“Why does this keep happening?”
“What kind of God allows murderers and pedophiles to exist?”
“If God was real, he would never allow so much pain and suffering to go on!”
After the Parkland Shooting where seventeen students were killed by a gunman in my own state of Florida, I passed by an employee from a different department, an older white woman.
So emotional, she said, “Why does this keep happening!”
And I confess…I smirked. Sounds horrible doesn’t it?
There’s nothing funny about seventeen innocent students losing their lives. Or the pain this employee felt in her sympathy. So why did I smirk? I thought about that for days. Felt guilty about it for days.
The answer is, and this might sounds arrogant…but the truth is I’ve gotten really good about seeing the big picture, predicting what’s going to happen, and understanding why it happened.
Let me put it this way. In my younger more unrefined days…I got in trouble when I was chatting with a girl who had medical procedure. After she alluded to it, I flat out asked, “What kind of procedure did you have?”
She said she had breast reduction surgery. And right then and there, I let out this unbelievably loud obnoxious laugh. It was horrible. I felt super terrible about it. That’s one of my biggest flaws. I have a very impulsive laugh that sometimes comes out at the most inappropriate moments. Like if I catch your facial expression when you almost slip on something.
However, the reason why I started laughing, wasn’t because of the surgery itself. It was an immature “I KNEW IT!” laugh. Not to make excuses but I was 24, I was terribly sorry, went through all kinds of hell because of that three-second outburst…and even though that was back in 2011…honestly, it’s still me.
If I suspect something’s going to happen and it does happen, especially without my interference, I’m sorry…but I think that’s so cool. It’s one of my favorite gifts. I don’t laugh like a maniac anymore, but every now and then…I’ll smirk or give a restrained chuckle that sounds like a soft whimper.
“Wow, Rock. Sounds very full of yourself.”
Yeah, I get that. And hopefully you appreciate that just because I’m a Christian who’s read the Bible, doesn’t mean I’m without faults. The difference between myself and others is that I’m aware of them, and I’m working on it.
When the old woman complained about the shooting, I think I smirked because for some reason it made me proud that I had a better grasp on the world than she did. Not saying it’s good that I had such pride…just admitting I had it.
“Why does this keep happening?”
“What kind of God allows murderers and pedophiles to exist?”
“If God was real, he would never allow so much pain and suffering to go on!”
Before I picked up the Bible, I had the same questions as everyone else. The world wasn’t make sense. Everything seemed so stupid and pointless. The wicked was winning. Immorality was celebrated and I felt like there was something wrong with me for refusing to simply go along with the times. It wasn’t unusual for me to say, “feels like I was born in the wrong era.”
However, when I started reading the Bible…everything started to make sense. The pieces of the puzzle were falling into place. While I give my parents a lot of credit for their hand in instilling the Christian foundation in me, they failed to prepare me for the realities of this current system. It’s like the saying goes, “knowledge is the awareness of the principles, but wisdom is the ability to apply it to your life.”
What do I mean?
Well, it’s kind of like all these college students who have been indoctrinated into to believe Leftist, Social Justice ideals. While they’re in college surrounded by people who all act and think the way they do, it’s great. But when they graduate and have to survive in the real world…well, the numbers speak for themselves. Less Millennials are owning homes and getting married. Their debt is through the roof and instead of taking responsibility, everyone’s quick to blame someone else: their parents, the generations before them, institutional racism, sexism, or the government.
I felt something similar when I left the nest and got out in the real world. I was taught to be a good, moral, virtuous person. But you have to play the game to win. To be a “nice guy” in today’s society only gets you so far if you want to be rich and famous, which was what I wanted. I wanted to be the greatest voice of my generation. Instead, society called Lena Dunham the voice of my generation.
I was extremely frustrated and felt so detached from today’s current culture that seemed to celebrate and worship celebrities and popular opinion. The MeToo Movement exposed more than people care to admit. Producers were only able to take advantage of those up-and-coming actresses because those actresses were willing to do what it took to succeed. Sexual immorality and self-indulgent behavior is praised and encouraged among young stars. Tim Tebow, Chris Pratt, and Mike Pence living by their Christian faith, that’s bad.
When I picked up the Bible, it became clear to me why this was happening. What I’m about to say, I want you to know, I was guilty of the same thing. And sometimes, I still fall for it even as a committed Christian. I was guilty of wanting to please humans more than I wanted to please God.
When it was written, “you can’t serve two masters. You can’t serve God and money.” This is true because if you try, you’ll fail at both.
More and more people are distancing themselves from Christian principles. Trusting more in the logic and wisdom of human beings, than God. They’re seeking the approval of humans, more than God.
This isn’t new. The Old Testament, particularly from the Book of Samuels to the book of Isaiah where we see a chronicle of Israel’s kings and the history of Jerusalem, it teaches us about the perennial bad habit of humans. Forgetfulness.
When God steps in and directly helps us, we’re faithful, grateful, and heap loads of worship on him. But over time, because everything’s going so good, we take his grace for granted, we forget what God’s done for us and start to think we don’t need him in our lives.
I’ve even heard it said from other Christians that “there’s no place for God in ___” Whether it’s politics, school, or business. It’s completely absurd. How do you think you got this far? Why do you think God gave us the Bible in the first place? Back before the Bible was the Bible, why do you think he gave humans prophets and messengers? He loves us, wants us to do well, to enjoy life and prosper. But we can’t do it leaning upon our own understanding.
Turn on the news. What do you see? Division. Contradiction. Uncertainty. Prognostications. And if you’re really exposed to the truth, then you see more than the words and so-called good intentions. You see motives, agendas, plans of action. You see all of this because the Bible has opened your eyes to see it. We as humans think we’re so slick and clever. As if no other human throughout history has tried it.
I’ll give you an example. I’ve written a more detailed essay, but the truth about divorce is that humans think they can avoid the more serious sin of adultery by simply divorcing their spouse. They’ll say, all sin is sin, as if every sin is equal with no one sin weighing more heavily than another, but that’s false. It’s a trick to get you to not be ashamed of this heavy sin with the idea that you’re exactly the same as everyone else.
In reading the Bible from cover to cover, you fill your mind with knowledge of what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen. You understand why bad things happen and if you’re a believer, you know it isn’t because God hates us. It’s because with our freewill, we’ve chosen to disobey and do what’s good in our own eyes, as opposed to what’s good in God’s eyes.
Simply put…we’ve done this to ourselves. The Book of Deuteronomy, particularly Chapter 28, is a perfect example of logic and reason, cause and effect. In this chapter, which I encourage everyone to read, Moses provides a list of blessings God will give if you obey his Word. And then he provides a list of the curses you’ll face if you disobey. The choice is yours. And yes, God sometimes lets people appear to get away with doing what’s bad to test you.
In Ecclesiastes 8:11, King Solomon (one of the wisest men who ever lived) wrote, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of man becomes emboldened to do bad.”
“Well, Rock. Why does God have these rules for us to begin with? Why can’t we just do what we want and still avoid the bad things!?”
If you jump off a cliff, you’ll probably fall really fast and succumb to blunt force trauma. What happened? You were just doing what you wanted. It was fun at first. Why didn’t you survive? Consider Timothy Treadwell, an environmentalist and enthusiast of bears. He lived amongst grizzly bears for over thirteen years…until in 2003 when he was literally eaten by a bear.
In reading the Bible, I’ve come to understand that it isn’t just this staunch dictatorial “rule book.” It’s more of an instruction manual for life. Instead of looking at it as if God is imposing these unreasonable restrictions on us…the best way to view it is like a loving father watching over us toddlers as we navigate the world. Look both ways before you cross the road. Don’t pick things up off the street and eat it. Be careful about talking to strangers. Don’t steal. Respect your parents.
Could it be that these instructions are more so to ensure our own peace and happiness?
If engineers have instructions on how to build a bridge, yet they choose to ignore those instructions and build it however way they wanted because they think they know better than the architect…what right do we have to get mad at the architect when the bridge collapses, plunging hundreds into the bay?
“I’m saying though! Why does wickedness exist in the first place? If God’s the Grand Creator, didn’t he create sin?”
He created us. He gave us free will. We chose to sin. If you’re asking why he created Satan who tempted us, or why he created the tree knowing we’d probably eat from it, I’d say, imagine a world where he didn’t. Imagine a world where Satan was never created and he never gave us any rules about eating from a tree.
Now what? Can you grasp it? What kind of life would this be if there were no challenges, where there was no choice of doing right or wrong because everything is right? How well would we really know God? What would be the point of our existence? How meaningful would it truly be? If you’re not worshiping God, striving to do good in God’s eyes…who would you worship? Nobody? Yourself?
I’ve pondered these questions for a long time and in the end, I’m glad Jehovah created Satan. I’m glad he put the tree in the Garden of Eden. And I’m glad Adam sinned. Yes, the consequence of all this has caused countless deaths, destruction, despair and tragedies…but it also gave us the greatest gift of all. The ability to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father. If Adam never sinned, it would never have put into motion the sequence of events that led to God’s direct intervention in our lives, rescuing us, preparing us, guiding us, fighting for us, defending us, and giving us hope for something better.
Think about why the Greek myths are so fascinating. Hercules. Zeus. Perseus. Odysseus. When I was in middle school, I pored through those stories. And I think what made them so cool and interesting is that justice plays out. We can’t depend on each other as men, jealousy, envy, and ambitions will always surface. Thus we need something more powerful, with greater authority than a mere mortal to be the deciding factor.
The Greek Myths are indeed myths. Knowing that Jehovah is real, the God of Armies, who gave us Moses, and David, and Samson and Elijah and his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. It’s an amazing thing that probably would never have come to pass if Adam had not sinned.
Think about it, the concept of heaven or hell. The promise of good things happening to us. None of this is owed to us. Out of his grace, God gave us life. We’re not entitled to anything else. But he chooses to help us. He chooses to bless us. He chooses to send messengers and his only son to sacrifice himself for us.
That’s why it’s so odd and sad to hear people talk about God as if he’s nothing but wrath and violence.
Put it this way, consider the most powerful emperors to ever live, Genghis Kahn, Alexander the Great, Ieyasu Tokugawa, the Caesars of Rome…if the people disobeyed and needed to atone for their crimes, which of these emperors would sacrifice their only son who was there since the beginning building the empire and working hand in hand with the emperor, which of these emperors would send that beloved son to be punished in place of a people who cursed his name and turned their backs on him?
And he wasn’t just “punished,” as in a swift beheading or a gunshot to the temple. He had flesh ripped from his back from a flogging. He was dragged through the streets with a mob of people spitting on him, a crown of thorns digging into his forehead. He was nailed to a cross and stretched up so that with each breath, he felt the sensation of suffocation. Give me one human leader or God written about throughout history who would let his son go through all that for us.
The Old Testament teaches us about God’s character. There is a lot of violence and wrath, yes, but I dare say, it’d be no different the wrath we’d personally feel if we did so much for others, asked for very little, and they spit in our faces, choosing to give credit for what we’ve done to a carved rock or a tree. God is the epitome of righteousness and justice and anything else is just our own selfish desires of what we want to happen, a selfish desire that might conflict with the desire of another human, like your own neighbor, which is why battles, wars, and murder happen.
Without God’s word there is no right or wrong, only popular opinion. Even if the argument is over a popular opinion regarding the interpretation of God’s word, the issue isn’t God’s word…it’s people. And Romans Chapter 14 should (should have) squash such arguments from coming to the point of bloodshed or hatred.
In the end… I won’t say you’re no longer upset or angered by the injustices going in the world, but more so it’s easier for you to relax and let go of the injustices of the world. Explain what’s happening to others, sure, but deep down you take comfort in knowing everything is going according to God’s plan.
“More and more people are distancing themselves from Christian principles. Trusting more in the logic and wisdom of human beings, than God. They’re seeking the approval of humans, more than God. ”
So which version of the Christian god do you follow? In that Christians can’t agree on what “Christian principles” are, why should we think that any of you have the right set?
And here we go “In the end… I won’t say you’re no longer upset or angered by the injustices going in the world, but more so it’s easier for you to relax and let go of the injustices of the world. Explain what’s happening to others, sure, but deep down you take comfort in knowing everything is going according to God’s plan.”
What kind of a god needs to kill children with cancer for its plan? You demonstrate a classic reason why people cling to religion: it means they can do nothing at all to actually help humans and declare that everyone deserves what they get.
How petty and selfish. Indeed, what king or emperor would declare that it needs a blood sacrifice to make itself happy? Rather than forgiving Adam and Eve and starting again, we have a god that is nothing more than a vicious twit, just like most of the other gods invented by humans in the bronze/iron ages.
I respectfully disagree, but appreciate you reading. The idea that you think Christians need to agree, I think is in error. Romans Chapter 14 teaches us that we’ll be judged as individuals. God knows that we’re going to disagree on the interpretations of the scriptures, but he judges what’s in our hearts. Are we using the scriptures for selfish reasons, or out of genuine love and worship of Him?
Your question about what kind of God needs to kill children…I’m a bit confused by that statement. Are you saying that you believe in God and think that he needs to kill children for his plan? Or are you a non-believer who assumes that Christians think God needs to kill children for his plan. Either way, I think the statement is all wrong. Christians believe that God does indeed create both the good days and the bad days (bad things and good things)…by that statement, what we’re saying is that we put trust in Him, that there’s probably a good reason why something’s happened, even if it isn’t explained to us humans.
If I get hit by a drunk driver tomorrow, as horrible as that would be, trusting in God, my death could influence dozens, if not hundreds to look into the kind of person I was, leading them to this website and my love for God, and thus, inspired them to repent and become Christians themselves. We don’t know for sure. But we have faith and trust that God’s ways are just. Better than what we think is right or wrong.
This is humility and meekness of heart. To know that we are just humans. He is God, who created heaven and earth. Where were we when he filled the oceans with water? Who do we think we are that we should demand answers from the living God. Already he’s provided a Bible with thousands of pages of explanations and answers and people can’t even be bothered to read that. I’m sorry but I think “petty and selfish” is pretty much what your comment amounts to. It’s okay that you don’t understand. I’d be just as frustrated and angry if I didn’t have the answer or if I didn’t believe either. But the Bible provides those answers.
You mentioned “forgiving Adam and Even” and starting over again. How do you know Adam and Eve wouldn’t have children, and great-grandchildren…only for one of them to disobey and now we have a world where half of the population is full of descendant of sinners, and the other half is the descendant of a perfect population? What kind of world would that be? Already, we have people killing each other for being different and having different beliefs. Can you imagine how worse it would be if one sect of society was sinless and the other was full of sinners?
And lastly, why did you comment? What were you hoping to accomplish? Was it just to vent, or something else? You don’t have to answer me, if you don’t want, but I encourage you to ask yourself. All I can do is point you in the right direction. Seek the answers. Question all day, sure. But seek the truth. That’s what I did. I read the entire Bible and I believe.
humans might be judged as individuals. The problem is when you all have different ideas of what morals your supposed unchanging god wants.
your bible says that this god kills children. The bible says this god has a plan. So, if this god kills children, it is for its plan. You seem to be excusing your god, who can’t have a plan without causing harm. How does that work with being omnipotent and all-good. Or do you not think your god is all good or that it is not omnipotent?
It seems you are willing to say that genocide is okay as long as your god does it. Is this the case? Then we have quite a subjective morality on your part.
as for this god providing the bible, how does that work when Christians don’t agree on what it says e.g. how to interpret it? Each Christian claims an “answer” but those answers contradict the next Christian’s version. How does one tell who has the “true” version? I’ve read the entire bible, as a believer and as not so your attempt to falsely claim that the bible has “answers” and I dont’ know them is wrong.
Your response to my point about Adam and Eve is curious. If Adam and Eve were allowed to konw how things work by this god and not kept in the dark about what good and evil were, the chance of their descendents doing something to offend this god would be quite lowered. But that isn’t the biggest problem with your claim. If one of A&E’s descendents did something wrong, then it would be only their problem, not the silliness of “original sin”. How you get from one descendant to half of the population is rather bizaare and this also implies your god can’t do anything about this one person, despite this god killing all sorts of people in the bible.
Yep, we do indeed have a world where people do kill because of differing beliefs. how does that work with a god that supposedly wants everyone to come to it when it can’t make itself clear? Each religon already tries to claim that they are the saved ones aka sinless and everyone else is sinners. Alas, they can’t agree on waht this god considers a sin.
I commented because I stand against theists making false claims that harm people. Your rather pathetic claim that you can happily ignore things is one of those harmful bits of nonsense. I also enjoyed where you want to pretend that Jesus Christ would be against social justice, because you are. So many Chrisitans certainly love to make up their god agreeing with what hates they personally have. Even if no one else reads this, you know that your claims aren’t accepted without question.
I read the entire bible and know better than to believe its nonsense or any Christian who claims that their version is the only version.
That is interesting! I think it’s so cool that you read the entire Bible too. I have to ask, why did you read it? (honestly, I love these conversations) Because I’ve heard of people reading the Bible and yet, they don’t believe. I think it’s awesome that they’ve read it in the first place, but curious as to why they still don’t believe.
So let’s break this down. 1. You say that the problem is we all have different ideas…how/why is that a problem? I think it would be a problem for children raised in a household with parents of differing ideas…which is why I’ve committed myself never to marry any woman who’s not a Christian. But for you and I, two strangers on the internet, why would it be a problem that we disagree considering my point about Romans 14?
2. You say that God kills children, which scripture are you referring to exactly? I’m not denying what you’re saying. I’m just not sure what you’re talking about. There was the incident where forty-two boys were mauled by a bear in 2nd Kings. And I do know there are instances where God ordered the genocide of people like the Amalekites, (which there is a damn good reason for that) But perhaps if you told me specifically, I can give you better context.
3. Right, so my point about Romans Chapter 14…it hits on your issue with Christians not agreeing. Because you make a good point. I grew up in a household where JW’s believed Jesus Christ died on a stake and not a cross. That differs from what other Christians believe. The beauty of Romans Chapter 14 and our loving God, is that he knows us as humans (a future essay will hit on this). Name one entity or organization on earth where everyone agrees on everything. I dare say, it’s impossible. But with Christians who know the true God, that’s alright. Knowing we’ll be judged on an individual level an not as a whole group, absolves one Christian from another bad Christian profaning the name of God and making all Christians look bad in the eyes of man.
4. When it comes to telling who has the “true” version…I haven’t read all of the types of Bibles out there. But I have read the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (JW bible), and for the past 3 years, I’ve been reading the MacArthur Study Bible (English Standard version). I like the Study Bible because it provides in-depth context for each individual scripture, perfect for beginners. When it comes to picking which is the truth, you have to pray and humble your heart. If you’re a believer and earnestly seek the truth, God will see that and bless you with it. It’s all about your heart. Are you using the Bible to conform to your life, or are you conforming your life to Bible scriptures?
5. The point about Adam and Eve, the Bible explains that the reason we have sin today, is because it was passed down to us by our parents. Our first parents were Adam and Eve. So if they didn’t sin, yet their grandchildren did, then by that logic, the sin those grandchildren brought into the world, would be passed down to their offsprings. That’s why Jesus Christ died for us. To atone for that sin. We still have it, but it has been forgiven, which is why we have the hope of life after death.
6. The tone of your comment about Adam and Eve being kept in the dark is not good. It’s the opposite of humble and meek, and seems stereotypical of today’s entitled behavior. Who are we to think we deserve not to be kept in the dark about things? Recall God’s servant Job. He never learned why such hardships befell him. God never explained to Job the conversation God had with Satan. But he maintained the faith and still put his trust in God. His existence was a good example for us who might have all kinds of sufferings and losses in this world. No matter what, and regardless of our explanation or not, we still put trust and have faith. And we, here and now, have the luxury of those answers Job did not receive.
7. The point about differing beliefs, I believe I explained in an aforementioned point. But just to add, it’s all about conviction. Being a Christian is a voluntary choice. I choose to believe and stake my life on the belief that God is real, the Bible is his word, and Jesus Christ died for our sins. There’s only one person I have to prove myself to and that’s God. Having a congregation or fellow Christians around you does help if you are confused or seek clarification. But at the end of the day, it’s the individual’s choice to believe.
8. Your stand against theists making false claims that harm people…I can respect that to an extent. If you don’t believe the Bible, I can see how it might “seem” harmful. In an earlier essay (about tolerance), I wrote about having watched an interview between prominent Atheists. It was very enlightening. But I confess, I got a bit hot under the collar when one of them said that teaching children about Christianity was child abuse.
Because while he may believe that it’s child abuse, I say that encouraging and condoning behavior that God explicitly disapproves of and will decrease their chances of everlasting life, that’s what’s really harmful.
9. You’re being deceptive (lying) by asserting I think Jesus Christ would be against social justice or that I think it’s cool to happily ignore bad things. But that’s typical, to make arguments against points I did not say. For instance, I know I would never assert that my version was the only version. I’m against anyone who puts forth that false-dilemma fallacy.
What I think is happening is you want me and other Christians to agree with your mindset about the world. Yes, you could say I’m trying to do the same thing…But I AM a Christian. Are you? Because you’ve already demonstrated a deeply disturbing trait, you seem to disagree with God, suggesting what you think God should have done better. My friend…that’s absurd. Being a Christian is about completing submitting yourself to the Word of God. When we question, it isn’t to interrogate God, but to understand him better, fully believing that no matter what he decided, it’s the right way.
In the 1970s there was a man named Jim Jones who started out as a Christian preacher. But somewhere along the way, he felt he knew better than God, took up the Bible and told his congregation, “we don’t need this!” Before tossing it into the nave. This man led to the deaths of over 900. You want to talk about false claim, that was a false claim. Saying we don’t need God in our life, is a false claim.
But enough about me. More about you. If you don’t believe in the Bible, or maybe you do and I’m just misinterpreting what you’re writing here, what do you believe in?