I suppose I owe it to expand upon the last statement made in my blog.
I tend not to talk about my faith a whole lot. I am of the mind that it is a guideline to live my life in the best most loving way possible, and not an opportunity to convert or condemn people. But I have been feeling a little blindsided since coming to
I just have two questions (or more like 20 million). Kathryn and I have been discussing endlessly, and I have been delving into my bible a lot these past few weeks. But I am still hitting a brick wall. I am not doubting the existence of god, rather his involvement or lack of.
Thus, I figured I may as well attempt to open up a dialogue. I am posting this on my blog and my facebook, because I am feeling entirely at a loss, and looking for any insight I can get.
I will try to make this as concise as possible, albeit a little convoluted even to me.
The first thing is related to, but not, “why do bad things happen to good people.” It is not that simple. For I understand there are terrible things in the world. I believe in creation and evolution, like Galileo, simply viewing scientific fact as reinforcing the other. Anyhow, as I see it, just because god is all-powerful does not mean he is all-controlling, or the ability to choose wouldn’t exist. And if free-will doesn’t exist, then the potential for relationship doesn’t either. So he gives us free choice, even if that means choosing to do the wrong thing, even if that means choosing to something horrific. And because he is not a dictator, and lets us make our own decisions, we have the ability to affect one another positively and negatively. Therefore, I think most bad things exist because of the hateful and violent decisions individuals make on a daily basis. I do not think they are punishment from god, or any other such nonsense.
With that said, the bible shows us countless examples of god stepping in to stop bad things from occurring. So my question is this, if god does not inflict evil in the world, but is capable of divine intervention, where is the dividing line? When does he leave us to the results of others execution of free will and when does he intervene? And if he is merely taking a back seat to free will, what is the purpose of prayer in these situations?
I understand prayer as an open dialogue with god to build relationship, and not as a personal wish list. But we ARE occasionally encouraged to pray for the things we want, specifically including deliverance and protection. Does it matter if twenty people pray as opposed to one? I would argue no. and if god leaves us to the mercy of free will, however terrible, then why pray unless for feeling at peace?
We are told that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, but you cannot tell me that the thousands of people who were mutilated and murdered in the places they went to worship, during the 1994 rwandan genocide, were not praying for deliverance, and had less faith then a mustard seed. Christians have a history of being persecuted (as well as persecuting – although that another whole conversation I have much to say about, and I think those are people who missed the whole point… aaaaaanyay), but this conflict was not based on religion, rather a muddled ethnic divide, resulting more from economic class distinction, and decades of resentment inflated by sheer propaghanda.
I can see god in the aftermath of the genocide. In the reconciliation, the peace movements, the strength of character, the immense examples of forgiveness, the unwavering faith of those involved. I mean I just returned home from three day trauma healing workshop, where genocide survivors and genocide perpetrators, now released prisoners, sat side by side, worked in groups and openly dialogued in an attempt to bring peace and reconciliation to their communities. Genuine forgiveness and genuine regret. I can see god in that, I don’t believe it is possible otherwise. Maybe that’s just me.
but I cannot see god in the genocide itself. And I am having difficulty understanding why not, because I refuse to believe that god is a vengeful, vindictive or removed deity.
where is the dividing line and why didn’t it fall on the other side of this conflict?