Guest Post by John
Depending on what religion you come from, and what flavor within that religion, this question can be confusing to answer. Each religion believes that God has a favorite group of people and most of the time, the followers of that religion happen to be in his favorite group. What a coincidence!
As far as the Christian God goes, there are many verses throughout the Bible that talk about God’s mercy, favor, protection, intervention, kindness, etc. But there are other verses that talk about His jealousy, wrath, sorrow, anger, etc. Like the time where He killed 99.9% of all humans and animals on the planet because He didn’t like the way the humans He made turned out. Or all the times He told the Israelites to kill whole groups of people because they didn’t believe in the right God. And there was that time where He killed all the firstborn sons in Egypt to soften the heart of Pharaoh, after He hardened his heart to start with.
I hear Christians talk about how God helped them find their lost keys, or get a good parking spot at the store. They (and I used to do the same!) talk about how God kept them or loved ones out of accidents, healed them of some illness (always curable), helped them get a raise at work, and other wonderful things. But at the same time, 25,000 people around the world die every day from hunger or hunger-related issues. Just a day ago, earthquakes in Turkey and Syria killed more than 20,000 people. Recently, a pastor and his staff were flying from Memphis to Texas and the plane crashed, killing the staff. Since April 1999, there have been 23 fatal Christian church shootings. I hear people all the time saying that issues in schools are because we “removed God” from our schools. Ok, what about all these church shootings? It reminds me of George Carlin’s talk about religion being bullshit. Here is a small segment from that routine: “So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit. Doesn’t give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.”
I’ve had a few instances where I narrowly escaped what probably would have been a bad event: a car accident that didn’t happen, a tornado that missed my house, a tree branch that fell and missed my car by inches. And in the past, I attributed these things to God watching out for me. But what about the countless Christians or Muslims or Hindus or whatever faith who weren’t so fortunate? Are they depending on the wrong God? Did they have a lapse in faith that took away the protection or favor of their God? Is their God testing them? Or, maybe their God doesn’t exist. Maybe no God exists? If there is a “God,” I tend to believe that it’s the type of God that Alan Watts and many others describe as, everything is a manifestation of God. This link explains it a bit: https://iawia.net/observations/god-playing-hide-and-seek/
But in my day-to-day life, I no longer believe that there is a God who cares about us. There is just too much evidence to the contrary. And people who try to explain away the mountains of evidence to the contrary have to go through so many mental gymnastics that it just gets silly. Good things happen. Bad things happen; often in seemingly unfair ways, and sometimes in what we would think of as fair ways. Karma; reaping what you sow — however you want to label it. Life happens. If we believe there is some sort of divine being who should be looking out for us and caring for us and doing things for us that we judge as good, life gets very confusing. I think if we can accept life as it is, the good and the bad, it takes a lot of the confusion, anger, and frustration out of life; not all of it, but a lot of it.
To clear up something that people might question, just because I no longer believe that there is a God who cares about us doesn’t mean I have a negative outlook on life. I actually have a better outlook on life now than I had when I was an Evangelical Christian. I like who I am and where I am in my beliefs about the world. I wasn’t able to say that as a Christian, for various reasons. It’s really nice and liberating to like who I am and who I am becoming.
I hope you and yours are doing as well as can be. Peace.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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