God.
      Thanks LDM.

  17. This is an argument my husband makes all the time (he’s an atheist), why is God good when things go right and not bad when things bomb (sometimes literally). Here’s what I think, based on the fact that I am Christian and believe in God (although I don’t necessarily think He’s different to a Muslim, Jewish or any other god):

    If something good happens, like I get sick and then I get better then that’s not because God has intervened directly in my life. If something bad happens, like I get sick and die, that’s not because God has failed me or because the Devil has it in for me. It just is.

    I think God gives us the guidelines and opportunities to live our lives well. I personally find that God gives me the strength do deal with things in my life. When I pray to God I don’t ask for a cure to my problems, I ask for the strength to fix my problems myself.

    Arguments that God and the Devil intervene directly make me uncomfortable. I believe in a good and just god, any god who would actively allow innocent children to suffer from war, disease and famine is neither good nor just.

    Of course, you could ask what the point of a god who only observes is? Is that the whole point of free will? I really don’t know, all of this is just what I believe. I guess the thing with religion is, your guess is as good (perhaps better) than mine.

    1. See Little Miss, I was going to say the same thing that you said later. If you only pray for the strength to deal with things, surely secretly you know you have that strength in you already?

      If God is not going to send you that car you want, or indeed the cure for your problems why would He send you strength?

      The questions that arise are indeed more cunning that my usual conundrums but always fascinating. 🙂

  18. Hmm you’re not alone in your question. I read a devotional some time back that tried to address this, but I think often even Christians get this wrong.
    First I’d like to say, when things don’t work out as we’d like them to, or when something bad happens. I don’t think the answer is as clear as, “it’s not me, it’s that devil guy”
    So i think first the easiest way to think of god is as a parent. (Let’s say for arguments sake that said parent won’t deliberately do anything to harm their child). As a parent your child may want a particular toy, or piece of candy, or to do a certain activity. As the parent you’re seeing things from a whole different angle. Take for example the candy, if it’s late, they may not be able to go to bed. If they get hooked, in the long term too much candy may not be good, or perhaps there are so many other reason’s why they shouldn’t eat that candy. Then what’s the child’s reaction, “you don’t want to give me candy, you don’t love me, therefore I’m going to cry until I get what I want”
    So what I’m saying is that imagine for a second that you’re God, and you see thousands of different variables in people’s lives, then you try to nudge them towards the right decision. Remembering that we have Free-will, God can’t force us to do what he wants. We also live in a world of good and evil, while God has control over good, he doesn’t have the same control over evil. For arguments sake even if you were presented with things that will only lead you to good, we still have a choice whether we choose each decision.
    While I have recently studied this topic, I’m still trying to understand it, I know many will think I’m completely bonkers, and other’s may have a better explanation. I welcome a healthy debate about my response.
    I’ve learnt to re-ready this passage “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” – Romans 8:28 (NLT). I think this not only covers the good things happening in your life, but also the bad, or even tragic. That in ALL things God is still capable of causing GOOD things to happen. It’s not an answer I’m comfortable with, or even want to hear sometimes, but it’s what god says about himself.
    Finally I’ll point to “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” Romans 11:33 (NLT)
    Things of God are BEYOND our comprehensions, sure he has revealed much, but there has to be so much more we don’t understand, and can’t because we’re not yet at our permanent god like states. Yes we have Holy Spirit now, but we also have our human bodies and minds still, the time will come when we’ll also have our heavenly bodies. Perhaps in that time all the mysteries will be revealed, and we’ll understand god’s reasons better

    1. Wow- that was a read! Thanks LilPhilosopher! Now let’s get down to business.

      ‘We also live in a world of good and evil, while God has control over good, he doesn’t have the same control over evil. ‘

      That’s quite a statement! I would ask why doesn’t the omnipotent God have equal control over evil? Isn’t that the same as saying that He is therefore NOT omnipotent after all? And secondly how do you know the degrees of His power so intimately?

      ‘It’s not an answer I’m comfortable with, or even want to hear sometimes, but it’s what god says about himself.’

      I would say again – how do you know this to be 100% true unless God told you Himself?

      And addressing your last section, do you really think it is just SOME things beyond our comprehension or basically everything? How can you comprehend a spirit? Men are liars. Period. Just take a look at how the Muslim religion is being bent and twisted by different factions to suit man’s purpose today. How can you trust a man’s version of who God is, whatever century they came from?

      1. So to be clear I’m not a bible scholar nor an expert, I’m living and learning more with each day. An important point that I’d like to make is this, it’s not my job to prove or convince the existence of God, it is completely up to each individual to believe or not believe. I think you may misunderstand the word omnipotent, the dictionary definition says it’s someone who shows great power ‘as in God’ but it doesn’t specifically say that that means power over good and evil. I think that’s a good comparison, if it was to say it’s powerful, without giving a comparison, it won’t be as easy to comprehend. As for how do I know about god’s power, my simple answer is that the bible tells me so! Now at this point you may say ‘but wait I don’t think the bible a reliable source, so why should I believe anything you have to say?’ You are actually quite justified in your skepticism. I’ve actually been reading up on this particular topic and I’ll try my best to answer your questions. The following is a small portion based on evidence found, and then from that i can extrapolate the degree of accuracy, and come to a conclusion. You asked how I could be 100% sure of these things unless God himself told me so. My first question I would as is ‘Who is God? what does he look like? and how do I know it’s him.’ My simple answer is that since no one alive has seen god himself, and shared their experience, I don’t know what he looks like, I could be passing him on the street each day and not know it. Before I stray too far i’d like to get back to what I said about evidence. The below is a few of the factual evidence that has been found, and is a short summary:
        1. There are thousands of manuscripts dating back to within 500 years, with the earliest dating to less than 100 years from Jesus’s time. Compare that with a handful of documents about many famous people in the past hundred centuries. The amount of documents available for reference is astronomical. This allows a person to compare and contrast, and get a clearer picture of what was said. Which could also account for things that may have been lost in translation.
        2. There have been other people of the time, non-religious who actually wrote about Jesus, and his crucifixion. Scholars who study ancient times no longer debate his existence. And these are all renowned scholars who weren’t religious before their studies.
        3. Archaeology has corroborated many of the historical references mentioned in the bible.
        4. Thinking about the society in those times, they were one of oral history. There weren’t many people to record what happened, so they would have to be accurate. The stories and events that unfolded in the bible would face heavy criticism if they were wrong. And remember they killed people for lesser things, what would they do to these people. Going back to the manuscripts mentioned earlier, there were copies dated to within 60 years of Jesus. Which means the originals would have existed before that, if what they were writing was false, there would have been a bigger backlash.

        While no specific evidence points out “ah ha it is true what the bible says!” If you were to look for it, there’s plenty of evidence that confirms what is says is true, and that increases the reliability of it. As you pointed out “how can you trust a man’s version of who God is…” You’re right on face value, people are evil and liars. However when presented with evidence, that is backed up by outside sources, it’s up to me to believe or not believe. With the evidence I’ve seen so far, I’m choosing to believe.
        As for your question “do you really think it is just SOME things beyond our comprehension…” I think science shows us that there is MANY things we don’t understand, that’s not just me saying that in an anecdotal way. In closing I’ll put it this way, I’m a logical minded person, appealing to me with emotions is futile, I’ve never seen the wind, nor the galaxies that exist outside of our planet, I’ve been presented with that evidence, and based on other evidence provided by the same people, I consider them reliable, so I believe what they say without seeing it for myself, faith if you will. It’s in the same way that many of the things described in the bible, I haven’t seen personally. While I do have experiences that have happened to me personally, those could be skewed by an insane mind. Perhaps everything I see is a lie, regardless I’m choosing to have faith in a God that I’ve never seen.

        One final point, I think many people today see the Bible as something written for people of the time to follow. But they’re forgetting that the Jewish culture was one of oral history, and any Jewish person would have known the Old Testament by heart. It wasn’t written down for them to follow it, they were already doing that, it was written so that it can be preserved. So that it won’t be distorted later.
        Ok that’s all for now, and I’d be happy to discuss this further. Not to worry it’s not my intent to convince you of anything, I’m more interested in sharing what I’ve learnt that might help answer some of the same question I had at one point.

      2. ‘to to be clear I’m not a bible scholar nor an expert, I’m living and learning more with each day’

        – As are we all.

        ‘I think you may misunderstand the word omnipotent, the dictionary definition says it’s someone who shows great power ‘as in God’ but it doesn’t specifically say that that means power over good and evil’

        – Omnipotent means ‘unlimited power ~ as in God’ which means you don’t have to specify anything, it includes power over evil.

        Your evidence about the truth of the Bible will always pale with the clear knowledge of what we know about man. i.e he lies and makes up stuff to suit his own agenda. There is nothing that one man passes orally on to another that will remain exactly the same as it was first told. Not even if you were to relate our conversation here to your friend tomorrow would it be accurate, or reflect my side of the conversation as I intended, never mind thousands of centuries of rewrites and translations, taking on board man’s greed, hypocrisy, prejudices and agenda.

        The King James bible alone has such a chequered history involving monarchy, politics, personal preference and was written by a committee. Have you ever tried to get a cohesive answer from a committee? That is just ONE version of the bible. VERSION being the operative word here.

        ‘There weren’t many people to record what happened, so they would have to be accurate. The stories and events that unfolded in the bible would face heavy criticism if they were wrong.’

        – This statement argues against itself. Surely if there were not many people to record what happened this would lead to INaccuracy and personal bias. The two of us could see an accident and still tell 2 different stories of the same event.

        Also many so-called truths today face heavy criticism yet that has done nothing to stop their spread or people believing them, or would you have me believe that the intrinsic nature of man has changed so dramatically when we can read from the bible that the way they behaved then is more or less how people still behave today, just in different clothes and with iPads.

        ‘when presented with evidence, that is backed up by outside sources, it’s up to me to believe or not believe. With the evidence I’ve seen so far, I’m choosing to believe.’

        – as is your prerogative. It will always come down to personal choice. The post was about that mindset and personal choice and what makes people make them. Your explanations for that belief however are far from convincing but I enjoyed the discourse.

      3. lol yes I’ll agree that my second response did kinda get into the weeds there a bit, I wasn’t so much responding to what you originally asked as I did from your comments in my response. Any way this was an interesting topic, and I commend you for being bold and posting it, and I enjoyed many of the comments addressing the topic.

      4. ‘my second response did kinda get into the weeds ‘ Lol! Never heard that turn of phrase before.

        Yes the comments are good aren’t they, from whatever side of the religious / non religious spectrum. I enjoyed my mini tussle with you, look forward to perhaps many more.

  19. I agree, this kind of religious double-talk is the result of cliche-driven folk christianity. Unless you are a Calvinist (or some other kind of determinist), you don’t see every event as the result of a divine cause. Having free will we have the ability for great good as well as great evil.

    Either everything (the evill as well as the good) can be laid at God’s feet or events in this current age are the result of a complex mix of human free will, supernatural interventions (both good and evil) and plain old ‘mother nature’.

    1. I’d go for what you said in the last para. In logical terms (and let’s face it, religion has never been or particularly wants to be a logical force) that would seem to make a lot of sense. Thanks Richard.

  20. Actually, what I hate is when things go bad it’s always somehow MY fault. Never his. It’s one of the reasons why I eventually had to leave the faith. It was making me feel like a worthless screw up. I do, of course, screw up… but that doesn’t make me worthless.

    Quite honestly, I get the impression that God may actually be a narcissist. He (or she) doesn’t deserve our praise, and shouldn’t be let off the hook at all. Those who judge should fully expect to be judged in return. That’s only fair after all.

    1. Ooogh! Them’s fighting words TS! He does come across as quite narcissistic in human terms. Wanting praise all the time and such. And yes the Christian religion can be quite masochistic!

      But these seem to be human projections i.e men (as it’s always men you notice) interpreting their version of God to the world. Your judgement point is interesting as as well.

  21. oh, you’re personifying it overmuch is all. It’s just The All, and of course The All does it ALL to us, good and bad.

    It’s just like we don’t say ‘the rich’ anymore, it’s ‘the corporations . . . ‘, it’s not God it’s the devil . . .

    1. But that’s just it NS. It’s not ME personifying it, it’s the folks I hear saying these things. I wonder why when they would not think this way if the subject were human.
      I’m not convinced that they are saying it in general terms.

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