Sunday, November 01, 2009

God Moves in Mysterious Ways

"God moves in mysterious ways."
"It all happens according to God's Plan."

We've all heard these phrases before along with:  "God has a plan and we are not meant to understand it."
Maybe we don't understand it because it simply doesn't make sense.

We often hear about bad things happening to good people.  You know the situation: good, decent person that gives to the community, is respected by all, goes to church on Sunday, never in trouble with law, and then suddenly he loses his job , has a heart attack, and finds out his three-year-old son has just been diagnosed with leukemia. Or a little girl in the neighborhood is sexual molested and killed by another neighbor. Or a mother and six young children are all killed in a fire.

We hear ministers on TV saying how this is all according to God's Divine Plan and that we must turn to God for answers and comfort. Excuse me? We are to turn to God for comfort when he is the one that either caused or allowed these events to transpire?

What kind of all powerful god cannot come up with a better way to enact his "divine plan" that putting children through the nightmares of being raped, being beaten to death, being burned alive, or other such horrific events. What about tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters that kill tens, hundreds, or thousands?

We are often told that we have "free will" and that it was our own actions that resulted in these tragedies. Fair enough, if the only ones to feel the effects of our decisions were ourselves, but far too often others must bear the brunt of our poor judgement. And what about God's Plan? If he truly has a plan, then how can I alter it with my free will? While there may be some wiggle room in his plan, it's obvious that inflicting pain and suffering on innocent children is not inconsistent with his plan, otherwise it would not occur.

God is supposedly an all powerful, all knowing, loving, and just God. One would think that a being of such power could think of an alternative to all of this pain and suffering to complete his plan. However, if we read the Bible in detail, we find that the suffering of humanity is not a problem for God, but that inflicting pain and suffering is actually a pastime. After all, this is the same god that drowned all of humanity, sent plagues on even the innocents of Egypt, killed or directed the killing of millions of people in the Bible simply to make room for his "chosen people".

If we read the Bible and listen to ministers, priests, and televangelists, we already know the end result of God's plan. Those who believe will spend their afterlife in the presence of God, and the rest of us will burn in Hell.

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction.
(Thessalonians 1:8-9)

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 13:41-42)

... into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
(repeatedly: Mark 9:43-48)

It doesn't matter what we have done to help our fellow man or the compassion that we have shown to those in less fortunate circumstances. It doesn't even matter if we kill, rape, steal, or lie. The only thing that matters at the end is if we believe in God.

If God has a plan for us and since the only thing that counts towards gaining entry into heaven is a belief in God, then his plan logically must be geared towards increasing a belief in him. So how does God try to get us to believe in him? By demonstrating love and compassion? No. He continually threatens us with destruction or hell.

Fear appears to be the key mechanism for God to generate faith.

...Thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God.
(Leviticus 25:17)

...That they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
(Deuteronomy 4:10)

Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God.
(Deuteronomy 31:12)

Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. (Isaiah 8:13)

No comments: