Answer in part Mr. Fry.
A post has been being shared around facebook. It has Steven Fry getting justifiably and understandable angry and protesting about the fact; that if God exists at all, He must be full of hate and evil. Steven explains how, If there is a God, and He lets evil things happen, children die and suffer, then that God must be totally evil and that he, Steven, would never want to get into heaven, let alone meet God, at all.
First I was scared about this post. I am fearful of anger because in my childhood there was always anger and fear.
Also the fact I love God. That is in fact an understatement, and a contradiction, because also, like Steven, I have times I really HATE God. So, because not only do I believe in God, but I am getting to know him and love Him, I was afraid, like I do most often, I would take the comments and emotional outburst personally and get angry. Because that is what I do to protect myself and then crush the argument to try to make it go away, along with the fear that is the REAL reason I got angry in the first place.
Why fear? Well, first the reason I pointed out. But also the fears I also have at times about God Himself. Is He REALLY real? Does He love me and accept me? (my own father either rejected me and that was bad enough) WHY did God give me my parents, when He KNEW (God knows everything doesn’t He?) they would hurt me (as well as the things that are done unintentionally – but still scar – of which we all are guilty)? All these questions come up for me, just like they do for Steven. In fact they come up for all of us.
Sadly, like my dad, one of the ways I try to shut the fear up when it comes, is to crush either who or why it has come, rather than trust I and God that there IS another way.
About Steven’s declaration that God allows evil things to happen. Well, I have a question for all of us to answer, that may help us look at the idea of God being cruel another way…..
Have you ever done anything cruel? Have you ever done anything you were ashamed of? So ashamed you dare not confess it to another soul because you were SO afraid of being found out? Have you ever said or thought anything nasty, spiteful, mean or unkind about somebody else? Have you ever gossiped, out of the sheer pleasure of telling somebody else what ‘so and so’ did? (The bloody bastards!! What a cheek!!) To feel the pleasure of the agreement of the other person who was listening?
Have you ever been impatient, angry to somebody else? (I’M in a hurry! MOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Have you ever been jealous? (It’s NOT fair! I want that! How DARE they have one! Why do THEY always have stuff like that happen? Nothing ever happens for ME) or as women – She looks good, bloody cow!
Have you ever gone and taken somebody else’s things, or even taken their husband or wife, because you wanted them? (I couldn’t help it, the desire was to strong! She came on to me, I couldn’t control myself!)
WHEN and HOW and WHO decides as humans (not talking about God deciding now, I mean US making that base line decision) do we start to draw the line and say some kinds of behaviour are wrong, and if they are wrong then they must be so called evil??
Well, if like me, you have done just one of those things, and I confess to most of them, then I ask you another question. Whose fault was that?
In a society where we routinely, and even subconsciously blame others. The ‘Blame culture’ it’s even called. Where we do not take responsibility for our own actions but actually BLAME the other person! ‘It’s not my fault- she slagged me off! He hit me – so I hit him back. He called me first. If she wasn’t so demanding he would have never turned to me for an affair.
She said it first! If He wasn’t so mean, this would never have happened. And one of our most favourite quotes? ‘ IT SERVED THEM RIGHT!!’ (Surely God would allow that one? After all……………………………………..!)
Then when the seeds that we have sown are reaped on our own head, we STILL blame others! Why has GOD done this to me? I didn’t do anything. Its not my fault. They asked for it! He’s left me for somebody else. I’m now on probation for hitting that bastard. I got fined for stealing that x box. Now I can go out for 6 months – bloody justice system – not my fault! And all along we declare and even worse BELIEVE ITS NOT MY FAULT!
WHEN do we start to draw the line and say some kinds of behaviour are wrong, and if they are wrong then they must be so called evil??
So if WE have done these things, made these choices, WHY do we blame God for them? Did He force the terrorist to take the bomb into the backpack that killed people? Did He force the rapist to lust so much he stole somebody’s peace and innocence in such an evil way?
Did He make the father who abused his children do it? NO. That was the choice and action of the human themselves!! Even to take revenge on what has happened to us is often actually revenge rather than justice. I hit him because he hit me. I reported him because he should not have done that to me, now he’s lost everything – serve him right.
Another question thrown in…………………..If you KNEW that HOW and WHAT you did to others in judgment or revenge would in turn be done to you when you did wrong, WOULD YOU STILL JUDGE THAT WAY? Before you say yes, also think if it was your child. Brother, sister, mother, someone you dearly love etc who had to take the same consequences that you decide others should have.
Judgment! It’s a whole subject of its own. How we love to judge others harshly – but we want to be treated with mercy!
We have freewill. It is what makes the human being above and in charge of everything else on the whole of this planet. And freewill is just that. To CHOOSE to either do good or to do evil. And only by being honest with ourselves, taking responsibility for our OWN actions can we know truly know ourselves and whether we are choosing to act in love or in hate.
BUT IF THERE WAS NO religion there would be no wars, people say. NO! that is the biggest pile of BULLSHIT –there is no other word for it I have ever heard. As in the words of the Spirit of Christmas present; when confronted by Scrooge; about the those who do not give anything to the poor and say nobody should have if they cannot afford it, who justify these actions by using the bible – He says, ‘There are some who claim to know me and my brothers, but they are alien to us- CHARGE THEIR DOINGS TO THEM.’
In the name OF God man and women kill torture and maim. But if they were to search their own hearts they would find the answer. That is not God. That is control and fear and hate. Remember I said I have a horrible habit of crushing those I am afraid of? That is what people do in the name of God. The actions that keep women down and silent with no rights or freedoms, hate of a race or some other difference, blaming and hating each other…., in the name of God. Or Killing somebody else of another religion or belief – even same religion different view point! And/or taking their properly, in the name of God.
They use Gods name, yes, but the things are done BY them for their OWN benefit. Control, manipulation and fear and hate are used and then God is blamed for their actions. Or another way to put it, the consequences they have meted out on others are said to be Gods will! Oh, Human beings, how we love to do wrong and declare it’s not us but God!
If we cannot bear to have somebody different we try to turn them or force them into a version WE have decided is best for them and we use the name of God to do it. (And yet, we all know somebody who is like that to us and we HATE them for it!! And that is whether we believe God exists or not!)
As Christ said to the Pharisees, you go half way around the world to make a convert and then you turn him into something TWICE as bad as you!
So we blame God or at the least say he ‘allowed’ it, for the bad things we do then? So we believe and say God MADE me do it?
But, Then, if you do that you can no longer use the argument –‘they deserved it’ to justify your action –You just blame God. So then, shall we do away with prison and the justice system cos everything is Gods fault?. In fact, we can do what we like then and blame it on God! Kill, rape, murder, steal lie, everything is Gods fault. We no longer have any responsibility what so ever.
BUT this cuts BOTH ways! When you do something good, are you not proud and pleased with yourself? When somebody does something kind to you, when you get a hug, or a present or, when you are shown love and acceptance. When your friend treats you for coffee or when you pass an exam really well. When your children excel or doing something special on mothers or fathers day or your lover gives you a huge surprise of Valentines day, actually that’s not them, then! That’s God. He ‘made’ that happen. So don’t bother say thankyou to those who did it! They didn’t really do anything! You didn’t do well or anything kind or loving or good – God did!
( I think myself that, WE are either the hands and feet and body (heart) of God doing His will for Him on this earth, Or we are the hands feet, heart and body doing Satan’s will, or we are just on the planet evolving doing our own or the will of those who are in charges will! If the last one is the case then note this….its definitely not God its US who do both evil and good! In which case, its no point bitching let’s just get on and do what we will do anyway. Destroy everything. After all, have we EVER learned from past mistakes?!)
It is freewill that allows us to choose these choices. But without free will where would we be? Either we would be drearily going along being behaved and doing well. No chance to show bravery because there is no adversity. Or courage, because there would be nothing to be courageous for. Nothing to hope for, nothing to fight and be proud of fighting for; In fact it would be just like the movie Invention of lying. Bloody boring and lifeless.
Or the Trueman show, we would have no choice in anything. So life would have no life. Simple.
OR we bring Stevens version of God into it, we would live in terror of ever doing anything wrong, for fear of retribution, and there would be no such thing as love, forgiveness and mercy, because the consequences of wrong doing would be torture, condemnation and death. And anyway, God would be being so damn mean we’d be more interested in licking His arse than anybody else’s!
LORD, I live under enough condemnation of my wrongs myself, without all that thanks. Suicide would go up a million fold except there would be not relief from it as we’d be punished for murdering ourselves! . A whole life of misery and slavery.
So what do we do with God in a world of hopeless lack of responsibility, and damage, where bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people as well as the good that happens to the good and the bad that happens to the bad?
The problem of God allowing sickness starts with the acknowledgement of the world being in sin and darkness as does the issue of evil choices we choose. Because we have already discussed that Choice comes from us, not from Him. That is unless you are an atheist, in which case its survival of the fittest, so sickness merely weeds out all that is unhelpful for the protection and evolution of the species. If that’s the case, stop blaming God, cos He does not exist, and bloody well got on with it without complaining! And if something bad happens? Well that’s all down to how we have evolved, so just got to wait until we all become perfect. And the evil that we do is merely that we have not evolved well yet so eventually all criminal activity will be eroded out of humans.
But which, as pointed out previously – where do we start saying something is wrong, will mean we are all eradicated anyway because our very being CANNOT stop doing what is wrong on one level or another. (Who was it who pointed out you never have to teach a child how to lie? Or teach them how to do wrong? In fact, what are parents for? Seems to me our children are very good at doing what we tell them not to do!) But I suspect, looking at human behaviour we are more lightly to evolve more backwards than forwards…………………………………….
This world is sinful and we need to believe somebody can help us out of the secrets we don’t tell, the things we have done, the pain we are in and the things that have wounded us. The things others have done where we cry out for justice and punishment – and which in nearly all cases deservedly so! But those who do things were also damaged too.
I know that sucks and is not good enough. BUT, when does it stop? An eye for an eye? Well that’s all very well, but as a partially blind person I’d rather not. Actually knowing the human race, we would run out of eyes and teeth and still manage to kick each other, so how about removing legs, hands tongues (after all slagging somebody off is wrong!) IN FACT! The perfect solution – remove all humans! WHOO HOO problem solved! Except we are looking at it from the perspective of it being Gods fault – maybe we should do away with Him? Believe me, I tried that one, He is still bloody well there!)
So then if we believe that it is not ‘ultimate selection of the species that causes sickness and wrong doing’ then we are left with the idea that God or some-being else, is bigger than we are and created us. So, is He good or evil? Well, the answer I think is in how God describes Himself. He IS Love. Love is patient, love is kind, does not brood over hurt. Does not rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices in truth. And I also know God is NOT interested so much in law (law may keep us safe, but it shows no mercy and cannot bend. So cannot change and always condemns us to its consequences.)
But what He is interested in is Mercy. If we believe in God we know, that something somewhere went wrong with what He created. And, if we acknowledge that it is the choices WE choose to make that affect others, who in turn make choices, then we know the problem lies with us.
A god or to put it in better terms, the only God – Could not by His very nature do wrong. Not if He is Love itself. So what would we do if we were God? Eradicate us all and start again? Surely that’s not fair! We do not want to be judged so harshly do we? After all having blamed God for all our wrong doings, should we then agree with Him in eradicating babies and children? In murdering the innocent? Of course not! That WOULD make Him evil and unjust.
And we see His love in this world. In trees and flowers, in nature and space, in babies and lovers, in music and mathematics. All the wonders of the world and the wonders we still have (though secretly!) as adults that make us like children, these things are love. And I cannot believe that a God who can make those things can be full of hate and malice.
So what then? I believe that God DID do something about the evil and sickness in this world. He came Himself and gave us the opportunity to choose differently. He did not promise instant change. Nowhere have I ever read that in the bible. He NEVER promised evil would stop here in this world. He said that IF we chose to acknowledge that WE had got it wrong then He could then begin to start helping us put it right. He does not wave a magic wand. That would make Him like Mary Poppins, and we already talked about that kind of control and where it leads us. Because we have not really touched on another point. There is a God, but there is also a Satan. And between us choosing do what we wanted and not waiting for God, Satan got given control of this world, by us (God gave it to us, we gave it and our lives to Satan, when WE chose to do it our own way. Not just Eve, Not just Adam. BOTH of us. And that’s one of the problems, men blame women, women blame men. We need to STOP blaming each other for stuff and start helping each other!!)
And Satan only wants one thing – total control. Now if HE were God then we WOULD all be controlled, tortured and militated in death forever. Satan wanted the world because He was so pissed off God gave it to us. Who were we? We didn’t even have clothes! And sadly Eve got conned into thinking that the taste of that apple was more important than waiting for God and asking Him about it.
BEFORE all you guys point out its all her fault, WHO was stupid enough to watch her eat it and then do the same thing? You’d even lived an extra day (Could have been longer, Gods time is different to ours!!) And STILL after naming all those animals, you watch your new missus pick an apple that you knew was not to be eaten and watch her take a bite, then when she doesn’t fall down dead you take a bite! And since then you’ve been blaming her and she’s been blaming you! SO BOTH OF US! STOP THE BLAME AND LISTEN……………………………………….
So as we both decided to obey Satan rather than God and think that Satan’s suggestion was more important, we have been in darkness and broken. Making wrong choices and getting sick, both physically, and emotionally ever since.
That’s what makes it even worse. It was not just us that got sick and went bad, EVERYTHING did. That’s why God came to ‘Save the world. John 3v16’ not just came to save Humans but to save the world. Because we gave it all to Satan and all he can give is death.
So God had some choices. He could annihilate us and start again. He could annihilate Satan and make us forget it all. He could have annihilated Satan before any of it happened. But that is NOT Gods way. How we love the easy solutions! If we all practised putting the clock back the bloody thing would never go forward!
God is so unlike us. He saw what we did. He saw what Satan did. He knew it was a real mess. He knew death had come and sin. And He also knew that without HIM nothing could ever be the same again. Satan would never change and as we had bowed down to Satan and chosen his road, without help, neither could we.
Satan is a legalistic bastard. Plain and simple. HE keeps us by the law. HE keeps to the law. He insisted on the law. And doing that was his undoing because God KNOWS the heart of the law is mercy and mercy is a word Satan has never heard of.
I can imagine it.
Satan: “They are MINE! They chose ME. Now I’m in charge and there is nothing you can do you son of a bitch! I am SUPREME ruler of this world, YOU said don’t touch of the tree or you shall SURELY die. THEY touched it, I am master of death, so they are mine and you cannot have them. Ever.”
God: “But I love them, they made a mistake, please show them mercy, they didn’t know what they were doing.”
Satan: “MERCY?? Whats that? Talk to the hand, Dickwad! Them is my slaves!” “And anyway, there is NOTHING you can do about it!”
ThankGod that he is so much more creative!
He KNEW man had fallen. And that the law had been broken. To eat was to die. And now Satan who man had obeyed; was the Master of the law and holding the law out in front of Gods face; Telling Him to suck on it.
So He made a way. He came into the law, by making Himself a Human Being. He gave up His god status and got down and in the shit with the rest of us. (Literally and figuratively!) He obeyed the law. So well, that out of every being on the planet He was the only one who did no wrong. Period. Don’t know if he ever caught a cold, had measles or head lice, but thankfully getting sick did not mean you’d broken the law, it was just a consequence of the law being broken.
And because He was obedient even in Death, Death could not conquer Him. It Could not kill Him because He had OVERCOME and FULFILLED the law.
HE could say to Satan. “ NAH, Them’s MINE DICKWAD!!!” “Hand ‘em over!” And Satan had to do it. Jesus as a man, did what Adam had not done and obeyed the law, and in doing so became victorious over the law, and was free from it.
And then He said – Do you want to be free? I will not force you. That’s not my way. I know that you can see and tell good from evil. Did it a bit differently from how I wanted you too. I would have explained it, but you went a tad over the top and actually tried it! Ouch, yep that hurt. Hurt me too!
So as you can now tell good and evil and unfortunately you do both, I offer you a way out. When you realize that you’ve blown it. That the thing you are terrified of people knowing is nearly driving you insane, when the pain of what has been done to you makes you so broken that nobody can get inside you anymore, well, you can ask me to help you.
You can let ME say sorry to YOU for the fact it all got broken. Yes, it was not my fault, but that does not stop me saying sorry. Like a parent whose child falls over I am SO, SO, SO sorry that you fell over. I want to help you get up and get healed. I am not like Satan. I will not rule you with a whip or rod of iron. I love you. I will show you mercy and kindness. I know you have done wrong. And I know wrong has been done to you. But if you will learn from me I will clean you, help you and heal you, and then you can offer that to others. If you will let me, I can take EVERYTHING that has ever happened to you and change it into something beautiful. Might not all happen the way you want it, but it will happen.
And one day, when the time is right, and as many of you that are going too, have chosen to live life and not live death, then, I am coming back. And I am doing to END all the wrongs forever. But till then the world is broken and sick. You know I am not a control freak. I HATE what happens as much as you. I can’t explain to you why bad things happen to good people. Although there IS an answer – and I know what sucks. But some things you just can’t handle or understand right now. And in this muddled up world a little information at the wrong time could cause a whole lot more wrong things to happen.
I know you are mad about that and I understand. But could you put your pain and anger aside for one minute and realize that I did NOT cause this, but I HAVE given you away out if you would like too. Learn about Me. It’s a risk, but you will find that the Risk is SO worth it.