I know it is hard to reconcile: horrific violence with a peaceful, loving God who created us in his image.
Mass shootings and suicide bombings in the world he created? That doesn’t sound like a peaceful and loving God to me!
Where was God at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook…
A person who commits a mass shooting, is he doing that by God’s will or predestination or is he doing that with his own free will?
If we believe that humans have free will then why do we blame God for their actions? We blame him because we think that a loving God and human suffering are mutually exclusive. We want God to intervene to stop people from committing sins.
God does not micromanage our actions because he has given us freewill so that we make our own choices and learn from our mistakes which helps us grow. This does not challenge God’s omniscience. He knows everything because he has access to all sorts of information. If I like Margot Robbie (and I do!), my brain will release chemicals everytime I see or think about her and that will give me immense pleasure and a euphoric sense of purpose. Experts say that romantic love is a very powerful addiction. Now God can see that and he can make a very good guess based on all the information that is available to him but it is still a guess. The fact that he knows I love Margot doesn’t mean that he has predestined me to fall in love with her (although it’d be great if Margot Robbie was predestined to fall in love with me!).
You may then ask that I don’t want God controlling every facet of our lives but why did God not intervene to prevent the killing of tens of wholly innocent children in a school? Why is he not intervening to help those who cannot protect themselves? Is he a loving and caring God or does he get off on their miseries.
Essentially you are asking for a miracle. He has the power to create miracles and I don’t know why he did not intervene. I do know this though that miracles are extremely rare so instead of asking to be one in a million your energies are better spent doing something that is completely under your control like taking your mind off things that stress you and invest your time in cultivating a better understanding of how God’s system of governance works.
For people who cannot move beyond the question of why God did not intervene, I say to them that millions before them have spent a lot of time trying to figure it out without accomplishing much. So accept that it is what it is, that this question will only create more stress in your life. Try to put your mind to something beneficial.
We have two laws in effect. First is cause and effect. A person falls sick if they do not protect themselves against infections. Infant mortality rates have gone down dramatically because of immunization programs but people who had no knowledge of how these children were dying attributed it to an act of God.
32% of people in America believe that there is no point in planning their lives because ultimately their fate is controlled by God and over 60% of people believe that God has set the trajectory of their lives. That kind of thinking is rooted in the belief that God controls everything. That is true but not for the reasons you think it is true. If we save a person from dying that does not mean that we have challenged or altered God’s will, but that we are working within it. It is God who has set into operation the law of cause and effect. That is why, Tony Robbins, a top psychologist and motivational speaker, says that our destiny is shaped in our moments of decision.
The second law is the moral law. We commit injustice and we suffer because of it. During Exodus, divine intervention took away the first born sons of Egypt which was a culmination of God’s wrath for centuries of abuse by the Egyptians on the Israelites.
What about people who suffer from a genetic disease through no fault of their own or children whose parents abuse them. Why did God allow that to happen?
If your parents did something to you, is that God’s fault or it is that they abused their freedom to treat you unfairly? Or if you are suffering from a genetically transmitted disease, is that God’s fault or it is that your parents gave birth to you despite knowing that there is a high risk of the disease? In many Muslim and Jewish communities, people marry their cousins and completely ignore decades of medical advice that such marriages lead to severe deformities in their children. That is what verse 20:5 of Exodus is telling us that choices of parents carry repercussions for their children like kids who had abnormalities present from birth and they will have to live with them for the rest of their lives.
“You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”American King James Version
When we face a calamity, we fight with God for allowing bad things to happen. Two thirds of people surveyed in the U.S. admit that they are angry at God for their current sufferings like a cancer diagnosis.
We get mad at God for the same reason we get mad at people: we did not get what we want and it is somebody else’s fault. Researchers found that young people hate God the most for reasons that include rejection from preferred colleges and sports injuries preventing high schoolers from competing.
When we allow anger to fester within us that is extremely detrimental, both socially and physically. Cancer survivors, for example, interviewed once and then again a year later, those who had a chaotic relationship with God at both times had the worst mental and physical health.
We can work things out with fellow human beings but how do you convince God to compromise and change his hurtful ways? That is why it is imperative that we work on our relationship with God and phrase it in ways that it doesn’t affect our mental health anymore.
Surveys have found that prayers are a highly endorsed strategy for mitigating conflicts with God. The prophet of Islam said that a prayer meets with a calamity and fights with it until the Day of Judgement. It is also highly recommended that we talk with someone about our relationship with God.
You guys should know that I am not doing this because I am religious. I am not. I am a complete degenerate! The last time I went into a church was to meet a girl.
I am doing this because I believe that God is central to our lives and prosperity and so having a better relationship with him will only improve our lives. Whether people believe in his existence or not, they will have a relationship with him regardless. In studies, atheists and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers.
Children who were born to abusive parents but in a household that believed in God were able to work through some of their pain by blaming it on God. In other words, they took their pain and gave it to someone who could handle it. Psychologists looked at children who grew up in abusive households that did not believe in the existence of God and for those children the pain was far more detrimental because they had no avenue where they could vent it out. I am not saying that God was to blame for their pain, it was their parents who abused their freewill, but that God has a very major part in our lives and this has nothing to do with piety. He created us and he also created a system where even the most vulnerable and defenseless will survive.
Going back to the law of cause and effect, I want you to know that God protects us in many ways throughout our lives. We have all had experiences where our lives were saved or we did not hurt ourselves because we got “lucky.” Was that luck or was a force looking after us?
In the Muslim holy book, God says that if He “were to punish people according to what they deserve, He would not leave on the back of the (earth) a single living creature…”
You may then ask what about the times you did get hurt. How come God was not looking after me then? Be thankful for the times he did help you and keep praying that he continues to keep you safe. I’ll also say that my piece is not the final word on the subject but a small contribution in this emerging field of inquiry.
I believe that this field of study needs urgent intellectual revival. We don’t understand how God works and that is why we end up wasting a lot of our time fighting with him and in most cases fighting among us.
Muslims are notorious in using God to cover their mistakes. In 2015, a crain collapsed in the Muslim holy mosque killing over 100 people and injuring several hundred more. The Saudi Binladen group, the contractor operating the crane, had a very convenient way out. They told the press that this was an act of God. But Saudi investigators soon concluded that the company was responsible because it violated crane operating instructions and safety protocols.
No surprise that Osama Binladen belonged to the family that owns Saudi Binladen group. Blaming God’s will is an easy cover for intellectual laziness, failure to plan and irresponsibility. We blame God for our failures but we never hesitate in taking pride in our successes.