Why does God do the things he does.

Or allow them to happen.

I have seen this question on many of the debates regarding God and his power. I have always wondered myself (I was raised Christian, though I no longer practice) why the pain and suffering. I have my own theory (see below), but am interested in knowing what some of the other teeming millions think.

Now im not a Religious person, and I constantly wonder if there is a God. (Read Agnostic) But why would he do the things he does. Why death, why suffering, why Humility and all the countless problems all Societies seem to face. (or humans in general)Why allow Satan ect.
My thoughts on this are of course undecided and pretty vauge…otherwise i wouldnt be currently agnostic. Looking at it Objectivly, And assuming Knowledge and Wisdom is the end all, the Goal to reach, This life seems to make sense. Ill try to keep this as short as I can.
If I were God and wanted some companionship, like humans, I certainly would not give them the Knowledge it would take to be able to talk coherently to them with. (After all, most of you seem to be rather intelligent, now imagine your IQ at twice what it is, and talking with somebody with an IQ of 80…imagine the fun…hah, now take that and multiply that distance by a hundred fold) God, I think would not give us that Knowledge all at once because we would not have the Wisdom to use it (assuming of course that say, God couldnt give us Wisdom) correctly. So life is a Journey to Gain the Wisdom and Knowledge to be close to God? I dunno, Mabey over countless lifetimes, it sure would make sense. After all, what does the Average person actually learn in one single lifetime. Some learn alot, most dont learn anything. The suffering makes us stronger, more resisilant to the hard lessons we need to learn of course.
This is the most logical scenario That I came up with so far in my life, though its watered down so you dont have to read a book to answer.
What are the views of the Millions? Assuming of course there is even a God. To me, Christianity confuses the issues more and more to the point where they contradict themselfs. Sometimes that happens here, but This board has more of an Intelligent user base than the churches(lol).

The reasons that God does the things he does - or His ability to influence anything that goes on here positively or otherwise - has as many answers as you have religious ideas.

Personally, I say just become a deist. It’s a lot less messy that way…

Yer pal,

My understanding is that certain evangelical groups (IIRC, The Plain Truth group, to be specific) deal with the problem of evil by relaxing the assumption of omniscience.

They view the world as some sort of grand experiment. At the end the sinners are destroyed, because they unfortunately don’t have a place in the grand scheme. But God doesn’t know who is among the fallen ahead of time. There’s no eternal damnation. My source is a guy who grew up in that faith; I have no independent confirmation.

I thought I’d mention it because your framework appeared similar in some ways.

God doesn’t do those things, and doesn’t interfere with created entities such as yourself doing what it is possible for you to do.

God didn’t force the fucking dinosaurs to go extinct either.

God ain’t Santa Claus or your Fairy Godmother. Get over it.
There is rules. The atheists call them the “laws of nature”. OK, “nature” is as good a name as “God”. Either way, they just is. If you are inclined to use the God-word after understanding that, it is most likely because you see a pattern or a grandeur embedded in those rules. (and I have no quarrel with those who don’t, unless they try to raise semiotic/poststructuralist arguments about meaning).

There is rules. You is in the game. I is in the game. God…no, God ain’t in the game. God just make the rules.

Blaming God for bad plays is like blaming the guy that nailed the peach baskets to the wall for today’s bad plays.

Oh yeah… if this species don’t pan out, don’t worry…something else will come along to occupy the niche. In the mean time, share, forgive, and try to implement a social and political system that rewards instead of punishes those modalities.

With all die respect to AHunter3, many people of faith disagree with acessment of the situation.

After all, many people find comfort in prayer, which is essentially (usually) asking for some kind of beneficial intervention from powers unknown.

Now, I pray. Yet I don’t think my prayers will be answered, because I personally feel closer to that of a deist. I do this because, well, why not? Maybe I am wrong? And also, prayer makes me (and others) feel better whether they are answered or not.

All of that said, I believe that I am in the minority when it comes to prayer. Most people who pray do so because they do think that God (or space aliens, or whatever) has the ability to answer that prayer.

Which is all fine and good, really.

But what burns my butt is the people who talk about how wonderful God is when someone survives a disaster which killed several other folks. I mean, why the hell couldn’t God have, I dunno, maybe stopped the disaster from killingh anyone?

People who are quick to credit God for all of the good things but refuse to impart at leqast some blame on the dude for bad things annoy the fuck out of me, and they seem to be breeding too.

I don’t think you can have it both ways…

Yer pal,

how do you distinguish what God did from what other people say God did?

i’m somewhat in the AHunter3 frame of mind. i just toss reincarnation onto the pile.

you’re stuck trying to sort out the bullsh!t other people think and say and write and try to shove down your throat.

heisneberg heretic, Dal Timgar

I’d have to agree with AHunter3. His view of things is backed-up by Jesus’s own words in the Sermon to the Multitudes.

Luke 13:

If you are walking along and a building falls on you and you die, that’s just the way things go (gravity being an unforgiving mistress). However, if you have repented (see the rest of the sermon for details) you don’t need to perish.

Are you kidding? Of course you can have it both ways. If God spares you, it is because you prayed and He found favor in you; This shows that God loves you. If God takes someone you love, it was their time and God has taken them to a better place; This shows that He loves them. As for God killing others, well, they were probably Godless heathens and deserved what they got; The fact that you were spared shows how much God loves you. :rolleyes:

There was a scene in Third Rock From the Sun, Tommy has joined the HS basketball team and it is the start of his first game. The coach is about to lead a prayer. Tommy interupts and asks if maybe God has more important things to concern Himself with that the outcome of a high school basketball game; the coach says no. The coach tries to start the prayer again. Tommy points across the court and asks what the other team is doing. The coach explains that they are having a prayer too. Tommy asks if his team’s God is more powerful that the other teams’. The coach says, no, there is only one God. Tommy asks if he is the only one who sees a conflict of interest. And yes, Tommy is the only one with a problem.

I think overall this is an interesting question to watch us try and answer. I find it very interesting to read these posts to see how many people who are trying to rely on reason solely attempt to understand the actions of God.

One problem that I do see with this reasoning is we all too often attribute our human qualities to the qualities of a being which is described as infinite. Of course, this is all we can do since, given the assumption of his existence, since we are finite creatures. I hear so often people mentioning things such as “If God created us for companionship”, or “If you were in God’s shoes…”. I do not think we will ever come to any real conclusions with this line of reasoning.

Rather, we have a question of why does God do the things he does? I think the Christian answer is very simple, yet hard to understand: out of Love. Christians would believe that God is Love which is not why we were created as humans, but how we were created. It is not why a person is spared from a disaster or not spared, it is what causes these events. We all too often say that an earthquake, sorrow, humiliation, and limitations in physical or mental abilities cannot be the result of an act of love, but these again are human standards.

I think the questions we are trying to answer will be impossible to answer without starting with simpler, more basic questions. A great place to start is whether or not a higher being even exists. From there, is it the Christian God, or another form?

Just as a mind exercise, try to imagine a world where life came about by pure chemical accident, and intelligence slowly emerged in one or more species.

This intelligent species tried to explain the world through many contradicting mythologies over the years. Some worshipped animals. Some worshipped the sun. Some worshipped a single god. Some worshipped many gods. Some worshipped ancestors.

Wouldn’t each one of these mythologies try to explain evil in terms of their own supernatural beliefs? Wouldn’t all of them be wrong, at least on a bare factual level (even though the beliefs may have been useful for the society)?

My point (in case you haven’t seen it walking down the street from ten miles away) is that the simplest explantion is that God allows these things because he doesn’t exist to prevent or cause them.

All my humble opinion, of course.

Whaddya mean, " he"?

So you are disagreeing that “many people of faith” find his and your views to be wrong? That “many people of faith” (including folks who don’t use the Bible for their faith) happen to think that God (or Gods) can have an active role on Earth? You disagree that many Christians even also have this view?

I don’t care what you personally think here. I commented simply that many people would disagree with AHunter3’s assessment of God’s ability and/or inclination to get involved in our lives, and you disagree with that?

Yer pal,

Satan – please note that I didn’t say I disagreed with you, only that I agreed with AHunter3.

Some may take the view that, to some extent, God=Nature, and therefore, as Jesus say in his other recorded sermon, the Sermon on the Mount:

But, again, the clear implication is that Nature acts in a completely morally neutral way.

Christians who disagree with this haven’t read Jesus’s core teachings.

Just for my money, given a choice between

(1) There is no god, or
(2) There is a god, but there are all these strange, mysterious, and convoluted excuses why s/he does or does not do certain things despite the teachings of his/her followers

… a simple application of Occam’s Razor would conclude that there is no god.

Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp?

To start with, two words, since I don’t want Gaudere to lose sleep waiting for them: mysterious ways.

In all seriousness, whenever one has a serious discussion on a topic of import, it’s important to get one’s definitions established up front. If two people are arguing about “the government” and one of them is thinking, “all those people that we the voters elect and the people they hire to do the jobs” and the other one is thinking “those power-mad bureaucrats and political fat cats who will do anything to perpetuate their power,” then the discussion is ruptured from the start. Certainly each, if open minded, will concede that the envisioning of the other might conceivably be valid, but before they get that far, they must realize that they are starting from variant presumptions as to what is being discussed.

Most arguments about God are like that. What do you mean by the term? The rather amorphous ultimate ground of all being? An impersonal Force (presumably guiding Luke Skywalker)? A loving Father figure? A petty tyrant who would have megalomania if it weren’t for the fact that “he’s entitled”? How does he affect the world? Through natural law? Miracles? Subtle interventions? Not at all? And what’s your source of knowledge about Him? How reliable is it? How much interpretation is allowable in understanding what it says?

Before you can decide if He’s to blame, you have to decide if He is, Who He is, and ** what He does and doesn’t do.

I have my opinions on these topics, of course, which regular readers are probably getting bored of my reiterating. But what needs to be said here is that we need to agree on what we’re arguing about before the argument becomes anything but keyboard masturbation, spewing our personal monologues into the ever-receptive servers of the Chicago Reader without a thought for whether “the opposition” might be framing the same thoughts in different concepts. I dunno how many times I’ve had to make clear that “being a Christian” does not mean blind faith in some tinpot tyrant that one extracts from the least thoughtful passages of the Old Testament and Paul, and thereby condemning the vast majority of humanity to eternal torment. (And, of course, the reverse is true: at least a dozen people have identified me as “somebody who doesn’t believe the Bible” because I don’t buy their interpretation of it verbatim.)

And my rector, a lady who is primary orthodox in her faith, would second what Egad said. Some years ago theologian and Bible scholar J.B. Phillips wrote a short book whose message was completely found in its title: Your God Is Too Small. And it’s true; no matter what your conception of God might be, it falls short of what He actually is. (Or She; while the conservative Christians among us may recoil at the idea, and God’s on record as preferring the masculine imagery of Father, He certainly is not limited to representation as one gender.)

I’d simply ask that anybody posting to this thread begin by a short summary of what they conceive God to be, before they begin arguing for or against Him. (Knowing that David B. will begin his post: “Nonexistent.”)

Because it is a false dichotomy. You should say instead:

(1) There is no god, or
(2) There is a god (or gods), but there are all these strange, mysterious, and convoluted excuses why s/he does or does not do certain things despite the teachings of his/her followers
(3) Hi Opal!
(4) or, there is a god (or gods), who doesn’t do these things purported to be done by the god/gods from point #2.

The Inivisble Pink Unicorn probably falls under #2. (If she doesn’t, that just makes me more right.) The Christian God falls under #4, although, of course, anyone can call themselves a Christian and yet claim to believe in a God of type #2, it is not the God described by Christ.

Good point, I really see God as not having a sex, so It then. Sort of a social brainwashing I guess.

Personally, I always liked the quote in Cross of Iron (the movie, not the book) where the protagonist says “God is a sadist and doesn’t even know it”. If you don’t accept that God is an infinite Being, then the assertion that He/She/It doesn’t even realize what is happening to those poor little carbon-based lifeforms living on Earth makes a certain kind of sense. If this less-than-infinite God created the Rules of the Universe which allowed for stuff like child prostitution, earthquakes, large celestrial objects obliterating innocent carbon-based lifeforms, Celine Dion, etc. etc. and didn’t realize what impact they would have down the line, then She/He/It would fit the bill as an ignorant sadist. Anyway, that’s just a thought exercise. I personally believe God created the world so we could learn from it (much as WhiteRaven stated) and lets face it, people don’t learn squat unless you smack them upside their collective heads early and often (and often not even then).

Sort of off-topic, but I wonder how you can use science to disprove the existence of God. To my understanding, our science cannot illuminate anything prior to the Big Bang (where the laws that science operates under came into being). Until science can do that, I’m not sure I buy into it trying to shed light on whether God exists or not. I’ve always thought science answered the question ‘How’ while religion answered the question ‘Why’. Anyway, my own religious ceremonies revolve primarily around singing old Lionel Ritchie songs at the top of my lungs in the shower every morning so I don’t have any emotional attachment to any of the dogmatic social institutions masquerading as religions these days. Doesn’t mean I dismiss what they’ve got to say though.

Even so, under Occam’s Razor, the simplest explaination is the most likely explaination. #1 is the simplest, so why don’t more people realize that it’s most likely explaination?

Again, how can you use science to prove or disprove the existence of God?