Tuesday, 29 May 2012

What Kind of God?

Why does God allow violence, abuse, murder.....?

1.  It's not God doing it.
     We do these things of our own free will.

2.  There will be a reason for it.
     Psychological reasons.
     Birth, experience, education, environment.

3.  Natural justice (rewarding good and punishing evil) is a human construct.
     There is no evidence that God acts in this way.

4.  "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'"  Matthew 5:43.
     "'For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.'"  Matthew 5:46-48 (NRSV)
     God is transcendent - beyond our human understanding of justice.

5.  The greater forgiveness is to forgive those that harm you even while they are causing you pain.
     Forgive your tormentors as God forgives you.  We suffer these things for their (the perpetrators) sake.
     That they may be forgiven.

6.  When some transgression occurs society reacts by calling for harsh penalties, even calling for the perpetrator to burn in hell for ever.
     That's throwing rocks.
     "'Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'"  John 8:7 (NRSV)

7.  Rather than looking to punish the offender we should be looking for the things that caused them to behave that way in the first place.
     Then we may be able to forgive them as God forgives them.
8.  God answers prayers.    

(Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.)

Photo Credit: chrisjohnbeckett Flickr via Compfight cc

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