Abundant Life

Teaching: The Problem With Blaming God

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

Have you ever asked, or heard anyone else ask: “If God is so ‘loving,’ why is there so much suffering in the world?” Or, “Why is life so unfair?” Or, “What have I done to deserve this?” Or, “How can God allow babies to be born deformed?” Or, “Why doesn’t God do something about all the misery of humanity?” (Of course, some people say He is doing something – He’s adding to it!).

Traditional Christianity has failed to provide satisfactory answers to these questions. [1] Today, a great deal of what is represented as Christianity is, in reality, “religion,” that is, the doctrines and commandments of men.

“Religion” does purport to answer the above questions. For example: “The bad things happening to you must be because you’re a bad person or because you have sinned, and God is punishing you.” Or, “This sickness is God testing your faith.” Or, “God allowed that tragedy to humble you and strengthen your faith.” Or, “This terrible situation is how God is breaking your pride.” In reality, such “answers” only add to man’s already unbearable burdens.

Millions of people accept such erroneous ideas, and it is not because atheists tell them so, unless perhaps they are atheistic lawyers or insurance agents who, acquiescing to the jargon of their trades, often describe many natural catastrophes as “acts of God.” Sometimes it seems that just about the only folks who don’t hold God accountable for human suffering are atheists. Well, at least they have one thing right.

How sad that so many Christian people also attribute to God these traumatic occurrences, as well as accidents, persecution, disease and death. One reason they do is because other sincere but misinformed Christians have failed to understand God’s wonderful Word, and have thus distorted it. These erroneous teachings have not only wounded people emotionally, but also turned them away from the only true source of comfort, strength, wisdom and supernatural deliverance, which is God, through His Son Jesus Christ. The fact is, the teaching that God causes suffering causes more suffering. As we will see, an accurate biblical understanding of the origin of evil and suffering relieves God of all responsibility for it.

At this point we feel it is appropriate to quote at some length from the book When Bad Things Happen To Good People, by Rabbi Harold Kushner. This is a book well worth reading. In the first chapter, “Why Do The Righteous Suffer?” the author sets forth a number of familiar answers to this question, and why they leave much to be desired. Although we feel that Kushner’s book itself does not adequately answer this question, his insight, especially in the first chapter, is most pertinent to our subject.

Kushner addresses seven commonly held “reasons” as to why people suffer, which are as follows:

* We deserve what we get.
* People do in fact get what they deserve, but only over the course of time.
* God has His reasons for making people suffer, reasons that they are in no position to judge.
* Suffering is educational.
* Suffering is just a test.
* Suffering comes to liberate us from pain and lead us to a better place [after death].
* An all-powerful God does not necessarily have to be fair and just, from our limited human perspective. [2]

Kushner elaborates upon these reasons:

One of the ways in which people have tried to make sense of the world’s suffering in every generation has been by assuming that we deserve what we get, that somehow our misfortunes come as punishment for our sins…

It is tempting at one level to believe that bad things happen to people (especially other people) because God is a righteous judge who gives them exactly what they deserve. By believing that, we keep the world orderly and understandable. We give people the best possible reason for being good and for avoiding sin. And by believing that, we can maintain an image of God as all-loving, all-powerful and totally in control…

The idea that God gives people what they deserve, that our misdeeds cause our misfortune, is a neat and attractive solution to the problem of evil at several levels, but it has a number of serious limitations. As we have seen, it teaches people to blame themselves. It creates guilt even where there is no basis for guilt. It makes people hate God, even as it makes them hate themselves. And most disturbing of all, it does not even fit the facts…

Sometimes we try to make sense of life’s trials by saying that people do in fact get what they deserve, but only over the course of time. At any given moment, life may seem unfair and innocent people may appear to be suffering. But if we wait long enough, we believe, we will see the righteousness of God’s plan emerge. [3]

Often, victims of misfortune try to console themselves with the idea that God has His reasons for making this happen to them, reasons that they are in no position to judge. [4]

There is much that is moving in this suggestion, and I can imagine that many people would find it comforting. Pointless suffering, suffering as punishment for some unspecified sin, is hard to bear. But suffering as a contribution to a great work of art designed by God Himself may be seen, not only as a tolerable burden, but even as a privilege. [5]

On closer examination, however, this approach is found wanting. For all its compassion, it too is based in large measure on wishful thinking. The crippling illness of a child, the death of a young husband and father, the ruin of an innocent person through malicious gossip— these are all real. We have seen them. [6]

How seriously would we take a person who said, “I have faith in Adolf Hitler, or in John Dillinger. I can’t explain why they did the things they did, but I can’t believe they would have done them without a good reason.” Yet people try to justify the deaths and tragedies God [supposedly] inflicts on innocent victims with almost these same words.

Furthermore, my religious commitment to the supreme value of an individual life makes it hard for me to accept an answer that is not scandalized by an innocent person’s pain, that condones human pain because it supposedly contributes to an overall work of esthetic value. If a human artist or employer made children suffer so that something immensely impressive or valuable could come to pass, we would put him in prison. Why then should we excuse God for causing such undeserved pain, no matter how wonderful the ultimate result may be? [7]

This is a very valid point that should to be taken to heart. It seems that the idea that “God has His reasons,” even though we do not understand them, is the single most common excuse that people give as to why God causes suffering. For example, writing about the biblical character Job, Philip Yancey stated: “In some mysterious way, Job’s terrible ordeal was ‘worth’ it to God…” [8] “Mysterious” indeed, so mysterious that even God Himself apparently does not understand this concept well enough to explain it anywhere in Scripture. [For further study read Job: The Righteous Sufferer.]

It is a common moral axiom in our society that “the end does not justify the means.” Getting an “A” on a test does not justify cheating. Winning a race does not justify using steroids. Getting a job does not justify killing the other job applicants. In the Bible, God spends a lot of time defining what is moral and holy behavior. He makes it clear that a good end does not justify evil means (Rom. 3:8). One place where God makes this point, using an analogy, is in 2 Timothy: “…if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Tim. 2:5).

Does the God who teaches us that the end does not justify the means then deal with us as if it did? We think not. If God is somehow responsible for mankind’s misery, if He could stop it but doesn’t, if He has “reasons” because somehow this is all part of some unseen “plan” that will work to His glory, then He does not practice what He preaches.

You can read the rest of the article here.

I will not be silent anymore. It’s time we STOPPED blaming God when tragedy strikes.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

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