Has God Abandoned His Children?

IYHO, why does God hide himself away from man, and seemingly ignore the problems of being mortal? What could be the reasoning for allowing the innocent to suffer? I recognize God is not a vending machine of instant graification. But, sometimes, I wonder how even He can stomach such imbalance of justice in this world. All the “have-nots” can do is cling to their hope. Will the tables ever be turned?

And, if you share this feeling, how do you cure your feelings of perpetual “indigestion” to keep a smile on your face each day?

  • Jinx

Here is my take on this:

Have you ever known someone whose parents always shielded them from the consequences of their actions, or the bad things that happens to all of us? I have, and they are usually pretty worthless. Would you want your parents to do this for you?

God treats us as adults. He hasn’t abandoned us, but He knows that we must be the instruments of goodness and change in this world. He has given us teachings that, if we all accepted them, would make our world a better place:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Judge not, lest you be judged.
Love others as you love yourself.
God does not force us to follow these teachings; He leaves it to our intelligence and our judgement to see the truth in them. If he were to force us to follow these rules, we would be no different than the sheep in the fields that are herded by dogs and men. He does not treat us as children, punishing us when we violate his rules, nor does he shield us from the grim truths of the world.

Yes, this means that terrible things happen - because he does not shield us from the consequences of our actions or the actions of others. How could we learn how important these were if we never experienced the consequences of violating these commandments?

If I am not mistaken, these commandments don’t show up in just the Christian religion. I know the “Golden Rule” shows up in many theologies, and is common in ethical considerations even when not attached to a theology.

If Christians and other theologies spent more time teaching these ethics, and less time trying to convince people that our idea of God is the only acceptable way to percieve God, this would be a much better world.

And the world is becoming better.

Despite so many Christians (and I only pick on Christians because it is the only religion I know well) actively spreading the opposite messages.
Just 60 years ago, the U.S. government villified and terrorized the Japanese during WWII just because we were fighting their country. Last year, after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government explicitly stated that middle easterners in America were to be given the same protections that all Americans enjoy. Christian churches opened their arms and hearts to Muslims.

75 years ago, killing a black man was considered good sport in places in the U.S. Now killing a man just because of the color of his skin is a worse crime than killing for money.

200 years ago, sodomy was punishable by death. Now, homosexuality is acceptable by much of society. (Some may not consider that getting better, but I certainly do)

As bad as the number of crimes commited against children this year seems, it is far better now than it has been in the past. Remember that news is news because it is not common, and that there is far less tendency to blame victims of rape now than ever before. So there is much more openess about rape and related crimes. Can you imagine a teenager who was raped getting on the cover of a national magazine in the 50s? It would have been unlikely that they would have even told anyone outside their family. My mom told me in the 70s that if I was raped we shouldn’t prosecute because it might make me a target. (My thought was, if someone raped me, I would do all I can to get justice)

And I haven’t even mentioned the advances in medicine and technology that make our world a better place.

The reason (IMO) that the world is becoming a better place is because more people are basing their life on love.

“And now, these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” 1st Corinthians, 13:13

Because he either (a) doesn’t exist or (b) doesn’t care.

Hey, you asked for opinions.

This is one of those “Have you stopped beating your wife?” questions, right?

Well, Zyada, that’s a good argument, except it’s totally wrong. The relationship between God and people is nothing like the relationship between parents and children. The reason parents push their children is that they won’t be around forever. And even if God has decided not to intervene, why doesn’t He do public appearances? Why, for that matter, did he get upset at the stuff (acceptable homosexuality) that you claim is an advancement now?

Personally, I think it’s because God has skipped across the state line and is currently living with some washed-up ex-stripper in a trailer park off the interstate outside of Tulsa.

Man, when I catch up with that fat old bastard, Jerry Springer’s going to have to set aside an entire WEEK. And I’m not putting up with that old self-determination line either–that’s just a cheap-assed way to get out of paying child support…

Because G-d wants people to do good things out of moral goodness.

If G-d’s will were clearly manifest on Earth, and divine justice clearly dispensed, people would do good out of pragmatic calculation…not because of a distinction between right and wrong.

So instead, he works behind the scenes to achieve such ends…justice dispensed, but not so clearly as to remove the “morality choice” in peoples’ lives.

So, cmkeller, when did God change his mind about this? There’s lots of times where God worked miracles and smited people in the bible.

Holy Great Debates, Batman.

A question that presupposes a hotly debate issue – that God exists.

Should I be discouraged from contributing to this thread becasue I’m an atheist? Or should my contribution include my honest humble opinion, since it was asked for?

Quite a dilemma.

In my humble opinion, this thread is seed for yet another Great Debate thread on religion, (or more entertaingly, a Pit thread).

I wonder if God ever asks Himself – gee, I wonder why those humans can’t learn to live together, treat each other right, and share the world, instead of waiting for some kind of magic miracle from me.

Yes, Kevja…I wonder this, too. Also along these lines, I wonder if God is tired of us making the same dumb mistakes from one generation to the next. Sure, we study history, but often it seems we learn so little…

Beyond all that has already been said in this thread, assuming the SDoper(s) reading this believes in a God, then why do the good die young? Some might say God needs these people up in eternity more than we need these people down here on earth. But, shouldn’t long life be a blessing? The untimely death of a loved-one just tears the rest of us to pieces - hurting us and often leaving many doubting God.

It just seems awful lonely down here without some reassurance from above. And, it gives the rats a leading edge as we keep losing the good prematurely. - Jinx

Interesting point of view there robert.

#1 The theology of Christianity makes it very clear that God considers us to have a parent/child relationship with him. “Our Father, which art in heaven”

#2 It’s mortality that makes parents teach their children morals? Given the very human tendency to not really believe you are going to die until you are nearly dead, I don’t believe that a parent’s perception of mortality has anything to do with it.

#3 Why God doesn’t “make public appearances” is an interesting question that has probably generated books already. My own opinion is that by doing so, God would move from faith to science. And that there is a true advantage in pursuing faith where science can’t lead us. Which, oddly enough, some scientific research has shown that faith is good for you.

#4 Whether the Bible condemns homosexuality is a whole 'nother debate. My father, who studied to become a Baptist minister, believed that it didn’t, and I trust his opinion. But even if the Bible condemned homosexuality the way it does adultery, the New Testament clearly shows that it is God’s responsibility, <i>not ours</i> to deal with sin. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”

Threads of a religious nature always turn into debates. I’ll move this to Great Debates.

Off to Great Debates.

DrMatrix – General Questions Moderator

I’ll let someone else give the chapter and verse that condemns homosexuality (well, male homosexuality).
And if I see a stranger about to off themselves out of sheer stupidity, I’ll help them, if only out of naked self-interest and hopes of a cash reward. So, does God care less about people than I do?
And what’s with plagues, anyway? God obviously has power over them. They don’t really help people. And yes, they cull the weak. But, it that was God’s goal, then He could have just as easily caused them not to be born. Or to ascend to heaven in a cloud of golden light. Basically, I look around at the world, and muse that if the best God can do exactly resembles what we would expect of a world goverened by * The Cold Equations*, I wonder what’s going on. And, if science has determined that faith is healthy, it’s because God has made it so, remember.
And I posit that if you knew that you would always be there to guide your children, and always could guide them, you would.

Who is “us”, exactly? Does it include the Mayans, the Aztecs, and the Inuits? How bout the those of Asia, the Orient, or Polynesia? Was it just random luck that Jesus was Jewish? Would Christianity be any different if Jesus was Chinese?

Does He live by those rules, too?

I can see the truth in them. I didn’t need God to teach me.

Force? How 'bout a few hints? Perhaps even some straight-talk guidance? Navigating Manhattan isn’t herding sheep.

Really? Has He ever punished someone for violating His rules? Are we sure He won’t in the future?

If only He would point them out. To everyone. Wouldn’t you try to do that for your child?

Is that different from “punishing us when we violate his rules”?

OK, so some of these “unenlightened” cultures developed some of His rules independently, right? How about the other two? Could all of His rules be developed independently, too?

Oh, thank …Him, we agree!

If I accept that, are your suggesting that Christians should receive credit for the list of items that follow?

A truly beautiful sentiment.

While my tone may sound confrontational (hey, it’s GD now!), I am seriouly interested in how you resolve this mess.

Well, odd as it may sound, South Park had a plausible sounding theory…

You have to admit, that would answer a whoooole lot of nagging questions. :eek:

Come on, youngster. You should know better than that.

Did cmkeller say that God never intervenes? It seems to me that you’re misrepresenting his position.
There’s a big difference between saying that God “works behind the scenes to achieve such ends” and saying that he never performs miracles anymore.

Well, the God of the OT wasn’t really one for working behind the scenes. Why didn’t he just do it right in the first place? Or, what changed? Why did God lay an ass-whoopin down on Sodom and Gommorah, and spare Nazi Germany? (Rhetorical question. Germany isn’t in a tectonically active area.)


He never changed his mind. During Biblical times, there were unique circumstances which in his calculation overrode the momentary free-will considerations. However, if one traces the frequency of direct divine intervention amongst mankind through the Bible (the OT, that is, since I’m speaking from a Judaic perspective), it is clear that after reaching a peak at the time of the Exodus from Egypt and the following forty years in the desert, there is a gradual, steady reduction in direct divine intervention. That peak level of Divine interaction at that precise time was, in his calculation, necessary to establish the authority of the Torah and the Israelite people as permanent fixtures on the world landscape. Once this was done, he gradually hid his involvement more and more.

In addition, there has also been a moderation of extremes since those times. The very virtuous of back then were more virtuous than those of today (and therefore merited direct divine guidance and intervention, whereas these days, we don’t) and the evil of back then were more evil than the evil of today. We hold up Nazi Germany as the epitome of evil in modern times, but bear in mind that that regime only lasted twelve years, and that human society had by that time learned to be horrified at such things. Societies like the one wiped out by the flood and Sodom and Gomorrah practiced and perpetuated their evil unhindered by any human agency for centuries before G-d declared that leaving them alone any longer would be too damaging to the world.

Chaim Mattis Keller

Why? Hey, good question.

Here’s my answer to why: God does not exist. There is absolutely zero evidence of the existance of god, and nothing in the universe requires that god exist for it to be.

So, how do we as people rationalize things happening when we believe that god exists and cares about us?? We invent excuses as to why bad things happen, such as “God treats us as adults. He gave us the rules, and now we have to follow them” Hey, that’s great, but what about people being attacked and tormented by those who don’t follow them? If the rightious were proven to have fewer bad things happen to them, this might be a valid argument, but it rains on the just and on the unjust equally. What about the babies who are raped or murdered before they are even able to fathom the concept of god? Are they simply “not following the rules” too?

Of course, the question changes when you ask “which god?” I assume that you mean the christian god as outlined in the Bible, but there are perhaps hundreds, or even thousands of gods that people have/do believe in. The one common element to all of them is that none have evidence of their existance. You can believe in one god, but there will always be someone else out there whose holy book or set of beliefs tells them to persecute or kill you for not believing in their god.

Faith in gods came about in a time when early man was trying to explain everyday things, but had as yet no science to show him how to figure them out… Once science came along, supernatural explanations gave way to rational, logical, realistic explanations and we now see that the world makes more sense without a god than it does with.