I just find it so hard to keep my faith strong when I see innocent people suffering so badly. I try to be good, helpful, generous. I try to cause no harm, etc But that is not enough for me, I need to have faith. But it is hard to keep strong, it really is. I don't want to be an hypocrite, I really want to have a solid faith but sometimes I think I just can't have it. Not because of my life, I am grateful for everything I have, but I feel 'angry' for so much suffering in the world. Sorry if I don't make any sense.
I'm afraid I find the idea that the Christian god allows free will is laughable. "Do what you like", he says, "except know that if you don't make the choices I tell you to, horrible things will happen."
I find this especially so of the notion that only those who accept Jesus into their hearts can enter the kingdom of heaven, despite there being a vast array of very similar-seeing and perfectly moral alternative religions out there, which people have been born and raised into.
Like putting a variety of tasty drinks in front of people and saying "please, choose a drink. Help yourself. Just to let you know, though, they're all poisoned and will lead to long and painful suffering except one. But, you have free will to choose the one you like best."
How is that free will? It's being held to ransom.
I would ask the Christians on here - can you accept that the only reason you're a Christian is because that is the faith in which you were born and raised? It feels normal and right to you because that's what you've always known. Can you understand that it feels equally normal and right to other people to have been born Muslim or Jewish or Sikh or Hindu etc...?
Once you truly step outside your own culture and religion and take a hard look at it, you may your religion for what it is: just a local cultural superstition, the same as every other religion. Some religions accept they are one of a variety of options, all equally valid. The Abrahamic religions, however, seem to think they are somehow better than all the rest and have dreamed themselves a particularly petty and jealous god who stamps his feet if you don't worship him. But again, who does it "right? The Jews, the Christians or the Muslims? Which one you are depends pretty much entirely on the circumstances of your birth.
I also find the notion that an infinite god with a whole universe to run cares for an insignificant speck like each of us narcissistic and arrogant to the extreme. So god helps you find the extra money for a holiday (seriously, I have seen people thanking god and attributing this to their prayers being answered) while 8yo girls are being raped to death on their wedding nights, others are starving to death and others still dying of cancer.
But good for you, for being the ones who god cares for enough to make your already cushy Western life even more comfortable. It must make you feel very warm and fuzzy inside.
So my child got cancer, suffered horrendously and died full of wires, her blood pouring out of her like water because she couldn't hang onto platelets to teacher us parents and those round her a lesson? Because we weren't understanding and compassionate enough? Because we don't know how to act?Seriously? That has to be one of the most unsettling things I have read on here.
Ever notice how a lot of these tragedies and suffering disproportionally affect the extremely poor? But of course, the Jesus who loves them is just trying to teach them a lesson. How comforting. What if they are Buddhists, Muslims or Hindus?
And if parents turn out to be not trustworthy, by, say, not helping their children in a crisis, or even just deliberately letting them fall off the pavement without catching them every single time, then children justifiably lose trust in them.
When you say 'believe in him' children generally do believe in their parents because they can see them, if you mean believe as in trust, again you'd have to specify which god you mean and how one would know they were trusting in the real god and how you'd know he was good?
Hi lisy, Can I ask which god you believe in? I can understand the appeal of reincarnation but on examination it's very 'victim-blamey' as in 'if you're suffering it's because you didn't learn something in a previous life'. It also does nothing to explain the loss of small children.
I have to be honest sometimes I think it's natural to think why does God let things happen. I haven't got answers but I gained a different way of looking at God after reading about people who have near death experiences and then being 'allowed' to come back. I felt after reading the experiences that each person is set a path in life to teach other people or to rectify mistakes from previous lives. He wants people to believe in Him as any parent would want their own children to believe in them. As any parent would for their child to show compassion, kindness, love and gratitude. If people don't understand how we should act then they keep experiencing different lessons to try to make them understand.
I genuinely believe from my own experiences after praying in my very lowest times in hospital chapels facing ectopics and miscarriages etc that he does answer but never in the way you expect. Sometimes as parents we make decisions about our kids that they don't understand and they believe that we are saying or doing the wrong thing just like He does.
I believe in God, Jesus and Christianity but I believe in my own way. It has taken me all of my life to understand my own belief in him and. somehow it has taken me full circle to believing in the power of prayer and Him. I do not think that he expects one person to change the world, but that each deed of kindness or charity adds up to helping others. Maybe it's a very simplistic view but over the last year believing in God has left me with a feeling of immense safety and trust. I do not readily give up my feelings of religion and I don't go to church. I just believe in my own way just like other people believe in their own religions!
Why about if the people you love aren't in heaven? So god will boot out people who do bad stuff to other people? Why can't he do that now? How will he be able to in heaven without it affecting their free will?
With regards to earth being a test to asses our character: what a twisted way to find out. Take marriage for example, one of the most important decisions you can make and one where you need to determine a persons character, how do you do that? If I told you there was this guy that had asked me to marry him, and I said that I had organised a load of bad stuff to happen to him so I can see how he handles it, wouldn't you think I was unhinged!
The only person to have walked the Earth perfectly according to my beliefs is Jesus Christ.
His atonement in the garden of Gethsame is the gift that enables us to repent and is this grace that perfects individuals.
I can't be sure, but it's not up to me to make these judgements. Although if you stop doing good you aren't going to be staying in Heaven.
In my beliefs mortal death separates us temporarily from those we have lost on this Earth, to be reunited with them in Eternity. Obviously if you don't have the same beliefs you will view it very differently. I am only speaking on behalf of what I believe.
headinhands well spotted. If people in heaven have free will then they might abuse a child up there and god will let them.
Nicknamegrief You can say 'but they are the ones who made good choices before', but that was then. You can't be sure they always will.
oh and despite someone pointing out the difference you are still saying that for god to give up his son for 3 days is the same as a parent having a child die.
niminypiminy if you're still about would you care to explain why you now claim that god does intervene after telling us that he can't without taking our free will? Did you have a revelation?
niminypiminy Fri 18-Oct-13 22:51:08 Backonlybriefly, I don't think we've established that God can't help with the bad stuff. You've said several times that he doesn't and I've said several times that he does
So there are people on earth that don't do any bad stuff? So Jesus didn't need to die for them? Who did Jesus die for? So the people who Jesus died for, ie the people who do bad, they won't go to heaven anyway because heaven is only for the good people? Why couldn't he make us all good? If we can choose to do bad stuff in heaven won't it end up like another earth?
We only do good because heaven is for those who despite their circumstances choose to do good.
It is the reward. It is my belief that God will only reward those who have chosen to do good. They still do good because that is who they are. God has sent us to Earth to be tried, tested and proven. He gave us will so that we can prove ourselves good, wicked and so forth.
I also believe that we came to Earth to experience bad and good, so that we can learn the difference and make choices based on consequences rather than just being told what will happen. I think that we know what suffering is like because we know what pleasure and joy is like.
It's like listening to a woman in an abusive relationship "he's lovely really- it's my fault for winding him up. He's a wonderful father- he just gets a bit stressed sometimes. All we have to do is make sure we don't upset him and everything's fine. He loves us soooooo much, that's why he gets so angry with us"