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Posts Tagged ‘theodicy’

I’m sure that, like me, you enjoy reading Billy Graham’s syndicated advice column, in which he explains things like why atheists draw so much attention, why god allows evil in the world, why god allows evil in the world, why god allows evil in the world, why god allows evil in the world, and why god allows evil in the world.

However, I also suspect that, like me, you’re getting frustrated that Reverend Graham never answers the questions that you dutifully send him several dozen times a day. As a stopgap solution, I threw together the Graham-o-matic 2000, an “artificial” “intelligence” that I “seeded” with decades of Graham’s writings.

After several hours of computation (and a disturbing amount of smoke emitted from the computer), the Graham-o-Matic produced the following all-purpose answer. I checked, and (if you just fill in a couple of blanks) it pretty much does provide a Grahamian solution to almost any theological quandary you might have.

(I asked it everything from “Why is it that all the literary agents rejected my book?” to “Why is it that the food truck is always sold out of enchiritos by the time I get there?” to “Why is it that people keep spitting at me when I tell them the name of my blog?” and got seemingly-authentic results each time.)

I hope you find it as useful as I do.

 
 


 
 

Q: Why is it that _______________________________________? This doesn’t seem fair. Why does God let this happen? – Y.R.I.F.

A: Your question isn’t new; centuries ago, one of the Hebrew prophets cried out, “Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?” (Habakkuk 1:13). We don’t always know why God allows things to happen; some day we’ll understand – but not yet.

But we do know this: We live in a world that has been torn and twisted by sin and evil. This present world isn’t the way God intended it to be; God meant for it to be a place of peace and joy. But human rebellion and greed took over, and all around us we see the results. And behind it all is the terrible reality of Satan, whom the Bible calls “your enemy” (1 Peter 5:8).

The ultimate answer is Jesus Christ, who came to defeat the powers of evil and Satan. What difference can He make? First, He gives us hope right now – hope that even in the midst of life’s worst trials and injustices, He is with us and will help us. No matter what happens, we are never alone if we know Christ.

But Christ also gives us hope for the future. Some day, this life will end – but if we know Christ, we know we’ll be with Him in heaven forever. Some day, the scales will be balanced … wrong will be judged … Satan will be defeated … and all evil will end. Don’t put your hope in the passing things of this flawed world, but put your faith in Christ and trust your life into His hands.

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Randal Rauser is an associate professor of historical theology at Taylor Seminary, Edmonton. One day he bought a Bible for his seven-year-old daughter, and was shocked — SHOCKED — to discover that it was full of god-mandated genocides:

The page with Deuteronomy 20 features a factoid bubble with a green parrot which informs me that Israelite men could be exempted from having to fight if they had been newly married, had recently built a home, or were just plain scared. That’s sort of interesting. But I know that my daughter will ask not about who didn’t have to fight, but rather why those who did fight killed babies and children. After looking through the slickly produced “Adventure Bible” I’m still waiting for an answer.

If only Randal knew some sort of “professor of theology” he could ask. I’m no theologian, but I can take a shot.

There are in fact several theories designed to explain how a “loving” god could countenance genocide. Here are a handful of the most popular:

  • At that point in time was still getting a feel for the job
  • Tired of getting shot down as “too benevolent” by women in bars
  • Developed insatiable blood-lust after drowning most of humanity
  • Insisted that mass-killings be done as “lovingly” as possible
  • “Wow, it took you until you were an adult force-feeding this garbage to your child for you to start asking questions like this?”
  • Influenced by popularity of movie All Genocidees Go To Heaven
  • Bible mistranslated; actually tried to stop genocide
  • Genocide was actually OK until Jesus came and changed the rules
  • Original version of commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” contained “just kidding!”
  • “Don’t ask so many questions, or we’ll genocide you too!”
  • Bible fiction; god imaginary; religion false

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