There are both good reasons for believing and reasons for disbelieving. Oftentimes the reason for disbelief is because there is seemingly no resolution with some basic questions about life, basic questions men ask of God. I contend that often the questions which are asked of God are mistaken questions or questions that are not rightful for us to ask. It could be observed that some questions are unanswerable because they are each founded on a flawed premise. If the questions we have for God have flawed premises or are asking one thing when they should be asking another, then how can we expect, and receive, answers? I want to examine the mechanics of the fundamental questions we ask of God and hopefully more than just receiving answers to a couple questions looked at here, the reader can also learn basic facts of questioning.
I. Often times we are not even really sure which question to ask.
This one isn't very obvious, but even the need to write on these questions means that none of them are very obvious. What I mean by this is to first make sure you are asking the right question. A good example is one that came up a lot in the last year: "Why did God allow Sandy Hook to happen?" But before that can be asked, we first need to know what actually took place at Sandy Hook.
a. Was there only one perpetrator involved? No.
b. Were there actors involved who fake mourned and pretended that they had children who died there? Yes.
c. A few of the photos released claiming to be that of one of the family's involved, were they real? No, they were photoshopped.
d. Did the media lie about certain critical facts, such as the one where it was told Mr. Lanza's mother worked at the school and died there? Yes.
e. Was there a media cover-up and law enforcement cover-up in the case? Yes.
f. Did the government seize the opportunity attempt to pass restrictive gun control legislation? Yes.
g. Why was the 'principal' recorded in a paper giving an interview later that morning when she was allegedly killed? In other words, who was posing as her to give an interview OR why is it claimed she was a victim in the killing when later that morning she gave an interview?
The only explanation that satisfies the parameters is that there was more than a lone shooter involved.
The question as stated suggests that God 'allowed' it to happen and furthermore that He is in some small part responsible. But for anyone who investigated the story for themselves would discover that it wasn't an unfortunate tragedy involving a lone shooter. Instead, it was an evil plot by evil men and unknown forces. God is not to blame for what evil men do. This proves even more how much we need God and are nothing without Him yet the enemy has manipulated the tragedy to destroy faith in people struggling with doubt. If the truth were known, the question as stated would be exposed as being the wrong question to ask.
II. There in many cases seems to be no parity in the questions we ask or any firm rule that leads us to ask one question over another question.
Michael Savage, whose radio show I listen to all the time, asked a week back on his show, 'Why did God allow so many people to die in the Philippines?' But this question has no parity. Here are examples that would suffice for parity:
a. Why is Michael Savage worth so many millions? You might say, 'Well, he's a nice guy. He's earned several degrees and is an expert in several fields, and additionally, in radio, he is a gifted host and analyst who millions hear and are benefited from every day. In short, he has contributed inestimable worth to the planet and science.'
And I agree with all of that and I'm not making a point on economics. I agree with Savage economically; I'm not saying people are not entitled to what they have earned, obviously they are. But what I offer as parity is what about all the great men of civilization who offered as much or more than Savage whose lives were cut short by some rare genetic disease or instead of being hailed as heroes by civilization were put in prison or the stocks. Or men like Tesla whose machines scientists in many ways still don't understand, who made the world we live in today possible but all his machines were stolen from him by barons, and he lived the majority of his life on the edge of bankruptcy and died penniless, communicating almost exclusively with pigeons in his final years. And he might have and probably should have been the richest man in the world. Why?
b. Why does it happen so frequently that office pools win lotteries? Why do office pools at the Salvation Army or the Red Cross never win the lottery? And why do some people win small-stakes lotteries several times and most people will never get the thrill of winning even once? And to expand on that, why is it that one person could win two jackpots on the same day, when for others if they win a few bucks that is the most they could hope for?
c. Why do the liberals insist that it's the woman's body and she has a right to do what she wants with it, but that only applies in the case of killing the unborn. See, they aren't lining up bills in the legislatures trying to make organ trafficking legal. But, you might observe, we all have two kidneys. Especially in a government allegedly based on free markets, why is it that a woman cannot enter into a contract with her consent, to offer a spare kidney on auction and sell it to the highest bidder? It is her body so she should be able to sell her kidney.
d. Why do some take an aspirin and die from multiple organ failure and others have spent most of the time since the 1970s shooting heroin, binge drinking, and chain smoking?
All this puts us back to the thesis of Ecclesiastes. Bad things fall upon the just and unjust with little reason or explanation. There really is nothing to explain it but pure chance and God can't be responsible for these things. Weather is chance, food poisoning is chance, and for those of us who only vote in elections but our total sum influence ends thereafter, anything the government does is total chance that we have no say in.
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. [Ecclesiastes 9:11]
Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." [Matthew 5:45]
But there is one implication of parity. Whose lives were affected by that typhoon? How many decided to study medicine because of similar catastrophes and have saved millions of lives in the process? Imagine a child that saw death and mayhem in Hugo or Andrew who now is saving lives at one of our nation's hospital. How many billions have been donated that took villages, which before disaster had nothing but mud huts, no clean water, or really anything, and afterwards they now have the infrastructure to access all of those things? How many people had their faiths in humanity restored? How many people became heroes, that dedicated time to be a part of disaster relief and clean-up who discovered their mission in life was to be of service, to create, and build, and restore lives and communities? How many felt the tug of humanity and went out and donated blood? Bastiat said in a much different sense but also could be seen to apply here, there is 'that which is seen and that which is not seen'.
Oh, but none of that is any fun. It's more fun to be sacriligious and question God and His integrity and suggest that He doesn't have the most scant clue as to what it is He is doing. But is that really what is going on or is God using these unique moments to reach out with His creation in ways like I just described? In these moments of trial, GOD IS CREATING HEROES. I know that God is all good and I know I have just described good things that I KNOW GOD is using these moments for. We have established that GOD certainly knows what he's doing. For parity's sake, Do you know what YOU are doing?
III. By asking God, are we taking for granted that He is not responsible for everything, because in many ways He set a world in motion?
This one has already been discussed. God is not responsible for everything that happens. Man is quite skilled at accomplishing for himself murder, conquest, corrupting government, etc. To impute that God holds special culpability in certain cases, which are no more than the cases we feel specially moved by, yet we do not impute this culpability in other cases? I've never heard anyone invoke the name of God in the case of innocent prisoners who were sent to death row for crimes they had nothing to do with (maybe because the presumption is our justice system does not make mistakes this grave). But there is a special injustice in that case that does not apply in Haiyan. We are also subject to any form of natural disaster, fire, hurricane, tornado, typhoon, landslide, earthquake, etc. But one party that should be spared is an innocent man from the death penalty!!! But who is outraged at that?
Suppose that a disaster strikes a community that is resided in by many philanthropists, doctors, and humanitarians. Many of them are killed. Quite the tragedy! But then a one-of-a-kind storm kills a few thousand poor folks in New Orleans. We don't assign value to life or prioritize life of course, but it's also apparent in this case which one is a greater loss to society. Because in New Orleans, we predict that several rapists and petty thieves, who before the storm instituted terror in the city, have now been wiped out as well. Many, who don't care for the city would then move to other cities and there'd be a resulting increase in crime there. The people who did return and rebuild were the people who loved New Orleans, despite its faults and were hoping to see New Orleans restored and better than it was before. What reason does a petty criminal have to return and participate in the effort to rebuild? No. He simply transfers his housing and relocates his crack business. Do we know the hearts of those killed in Indonesia? How many Einsteins were killed? What if the child who had the potential to grow up and cure cancer was killed? But for parity's sake, if we grant that Einsteins were killed, let us also grant that several future dictators, corrupt military generals, and corrupt politicians were killed as well. What does it all mean? Frankly, it means nothing. A few thousand people died, meanwhile while people have been criticizing God, a few hundred thousand have died in military campaigns, from malaria, starvation, and preventable childhood diseases. But instead of working on preventing these largely avoidable crises, we'd rather spend our time in debauchery and faithlessness. And for everyone who was so 'moved' by the catastrophe (and all disasters as well), did we see drops in beer sales, theater ticket sales, or was any less money blown on the cards and slots in Vegas? Absolutely not. We wouldn't let needless and inexplicable suffering going on worldwide get in the way of our getting drunk or entertainment. God knows what He is doing. Do you?
IV. Does there need to be a reason why?
I could be shortchanging God myself here, but, Does there always need to be a reason why? In some cases, we might just need to see that there is a place for chance in all of this and determinism doesn't explain everything, simply put.
V. Often times we ask God, we ask as from grievance rather than from inquisitiveness. Is it for us to lodge a grievance against God, for us to criticize Him?
By grievance, I'm referring to launching a complaint toward God as someone with standing. We don't have any standing at all to question God on Indonesia or Katrina unless we are personally harmed. The only decent thing someone can do here is to ask from inquisitiveness, but not from grievance. But even if you are aggrieved, who are you to be aggrieved, to declare to God how you do not support the hurricane and how you hold Him personally accountable? You are clay and are questioning the potter as to motives when it is not in your constitution, it is not your place. We might still be troubled by suffering but nevertheless, we should recall that in all Job's trials, when his wife told him to curse God and die, he never sinned by falsely imputing unrighteousness to God.
"'Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?' In all this did not Job sin with his lips."
VI. Never lose faith for the sake of unanswered questions because many times they are not even the right questions to ask.
I've showed that sometimes well-meaning questions are asking the wrong thing. It's not that God 'allowed' something to take place. It's fact that many horrors occur daily because of what MAN chose to do, and God can't be held accountable for that. Many questions of this sort inspire doubt and ultimate rejection of faith and are predicated on the lie that God should be personally responsible for everything which takes place. You see we were once a part of God's kingdom but we decided, first with Adam and Eve, and then subsequently through continued rebellion, that we thought we were better able to govern ourselves. You might say, 'There was no Adam and Eve,' but the point is still the same. Man decided at some point that he could take over the role of governing and answering questions for himself. It is because of this rebellion that our children now suffer from disease, hunger, war, and all other problems known to man. God shouldn't be blamed for this and we should remember the problem is with man, the problem we are hopeless to fix without Christ's sinless life and death.