Why Doesn’t God . . . ?

 

Atheists and agnostics contended with my blog, which honored God for clearing the smoke from the forest fire when we prayed. They asked why this God is interested in the smoke, but doesn’t seem to care enough to end poverty, disease, and hunger. To some of the committed atheists who I hear from, it becomes one excuse to claim that God doesn’t exist.

Why Doesn't GodThere is a powerful concept that atheists have totally missed: God does care. Actually, God really showed that he cares and is doing something about the problems by stepping into His created world. Two thousand years ago was the start of an amazing movement which turned the way people saw and responded to the needs of other individuals upside down. This is when Jesus came to earth, announced the Kingdom of God, demonstrated it with power by healing thousands, restoring sight to the blind, making the lame to walk, and feeding thousands of people. Most importantly, he empowered those who believe in Him to do even greater things than He did. Even though the wickedness of this world nailed Jesus to a cross (another topic), His kingdom has been advancing throughout the world ever since– especially by those who are His followers.

Look around. You can see the results of God’s intervention which He started way back then. Keep in mind that God usually uses people to carry out his desires. Frequently people pray for God to help a need or a group of individuals. When they are done praying, sometimes they are left with the distinct impression or, even a stronger sense as if by an audible voice asking, “What about you? I’ve chosen you to be my instrument to bring that about.” Today, there are hundreds of thousands of non-governmental orphanages, medical clinics, food and clothing banks, housing projects, etc., which had their origins when Jesus’ followers prayed and then acted on His teaching to have an impact not only in people’s spiritual needs, but also in their physical needs – food, clothing, shelter, and health.

Yes, there are some groups led by those claiming to be atheists who have done something significant, although that number is a fraction of the multitude of Christian organizations and individuals who are actively providing for those important needs. To the confirmed atheist, the question is, “What are you doing personally about the poverty, disease, and hunger?” You do have a choice. You can choose to shake your fist at a God you may not believe in for not doing something (which is not true) or you can respond to His way of employing people to become part of the solution to the issues you see. By the way, you can do some great things, but I personally believe you can accomplish even more if you turn to Him and allow Him to empower you. I believe working alongside of a powerful God can get a whole lot more accomplished.

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

2 Comments on "Why Doesn’t God . . . ?"

  1. Gabe King says:

    Hi Dave,

    As one of the people that first commented on the original post (via twitter) I feel that I perhaps need to address this comment briefly also. Essentially, you have done little more than obfuscate on what is the core question – why did God single out your party to ‘clear smoke’ (a seemingly trivial matter in the scheme of things) yet refuses to deal with the poverty, pain and injustice that we all see in our world? I know many as sincere in their belief in Jesus as you, yet they still remain afflicted with much suffering despite the ‘power of prayer’ and a strong, passionate belief – I am supposed to believe that God looks more favourably upon your party for a particular reason? or does he only answer certain prayers for certain people for certain reasons?

    Prayer is repeatedly reiterated in the bible (as you’d well know) as a way to gain not only eternal salvation but also benefit in this life. This is well highlighted in the website http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com – “No matter how many people pray. No matter how sincere those people are. No matter how much they believe. No matter how devout and deserving the recipient. Nothing will happen. The legs will not regenerate. Prayer does not restore the severed limbs of amputees. You can electronically search through all the medical journals ever written — there is no documented case of an amputated leg being restored spontaneously. And we know that God ignores the prayers of amputees through our own observations of the world around us. If God were answering the prayers of amputees to regenerate their lost limbs, we would be seeing amputated legs growing back every day”

    Presumably in your concept of God he/she/it is an omnipotent being – therefore he is either selectively omnibenevolent, lazy or just downright cruel to offer so much pain and suffering to so many. If he is not omnipotent then that brings into question a host of other Biblical issues and conundrums and still leaves our question unanswered as you claim that he was able to answer your prayers but not those of others.

    Your argument then switches to the good works that people do (both Christian and other) and seemingly seek to (disingenuously in my opinion) quantify these good deeds pitting believer against non-believer in some sort of competition. Furthermore, these comments are not based on evidence they are simply something you believe to be true in an effort, I would suggest, to discredit those of a dissenting opinion (if I’m wrong on this and you can show that proportionally Christians do more for peoples physical needs than Agnostics/Atheists/Other Religions please do so). I also find this argument again off topic as the reality remains that if God does exist then the misery and inequality is a direct result of his actions and the good deeds would not be needed in the first place if he chose to structure things differently.

    The only two things missing in your argument seem to be the other ‘get out’ clauses frequently cited. Firstly, that ‘sin’ was introduced by humans into the world (Eve) and the problems of our current world began. Despite the sacrifice of Jesus and the absolution of our sins (provided we believe of course) this sin persists (and depending on which sect, Satan obviously has a role to play here). This again brings us back to the omnipotence of God interspersed with the ideas of free will – in the context of this post, as we are all sinners (from birth apparently) are your parties sins less than a starving Child in Sub-saharan Africa? Is this why God answers your prayers?

    The other great equivocation usually levelled here is that as Humans we cannot know or understand (nor question) Gods plan/will. Which in other words equates to life ain’t fair and God has his own reason for this – of course if God does exist then this may well be true, however it does not provide a satisfying explanation for the suffering/inequality, it simply JUST IS. In which case then you seem to value your own experience (clearing of smoke through prayer) over those of an afflicted individual – if we cannot know Gods intention/plan/methods then you have anthropomorphised him and his actions to suit your own experience in essence valuing clear skies over those in need.

    My final point is again rather telling. In your final paragraph you as a question of atheists – ‘What are you doing personally…’ I find this rather insulting as it is a question for all of humanity not just a particular group of people. It also makes an invalid assumption that Atheists for some reason are less driven to aide those in need. This question is one that I personally know drives both believers and non-believers alike and I find it perplexing that you have decided to direct this at a particular group – again this alludes to prejudice.

    You should always be free to worship the deity of your choosing and I’m happy for you if you feel as though it enriches your life in some way, but suggesting that God divinely answers your prayers (and seemingly prioritises them over others) to ‘clear smoke’ to me shows a great deal of hubris. Not only that but it really leaves the original fundamental question unanswered. –> Why if there is a God did he choose your payers over another???

    Thanks for your time,

    Gabe

    • Thanks for the comments Gabe. Dave is out of town and will respond when he returns. Some comments you made reminded me of an article I had read recently and thought I would send it on for you to look at, it addresses some problems with your argument – bit.ly/1453CPo -written by @BrettKunkle. I prefer to let the speakers reply to their own comments, but thought I would send on some info in the interim. Thanks again.

      Scott

Got something to say? Go for it!