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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

If Your God Is So Loving, Then Why???

This question "if your God is so loving, then why ...", followed by the latest atrocity in the world as proof for the lack of God's existence, is both tedious and wrong-headed. I saw the most recent version of this question on the editorial page of a large circulation newspaper couched in a larger issue and written by a philosophy professor. I could give you a whole bunch of references to support what I'm about to say, but the contention simply isn't worth that much time and effort. Not to me, it isn't.

The premise itself is both wrong and childish. The questioner, who is not really asking a question but making a pointed statement, is presuming God is either a "helicopter parent" or Santa. This is a very simplistic view of the divine. While God is not the originator of evil, God is also not one to deflect all harm from God's followers. Nor is God one to grant our every wish, desire, and whim. What a horrid bunch we would be if this were so. Never facing adversity, we would never grow up and learn to do things for ourselves. Always receiving what we asked for, we would become incredibly greedy and entirely dependent upon God instead of seeking out each other for help when needed or offering help to others, which allows us to grow in so many good ways.

Then there is the biggest issue the questioner overlooks. The issue of responsibility. Each of us has been given our own responsibility in this life. We are responsible for God's creation, this beautiful world and all of its resources. It is ours to care for and conserve. It is ours to develop while making sure it does not come to harm. How are we doing with that? As for natural disasters, well, look at it this way. To be a living planet, certain large energies must be allowed to exist, be in circulation, and release themselves when they reach critical mass. If you are looking for a perfectly peaceful place where no natural harm can come to you through earthquake, fire, storm, tidal wave, or any other powerful agencies of a living world, such a place is available to you. You can see it in our night sky often. It is the moon ... and it is dead. Now, when people die during powerful storms, the people who most often die are the poor forced to live in the least safe and desirable land, like flood plains. Who forces them to live there? It is not God.

Now, on to humans and our responsibility to each other. We are to love one another, to love our enemies, to forgive each other, to live as one, to let justice roll down like water, to be the restorers of streets, to be the blessed peacekeepers, and so much more. That is on us. It is all on us. We need to grow up and accept that. God loves us enough to give us free will to choose to either do what is right or to follow evil paths. Sometimes we get it right. In fact, we often get it right. But, when we get it wrong, we get it very wrong indeed. We are in charge of how we will respond to each other, to how we will treat all the marginalized peoples of the world. God has set high standards of behavior for us to strive for. God has promised to help us along the way, encouraging us to do better, and providing the means for us to accomplish truly amazing things ... but the responsibility is ours and will always remain so.

If you want a simple proof for a loving God, try standing your own question on its ear. The proof we have a loving God is that despite all the horrors we inflict upon each other and all the ways we degrade this world, God allows us to continue and works with us toward a day when we will actually live up to our own responsibilities. That's way too simple as well, come to think of it.

Have a blessed and complicated day. Do something good with it.

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