After almost a solid two months of non-activity, I thought that I'd get back into it with something controversial.
These are some question I have for my Christian friends that I have been toying with a for a little while now. Rather than ask people in person, which could pretty quickly become confrontational and awkward, I thought I'd post them on the internet where people are free to read them, think about them privately and then (only if they really want to) post an answer in the comments. I'm not asking these to be hostile, but rather because I am genuinely curious as to how you answer them to yourselves? I suspect, based largely on conversations with certain ex-girlfriends, that many people don't even think about them, push them aside with an off-hand "God works in mysterious ways." But here's hoping I get some genuine, thought-inspiring and passionate answers on how you reconcile your faith in God with my questions.
Or, more likely, hate mail.
Firstly, I want to talk about poverty. The number of people who live below the poverty line is simply astonishing, and I've already talked about the ease with which we could change this in an earlier post. There's no lack of resources, but there are still thousands upon thousands of children dying in horrific conditions day after day. Why does God allow this? I'm not talking about AIDS, which some have tried to argue is a punishment for promiscuity and homosexuality. I'm not talking about adults, who you could (if you really wanted to) say are being punished themselves for their sins, or even for their lack of faith. I'm talking about children, children who have never been given the opportunity to sin or to be saved, children who suffer hugely simply because of the conditions of their birth. And please, although I am genuinely interested in your views, do not dare to answer that these people suffer so that we in developed nations have the opportunity to be kind, or charitable, or to become better people. I don't like moderating comments, but I will not tolerate that unspeakable presumption on this site.
Second, I want to ask about Jesus. All mankind is tainted by sin, and it is only through Jesus that we can be saved from sin, correct? Then what about all those prophets and preachers and ordinary people throughout the Old Testament? None of them accepted Jesus; not because they rejected Him, but because He had not yet died for their sins. If they lived before Jesus then they could not have accepted Him, so surely they were not saved from their sins and they burn in hell with the rest of us.
That brings me to my last question. How does a loving God judge us? If He truly loves me, then why does He allow me to go to hell for not believing in Him? Surely that is not an action of love, but one of jealousy and craving; why would we worship the man who acts as judge, jury and executioner if his only condition for our innocence or guilt was our worship? Perhaps this sounds self-serving and defensive, but let me ask you this. If God made me, and God knows me, then He knows that the manner in which He made me means that based on all the evidence that He has so far presented me with in my life, I cannot believe in Him. It is not a question of choice; I am a rational person and based on what I perceive of the world I cannot reason the existence of God. He made me in this way, He showed me all the evidence that for me does not add up, so why does He punish me?
Please do answer any of the questions that you fee comfortable with in the comments below, Christian or otherwise. I would be very interested to see what my Muslim or Jewish friends have to weigh in on this, though my questions are very much aimed at the Christian conception of God. Keep it PG, try not to insult anyone unless it's really called for... and thank you :)