Why, God, why?

Got a comment from a friend last night on my previous blog post that warrants another blog post since I’ve long had countless thoughts on the same matter itself.

My friend Chris wrote:

Hi Ian, it’s me.

I’d like to think that I’ve got a more balanced perspective than usual because I’m an apostate Christian, and still go to church regularly to support my Christian wife despite my unwavering apostasy. That doesn’t automatically make me an all-seeing expert, but I do know my bible better than some practising Christians while also having formal grounding in secular philosophy.

I find the so-called gospel of grace, which frees modern Christians from some of the more problematic laws of the Old Testament, somewhat problematic. It’s a bit of a cop-out, while making God seem unfair to those who lived in the world of the Old Testament.

Common teleological justifications for God not being very lenient on these old-timers include the need to demonstrate man’s inability to justify his worth under the Law and his consequent need for grace. The argument that God exists outside the flow of time and could have intervened with grace before Christ’s birth is countered by the fixed eschatological scheme that starts with Adam, has Christ presaged by Joshua and Melchizedek, and ends with the millennial battle against Satan. It’s viewed as a necessary progression. We exist within time, unlike God, and hence can only experience salvation within the framework of time.

However, none of this gets around the fact that if God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, he must then have known that Lucifer would fall, etc. If he knew all that, and this world and its recorded history was the best compromise he could come up with, how does that reflect upon his various omni-attributes? Moreover, if we also assume that god is All Good, then how could he stomach anything less than a perfect solution devoid of suffering? Various modern theologians like Alvin Platinga have proposed various workarounds for this, but none of them comprehensively resolve these basic problems.

Obviously, we’re entering turgid theological territory not everyone can relate to, but my point is that, as I see it, there are some very fundamental problems with the gospel of grace. This therefore means that I don’t think Christians can pick and choose which biblical laws to follow without running into problems of consistency, because the gospel of grace is the only solution and as I’ve already argued, I don’t think it holds up to scrutiny.

However, you and I are in clear agreement when it comes to the Bible’s stance on homosexuality – it’s unequivocally condemned, which is one of the reasons for my continued apostasy.

I actually bothered to wade through Aware’s manual for sex education trainers and don’t have a problem with any of it.

In case anyone’s wondering why a straight man’s bothered with gay rights, I’ll paraphrase John Donne by pointing out that no man’s an island, and I therefore never ask who the bell’s tolling for; I know it tolls for me.

 

Thanks for the great sharing, Chris 😀

You know, bro, whatever I write here is not going to change your views overnight but that’s ok. Any belief system requires vigorous questioning before one can accept it wholly. Which is more than I can say for many Christians who go to church assuming what is said at the pulpit is always right, without applying any critical thought on it.

IMO, it all really boils down to this eternal mortal question: “Why, God, why?” and I’ve often questioned the following to God:

– Why are there hungry and starving people in the world today who will die in the millions before they reach their teens?

– Why are there babies born with all sorts of horrific disabilities? What crime did they commit to deserve this?

– Why did You let Satan loose upon Earth if you knew he was going to cause so much death and destruction? Could you not have stopped Eve from eating the apple?

– How can you create man, allow him to breed in the billions, then single out a fraction of them to go to heaven and the rest to suffer eternal damnation? What makes the chosen ones any different from the rest? Why can’t you save everyone from hell?

– What do you mean man has free will? You say everything is predestined, so am I not a mere puppet in your hands? Shall I now live life in a random and anarchistic manner since you already know what’s about to happen next?

– What really causes homosexuality? What do I say to my gay friends about you being dead-set against their lifestyle? What if they say they were born like that?

– My friend has never heard of Jesus and he died. Will he go to heaven or hell based on his ignorance?

– Where were you when I really needed you?!? How can you be all-good when all-bad is happening in my life now?

 

And so on and so forth. Many of us will ask one of these questions sooner or later when faced with the ultimatum : “Will you believe in a God?”.

The biggest problem is that when non-Christians turn to their Christian friends with these questions, they usually get two types of responses:

“You know, I’m not sure why either.” Then the Christian starts questioning their own faith. Many leave the faith because they can’t find a satisfactory answer.

“I’ve got the theology textbook here, here’s the technical answer on predestination, foreknowledge, the blood of Christ….” The non-Christian listens, gets confused by all the terminology and gives up. The Christian tells himself: “Oh, he doesn’t get it because he’s not meant to be saved.”

Of course, a wise pastor could provide far better guidance, but because the average Christian is not equipped to answer properly, the questioner often never gets to the stage of meeting the pastor.

Or perhaps the non-believer will get to visit one of the many different types of churches out there – get a huge dose of the speak-in-tongues Charismatics and bored to tears by the fundamentalists. And wonder what’s the fuss between the Protestants and the Catholics. Confusion leads to despair, leads to no answers again.

Well, guess what, I don’t have any 100% satisfactory answers either and I’m still looking for some good answers I can give my non-believer friends.

But what I do have (and why I believe in Jesus) is faith based on personal experience and a simpler understanding of the Bible than most theologians would have me do.

1 Corinthians is my starting point:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
   "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
      the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

To some, that’s like saying, “Oh you just won’t understand God no matter what. Don’t bother lah.” But my other favorite book is Ecclesiastes, and in chapter 3 Solomon writes:

I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

From there I had to accept upfront that philosophy doesn’t hold the final answers to Christ, even though philosophy is good and useful in itself for understanding the secular world (and getting people to think out of the box). Why? Because God said so from the start, and I reasoned he must be right because for all the debates I had with fellow men and intellectuals on the tough questions in life, no human had the white paper on God’s Will even after several thousand years of intense study. Man’s intellect will not bring him any closer to God, or else science would have proven the existence of God already.

Yet I cannot rely on that above reasoning alone, because I would contradict myself. If I reason that my mortal reasoning could not bring me to God, anything I assume henceforth would be untenable and hence I must be damned to hell.

This sort of circular thinking can drive you absolutely nuts, so I looked up from the books and sought answers in the world around me.

I found God everywhere I looked!

Romans 1 says:

…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Science still cannot fully explain the complexity of man’s brain, the birth of the universe, the dizzying range of animals or even why the dinos died. New papers are written everyday to correct the older papers. Everything we see and touch points to the indelible fact that a supreme being beyond our fathoming was responsible. How do we recognise something as beautiful in its time? Why do we love? Only because it’s been deliberately programmed into our genes from the start, and not by mere chance from two amoebas merging together like the game Spore.

That for me, is enough to prove the existence of God in a very simple and straightforward way. Yes, it makes me sound simplistic too, but why must things always be made complex? So the next bit was understanding why God mattered in my life.

If you read about my childhood in Balestier Road, you’d know I spent my formative years in Chinese temples, watching spiritual possessions of mediums, praying to countless idols, experiencing the supernatural (ghosts and such) and so on. The supernatural world is as natural to me as the physical, so I believed from a young age in the existence of heaven and hell.

Studying in Anglo-Chinese School didn’t make me a Christian but made me even more resistant to being one. The benefit was that I started questioning God on everything!

Now the first time I saw God explicitly intervene in my life was when my mum suffered from late-stage breast cancer and I begged him for help. He did, but my mum still died from a different form of cancer nine years later. Was God evil? No, because he did answer my prayers in 1992 but didn’t promise he wouldn’t take her away in 2001. God is good, but in His time.

My friend Edwin asked me a simple but devastating question: “If you believe that heaven exists, why do you want to go to hell?”

On that question alone, I went to church, accepted Christ for good after years of questioning, started studying the Bible in depth, and then during my university years, was anguished with the same tough questions that I mentioned earlier.

But over the years, I’ve also seen God acting in other people’s lives in unfathomable ways, namely my best buddy Darren who made an incredible recovery from a devastating stoke. I saw God take away my classmate Hok Su with SARS, and he was one of the most faithful Christians I ever knew. I saw my buddy Derek die at the age of 29 from sudden heart failure despite being the fittest in our bunch. From these tragedies, I began to understand more and more.

As a young journalist in The New Paper, I covered countless human tragedies – some logical, some totally senseless. But what God was showing me in its totality then was the seeming randomness of the world that Solomon encountered and chronicled in Ecclesiastes too.

Now where then, is the message of grace in my case? I had put the philosophy aside because it was not leading me anywhere. I found my personal answers in the work that God was doing in my life and the lives of people I know. It’s a cop-out to many to say the cliche “God works in mysterious ways”, but not to me. The day I accepted Christ in my life, I suddenly saw things from a different perspective. I could understand, even though I didn’t have the Wikipedia answers, why many things are the way they are. Is it the act of the Holy Spirit? I don’t really know, but for sure, it was like putting on a different set of glasses!

Over the past decade, I re-oriented my life from asking “What can you do for me, God? How about some good grades?” to asking “What can I do for you, God? I don’t want to be a pastor, I just want to be contented and happy. What does it take?”

God has shown me everything in life I desire requires a sacrifice of some sort, but today I am contented with my lot, and despite various hiccups here and there, I have everything I need (not want) – my wife and kids most of all.

I still like to rant and complain about everything, but that’s because my mind remains curious about how things can and should be better from a human point of view.

I continuously challenge God with tough questions because I keep learning new things. This life I lead is one to continues to make me, an utter sinner, refined again and again by fire, trials and tribulations. Will bad things continue to happen to me? Of course, else how will I appreciate what is good? God MUST allow bad things to happen, otherwise I will become complacent and forget who provides me with all that I need. I’ve learnt an all-knowing God paints a bigger picture than man can see, and I keep asking “Let me see more of the canvas please!” and Solomon is right in Ecc 1:

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

 

Ok, that’s alot of words and I have to end my piece now so I can run to work.

I just close with this story from the book of John, Chapter 9, that our pastor brought up last week. Jesus explains why bad things happen to innocent people:

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

All the best in your search for your own answers, I hope mine have provided a different perspective from what you’ve seen so far. My old selfish self continues to argue with my Christian self over the tough questions, but I know now that above all, God prevails.

(This post first appeared in www.iantan.org)

21 Replies to “Why, God, why?”

  1. I don’t think either of us expects to be able to change each other’s views, but I find dialogue a worthwhile goal in itself. I especially treasure the freedom to discuss these issues with someone on the other side of the fence, in a public blog and without getting hysterical.

    The shoes of Paul are the easiest for the modern man to wear since he came relatively late in the New Testament, and therefore had to find his way without the benefit of actually seeing Jesus in the flesh daily. I remember spending hours combing Corinthians looking for my own road to Damascus.

    I’ve read about your childhood in Balestier Rd, and it’s struck me how my path’s been inverse to yours. I grew up in a Christian household, only to part ways with that legacy during my Anglo-Chinese School days.

    “Why, God, why?” is a great way to describe The Problem Of Evil, which I summarised in my original comment. It’s an issue that’s been hacked to death, but still remains relevant as a threshold for believers to cross. The way out of it requires some kind of leap of faith. I confess I sometimes envy those who have made that leap and wave back to me from the other side.

    I’m sorry about your mum. My mum survived cervical cancer because of a chance early diagnosis in a post-natal examination after having me. It would likely have become terminal otherwise, which is why my mum’s very close to me. She says I saved her life. Maybe it was luck. Maybe it was God. I’m just very thankful she made it. And I’m glad your experiences haven’t made you bitter.

    I find the prospect of God needing to make bad things happen to me to prevent complacency deeply disturbing. It’s just as disturbing as your quotation from the book of John that explains misery as opportunities for God’s love and mercy to be displayed. The book of Job illustrates that idea at great length, but doesn’t comfort me much either.

    What I do find comfort in is secular philosophy. Many find philosophy empty because of its lack of answers, but that’s to misunderstand much of its purpose. The journey is the goal, and I find myself with a deeper appreciation for life, love and family despite an absence of definitive answers to endless questions. The honesty and thoroughness philosophy demands means that the few answers I do find are even more precious to me. I guess in that respect you and I really aren’t that different. We’ve found our answers in different places, but we appreciate the fact that they’ve been hard won.

    Thanks again for sharing your perspectives, and for this conversation here. It’s an extremely gratifying reminder that people can find pleasure in talking without coming to agreement.

  2. Yo, there’s no need to feel sorry for my mum’s story. 🙂

    As a family, we are all relieved that her suffering finally came to an end. If I do get late stage cancer, I won’t bother with the treatment and just go eat all the good food I can. Better to die of clogged arteries than a slow wasting death I say.

    Yeah, the whole concept of “getting evil done to you so you’ll know good” is something not easy to accept. But from my observations, it’s the only way because

    1. Man keeps falling back to his sinful nature.

    2. Man always takes things for granted. Familiarity breeds apathy.

    3. You can’t have one without the other, else there is no concept of morality. Well actually in the Garden of Eden, there was only good, but guess who had to go mess everything up. Hint: Not the snake or the guy.

    I like philosophy myself, just don’t have the patience for it today. MOE should give up on teaching “creativity” in school since that’s an oxymoron, but teach philosophy instead, which teaches people how to THINK. Being “creative” forces people to PRETEND how to THINK.

    (And off topic, I’m sure Creative Technology would do a lot better in PnL if they remembered what “creative” meant”.)

    I’m sure you’ll find your answers within the next decade or so. Apostasy might be remedied with a vigorous exploration of the Bible. Remember Jesus said in John 8: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

  3. Why, God, why?

    My cents worth. Might be incoherent.

    God’s essence is everywhere. He is in us, in everything and every person around you.

    God has given us a great gift, the chance for your soul to experience life in the physical world. Why does he do that, so that we can learn and grow. What are we learning? To learn how to think, reason and react. And with the experience to grow.

    Why do evil/bad things happen? They happen because of us (human race), not because of God. What we need to learn is how we react in the face of evil/bad things?

    God has given us free will so he will not intervene to change things. Because by intervening, it will destroy our free will. But he will help those that help themselves.

    Remember God’s unconditional love for us. He will still love us even if we do wrong things. But we will reap what we sow. God forgives us but we still have to pay the price for our deeds.

  4. Hi Kok Keong

    You wrote “Why do evil/bad things happen? They happen because of us (human race), not because of God. What we need to learn is how we react in the face of evil/bad things?”

    I’m not too sure of the earlier sentence. Sin results in evil acts, yes, so that is derived from humans and Satan who tempts.

    But while God may not be responsible for the bad things that happen, it is clear He allows it to happen to us according to his will. While we cannot understand why God would allow thousands of people to die from say, a ruthless genocide, it is clear these things happen under his watch.

    Now why does God allow these horrid, horrid things to happen? That, I refer back to my original post, is a “tough question” that most Christians fail to address properly to non-believers. I don’t believe any human can answer this question, save Jesus.

    Also, “he will help those that help themselves”…well, that’s not really Biblical you know. Check out this link:

    https://www.gotquestions.org/God-help-themselves.html

  5. The Bible says the Universe is 6,000 years old. Adam lived to 945 years old. You honestly believe in that?

    The Bible also has been quoted by people living in the 1700s-1800s to endorse slavery and witchcraft. Why abolish slavery now since the Bible clearly instructs on the selling, buying and taking care of slaves?

  6. Hi Jason,

    Of course I believe in the facts stated by Genesis. It doesn’t mean you haven’t seen a man who has lived 1000 years old, he couldn’t have existed. Or that if scientists tell you that the earth is a million years old, they must be right – because they’ll admit they don’t really know 100%.

    Religion is a matter of faith. I’m not here to argue with readers why I believe the world was made in 6 days. I can’t prove it as a human. But can you fully disprove the existence of God? What will happen to us after we die – will everything go blank or will we stand before Christ in judgement? This is the question so many people refuse to face.

    Re slavery – the Bible will be quoted for all the wrong reasons at all times. Slavery was an accepted part of society in the early days, but God was clear on this – treat each man as you would treat yourself.

    We cringe now when we hear the word slavery because of the atrocities carried out on them throughout history.

    The atrocities carried out by man on slaves were not God-sanctioned, but driven by human sin and perhaps even the Devil. God gave men the ability to think, to reason, and to fight injustice. It doesn’t mean if sin prevails in man’s singular history, God’s justice doesn’t prevail over eternity.

  7. Hi Ian,
    Thanks for taking the time with this speedy reply. I really want to go Heaven not Hell. But the evidence suggest otherwise. The Bible is really full of flaws and inconsistencies.

    First of all, ‘the age of the Universe is 13.73 billion years plus or minus 120 million years. This number is not a guess, but the result of remarkably precise measurements’. The Bible is so wrong about Science. Saying Earth is the centre of the Universe, that Earth is flat, that the sky is a dome. Let’s not forget about the persecutions of astromers who dared to state otherwise eg Galileo

    The Bible also says that illness is caused by demonic possession. Faith and exorcism are the recommended cures. Today, there are those who suffer and die for want of medical care because they follow the Bible’s teachings and turn to faith as the primary means to cure their ailments.

    Can anyone disprove Santa Claus or the pink unicorn? If you say your God is true, then you have to give us the evidence. Else, anyone can say pink unicorns exist. No need to give evidence. Just rely on faith. Faith is to belief in something that does not have a single shred of evidence.

    Since the ‘Bible will be quoted for all the wrong reasons’, what makes homosexuality any different from slavery, witchcraft, Crusades, Inquisition? After all you did say ‘treat each man as you would treat yourself’? Surely, God can speak for himself without the need for priests, prophets or scripture. Especially when it is misquoted ever so often.

    ‘God Exists!’ But it is always the humans telling us.

  8. Hi Jason

    I’ve written plenty on the issues you raised within this blog, you can check out my other posts under the Christianity category.

    God can speak for himself, and he does so all the time without man’s help. The problem is that we only listen to what man says about God.

    I don’t wish to go on debating about this, because you’ve probably made up your mind about this matter. I can only hope and pray you might understand our position as believers better in the future.

    Cheers,
    Ian

    PS: The Bible never said that the world was flat nor that you shouldn’t see a doctor if you’re ill. Man did.

  9. Ian,
    Blaming “human nature” for the horrible instructions in the Bible is the way modern Christians can excuse the Bible from the atrocities that it contains. You have my email. We can take it offline if you wish.

    My grandmother used to stay in Jln Ampas(near Balestier) before it was torn down. We had a great time there when it flooded in the 70s. Those were the days.
    Cheers!

    James 5:14-15 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.

    Ex. 31:15 Whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

    Ex. 21:15 He that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.

    Ex. 21:17 He that curseth his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

    Ex. 22:19 Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.

    Lev. 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.

  10. Hi Jason

    I’ve made it quite clear already – I’m not here to win this argument with you. It’s my personal blog and it’s here that I share my thoughts and ideas regardless of what other people think.

    Now I spent my younger days trying to rebutt every point that non-Christians kept throwing my way. I’ve had long philosophical arguments with atheists and Taoists and Catholics. I’ve sat down and pondered on the tough questions in life, long and hard, as I did in this post again. And at this stage of my life, I don’t regret doing all that but I don’t wish to do it anymore because it doesn’t prove anything to others who want to press on with their own perspective.

    I do not wish to be seen as Mr 100% Right. I cannot possibly be. All I ask for from my readers is that they try to understand my point of view and hopefully enjoy what they read. Would it make people feel better if I said “oh yeah, the Bible is wrong, thanks for pointing that out?” Perhaps, but that’s not what I believe in and I’m not asking everyone to blindly believe what I believe in. Free will is a gift we have to exercise for ourselves, and debate keeps our brains alive.

    Christianity as I know it is a simple faith. God made us, we fell from grace, and Jesus came to redeem all of us from eternal damnation. I can accept the fantastic or seemingly contradictory points in the Bible because I have learnt through hard lessons in life that God’s ways are often unfathomable and hard to grasp, but I know and I fear my God because I have seen His hand in my life.

    It may surprise or upset you that I don’t read the Old Testament very much these days, save Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The OT was written for the Jews before Christ came, and even the apostles acknowledged that the Jews could not meet the difficult standards set by the Old Testament in order to be saved. With the coming of Jesus, the New Testament came into play and salvation through him was offered for all, not just the Jews.

    It’s encouraging though, to see that you have knowledge of Bible verses and would like to know why they appear to contradict each other. It’s really all about knowing the context of how and when they were written, and that’s why we attend Bible study classes to understand, debate and evaluate the Bible for further discussion.

    Sometimes, in such classes, we raise points we cannot answer then, but my experience is that as we get older and more experienced in the ways of the world, these lessons often become clearer because we understand the context better now.

    We could take this offline, but perhaps it’ll be even better if you could consider thinking about finding someone who could help you understand the context of which you want to find out more about, and ask him/her the tough questions that you have many of.

    But don’t take it that I’ve given up on my faith because I don’t wish to argue it out with you and ensure I have a logical answer for each of the points you bring up. Neither does it mean you are wrong to question the Bible and want it to sound 100% watertight from your point of view. Nor does it mean that Christians believe in a flawed book.

    I’m simply saying this blog is probably not the place where you will find the answers you want. I struggle with my faith on a daily basis, but I continue to believe that Christ is the only way to salvation. If you don’t believe so, then I have to let it be.

    Still, as long as you keep asking the questions, I’m sure you’ll find the answers one day.

    Ian

  11. Well it’s clear to all that you certainly did not win anything from that exchange, as an outsider what strikes me about your exchanges is the way your position moves in and out of reality as the questions become less easy to explain away.
    I find the simple answers the best when trying to make sense of a religious person’s mindset, and over many years one funder mental pre requisite of all religions is to somehow cheat death, just take that simple thing away from the equation and you watch religions of the world vanish in an instance.
    When talking to these people I have found that no matter what the evidence to the contra, religious people have a perfect way to delude themselves, which I may say has been skillfully handed down through the generations, “it’s my belief” “it’s my faith” “we do not question” all these are trotted out when the questions cannot be answered by logic alone.
    The one ongoing great thing about all this is Science, Science slowly but surely has eaten away at many of the weird and wonderful beliefs of the religious and it’s slowly dawning on many of the religious out there that they have to keep moving their goal posts in order to avoid extreme ridicule. It is quite interesting that as Science progresses our knowledge huge parts of the past religious teachings becomes redundant, and yet another excuse has to be found in order to placate their followers and keep the bandwagon rolling on.

  12. Hi Stephen,

    So in your view I have lost the exchange. That I have shifted the goalposts and used religion to wish away everything that was difficult to explain away.

    Ah, the irony, given that my original blog post was all about the difficult questions we Christians find impossible to answer even after becoming believers. I hope you will go back up this page and re-read what I originally wrote before this comments thread went the usual way of “Oh you Christians are so wrong. You always have some religious excuse to wish away the difficult and tough questions in life”.

    So be it, whatever you might think of us believers or my thoughts here, my unseen reader. At least I have shared my thoughts and you have read what I had to say.

    Perhaps one day, you and Jason might think different and learn to see things from our Christian point of view. I love science and all the great things that it brings us (the iPod is possibly my favorite invention of this century), but science has yet to answer this question – what happens to us after we die?

    Or perhaps not, so let us remain self-deluded in your mind and that of so many others. Still, let it be known that Christians do not reject science at all. Only the fanatics do.

    For me, my purpose of writing my blog post here is done – to share the philosophical and ideological difficulties that Christians continue to face despite all the human knowledge (and wow, science) that we have – but thank you for reading. I question my faith vigorously every day, and yet I continue to find a reason to keep it. Why, you ask? Because I have seen God’s work in my life and that of others. You don’t see His work in your life? Look more carefully, you might be surprised at what you find.

    And one last thing – the faith I have is a mindboggling mystery from every angle: A divine being coming down to earth to be crucified by the very creatures he made and get resurrected after 3 days? What poppycock right? Why, for all the university education that I have, I must be absolutely nuts/foolish/stupid to believe all that right?

    God save us from this foolishness 😀

    Ian

  13. “The iPod is possibly my favorite invention of this century” Now although the IPod an impressive piece of work, I think you may be missing something here.
    Having said that it does seem to take us a little further down the road in understanding how a religious mindset is able to ignore the parts of science that threatens and conflicts with their belief system and applaud that which although fun, is quite benign.
    As for “what happens after we die?” Now this is not a bubble bursting exercise but, Is it really so hard to imagine that we probably go the same way as the countless animals we eat or accidently slaughter on the roads each year. Why should we be so different from them?
    Anyway this is not intended as a question and answer session but more of a view from the outside of your circle. It has been noted that religious persons such as yourself have a extraordinary ability to answer and confuse simple natural scientific facts of life, by turning them into supernatural magic type happenings that, quite by chance I’m sure, cannot ever be fully substantiated.
    Anyway it has always seemed to me that despite all the well meaning pious rhetoric the religious among us are only so for a very self serving reason, that is they trust they will live forever but only if they pay up, and believe. (What a wonderful marketing strategy). Without seeming to blow my own trumpet, I on the other hand have no belief in such things and still care for others, Put simply because as you know I like simple, I live, and do what I do, and without any such live forever payback,.
    Wow I feel almost Holy. ?
    Stephen U K

  14. And with that, I close the comments thread here. For those readers who disagree, that’s fine by me. But realize that I’m a Christian who’s not out to impose my views on you, but simply share my faith without going on the offensive or defensive.

    In the past, I would have jumped into the fray with gusto from the start, wanting to have the last word and wanting to be proven of super intellect and reasoning. But long-time readers of this blog may have seen how my tone has mellowed over the years. As I get older, I realise there is little or no value in always being proven right. Because everyone has their pride to preserve, their ego to protect. If I prove myself right at all costs in such a futile debate (given that there is little room for acceptance of differing views from some commentators), what is the real cost to the other party? I would have turned people off with belligerence and bring them further from Christ than I had hoped.

    1 Corinthians is clear on this:

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
    For it is written:
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
    Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
    For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
    Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

    The Bible puts forth that our gospel will be seen as foolishness, and in modern terms, self-delusional to many people. Indeed, I must then be seen as the fool to get my point across, and hopefully put God’s point across too.

    Let it not be mistaken that I have no steam to defend Christ. But I put my energy and time into far more worthwhile efforts like making sure I lead a godly life and bringing up my kids the way God commands. We could blog, talk, argue and so on for years on end, but what do we give up in the process when people prefer to confront rather than understand? The first assumption that man often makes is that he has all the answers. No one has – not the Christian, not the non-Christian. That’s why we continue to seek our answers for ourselves, but let that process be fruitful rather than dead-ended.

    By closing this thread, I will be naturally seen as a coward, a loser or a weakling who continues in his self-delusion.

    If that makes you happy or satisfied, ask yourself why – because you have proven yourself better than a Christian for today? Now what’s the real value in that to you? None of you even wanted to leave your real name here.

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