CHRISTIANS SWEAR AT GOD SOMETIMES. Industrial-strength swearing.
Some lose their faith.
It’s all because of wrenching stories that drive this question.
- Fire guts a New York City apartment. Sitting on the closet floor, huddled in the fetal position—the charred body of a lone little girl.
- After his first day of kindergarten, an excited boy spots his mom across the street. He darts toward her. A Kansas City dump truck runs him over. His mother sees it all.
Where the hell was God?
Even Christians ask it that way….
“His ways are higher than our ways.” That’s one clichéd response Christians sometimes offer.
It’s not convincing.
After hearing that, no one walks away thinking, “Oh, that makes sense now. I might be too dumb to get it, but I’m not too dumb to get that I don’t get it.”
Though the cliché might not sound convincing, it is the bottom line.
Christians don’t get it. No one does. No one understands why a good God doesn’t step into human history and put a stop to the misery. Yet Christians give God the benefit of the doubt. They figure that the creator of a universe so exquisitely designed—from subatomic particles to sprawling galaxies—must have a plan….
So do we start trying to figure out God, pondering the possible reasons behind a misery, maybe even looking for the good side of genocide?
That’s not only a waste of time, most sensible Christians would say. It’s dangerous. We can reach warped conclusions that would seem to rationalize ungodly behavior in God’s name: Spanish Inquisition, Salem Witch Hunts, Holocaust.
A better response, some say, is to consider the hypocrisy of criticizing God.
Much of the misery is of our own doing. And many of the cures are within our power.
We build cities on flood plains, fault lines, and tornado alleys—then we shake our fists at God when we discover the buildings can’t handle floods, quakes, or tornadoes.
We grow crops with pesticides, sell them with preservatives, and then moan about acid reflux and diseases up the wazoo.
We watch from across the globe as a political demigod wipes out a rival race or people of a different religion—as though we humans are incapable of creating a league of nations united for peace and charged with the responsibility of stopping this kind of violence.
Since we can’t figure God out, some activist Christians say, we should at least take advantage of the God-given power we do have to solve problems we accuse God of ignoring.
Excerpt from “Ten Tough Questions Atheists Ask,” a feature in the recently published book Stephen M. Miller’s Bible Snapshots.
Good post and very timely for me!
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks, Paul. All the best to you, in whatever you’re facing.