God's silence revisited

Back in October, I posted an article about God's silence. I want to revisit the subject, because I think it's a badly misunderstood topic for most modern western Christians. Here's some of what I wrote originally:

"Where is God? I mean, if God is everywhere, as theologians teach, and if God loves me deeply and wants a relationship of intimacy with me, as theologians also teach, where is he? I talk, talk, talk to him, and he is ... where? He says nothing. The conversation is decidedly one-sided."

"How do I deal with God's silence, his seeming absence? It's clear that he is often silent, though he has shown himself quite capable of conversation. David the Psalmist wrote of God withdrawing his presence (Psalm 51:11 and others), and cried out in anguish over it. Abraham, according to the biblical account, apparently went many years without a word from God, though he was asked to do some highly irregular things. Through history, Christian mystics have written of God's tendency to "withdraw himself" from us. St. John of the Cross wrote of the "dark night of the soul." Back in the 1970s, Christians used to talk about the "wilderness experience," a time - sometimes years - marked by God's apparent absence.

"As I write this, I confess to being depressed and discouraged. I have cried out to God, seeking his voice both in direction and reassurance that I have heard him, that I am in the place he has prepared for me, that I have significance and can look forward to a future with him.

"Silence.

"Why? Would it hurt God to let me in on what's going on in my life? It only seems fair, since I am, after all, the one who's living it. Perhaps it would be easier if it made some sense to me.

"...God has a long history of letting people wait without his evident presence. ...God has said some important things: that he will never leave us, never forsake us, and more. ...People through history have written of times in the wilderness as times of deepening and growth. The wilderness can kill us. But it can also focus us and heighten our senses. The choice is ours. We can panic and run -- likely to our death -- or we can wait calmly for God's purpose to be complete, when we once again move on, but at a deeper and more intimate level. ...God never really goes away. A fundamental principle of theology is that God is everywhere present. He is there with us, whether we can sense his presence or not."

Now, an update:

I have found the responses I have received, online and off, interesting. However, they have been more interesting than encouraging.

Most seem to assume that God is ever present, that if we are unaware of his presence, there is some fault in us, etc. Theologically, it's true that God promises never to leave us. We can and should have certainty in our faith and relationship with him.

However...

There are many through history -- including the biblical psalmist -- who have cried out in anguish over God's silence, and his removal of his apparent presence from us. Some have called it "the dark night of the soul." It exists, and it is not necessarily the result of sin in someone's life.

Some psalms reflect this:

This You have seen, O LORD; Do not keep silence. O Lord, do not be far from me (Psalm 35:22).

God, create in me a clean heart, renew within me a resolute spirit, do not thrust me away from your presence, do not take away from me your spirit of holiness. Give me back the joy of your salvation, sustain in me a generous spirit (Psalm 51:10-12).

So the question, I think, is why? Why would God go silent?

Could it be that we might know him more deeply, more profoundly? We are beings who love superficiality. It's easy. It's uncomplicated. But God is not superficial, and seeks something far deeper than that for us. And so he becomes silent, seemingly withdrawing from us, and lets us realize something of our need for him.

We are not required to endure these times, however. The choice is ours. But the alternative is superficiality.

43 Comments

First off, thanks for your post - for your honesty. I look forward to reading more of what you have written and will write.

I'd like to offer my perspective on this issue - as one who has felt the absence and silence that you and others describe.

Is God really being silent? God has, after all, spoken, has He not? We hold in our hands and iPods and Kindles the Word that God has spoken into human space and time in language that we can understand and hear over and over and over
again, any time we open up the Bible. How can we say God is silent - ever - when we have unprecedented access to His Word in more formats than any people in history?

The assumption that God is ever silent seems to bely an underlying assumption that the Word of God spoken in our hearts through the Holy Spirit is somehow superior, or more desirable, than the Word of God that God Himself saw fit to
inspire men of faith to record. God worked to ensure that His Word would be maintained and available. We *have* His Word. Is that Word not for us? Is that Word not relevant to us? Not enough for us? Why are we seeking some sort of
personalized, emotionalized spiritual Word from God? What more could He possibly say to us? What more could He possibly need to communicate to us?

I know this probably isn't the intent, but to wonder at God's silence seems to me to strike at the value - the supreme value - of the Word of God made flesh, and the Word already spoken and preserved to and through others. It assumes that if God is not directly speaking to me about my specific situation and issues, God is being silent, when in fact God has never quit speaking. It also assumes that
whatever God says in the Bible does not directly assist or deal with or speak to whatever I'm suffering at the moment.

But is there anything that I could possibly suffer, that God has not addressed in Scripture? Not in terms of a solution or a how-to style approach that we've become so conditioned to expecting, but in the overarching reminder of God's love, God's provision, God's creation of us for this time and this moment, of God's sacrifice for us? Is there any situation in my life or any other person's life that God has not provided the total and complete response to already in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

We go through times when we don't *feel* the love, so to speak, when we enter the wilderness or God seems to have withdrawn. But Jesus - alone of all living human beings - knows what the complete and total absence of God feels like, as He hung on the cross, dying. That is the penalty we rightfully deserve, to have God completely turn away from our rebellious and disgusting sinfulness. But God has
promised never to do that. Jesus promised His followers He would be with them to the ends of the age. Do we take Him at His Word? Do we take Him *in* His Word?

God has never quit speaking. Through the Word in Scripture. Through the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ. What more can we possibly expect or want from God? What more is necessary, than to know that He loves us enough to sacrifice His own beloved Son? What more assurance do we need of this than the empty tomb? And if we truly recognize the life changing and life-transforming power of the Word made flesh, how can we ever accuse God of not being there for us because He isn't providing us with the emotional lift that we'd like in dealing with whatever situation(s) we find ourselves in?

Yes we suffer, yes we feel distance, yes we long for that closeness to our Creator Father that is hard-wired into us. These are all good and healthy things. But we need to be careful in assuming that God has not, is not, or will not speak directly to us through His Word in Scripture, which is ultimately a testimony to the Word made flesh.

Hope this is helpful, or at least good in prompting further dialogue and discussion.


Paul,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I generally agree with you. And I certainly agree on a very high view of scripture. One thing, however: If we put this in the perspective of a relationship -- which is, of course, what it's all about -- and, let's say, I have a vast collection of the writings of a young woman in whom I am very interested. She has written about an array of topics, including, it seems, me. I can study them carefully -- certainly will -- and I will in the end know a great deal about her. I might even say I know her.

Yet, nothing in that could possibly compare with hearing her voice speaking to me, with face-to-face conversation.

God goes to great length, certainly, to bring to us the Bible, the primary source of revelation of who he is. And yet, the purpose of all that trouble, I think, was so that we might know him, that we might hear his voice, even listen to the beat of his heart. Like Jacob, I want to say "I have seen God face to face." I want more than to read about him in a book, no matter how wonderful that book.

Hi Larry - good to hear back from you.

Your analogy is interesting, but it doesn't strike me as a very close analogy to what we're dealing with in our relationship with God. However, it's easy for us to think of our relationship with God in terms of our experiences in human relations. This can be done to a certain extent, and God Himself uses the terminology of human relationships (Father, Lord, etc.) at times. But strictly speaking, as
pertains to your original topic, I think the analogy breaks down.

Humanly speaking, the girl that you're interested is probably very different from the girl-she-was-when-she-wrote-whatever-materials-of-hers-you've-got. In other words, while the writings of that girl when she was younger might be interesting, they certainly can't compare with what you would hear from her right now. She didn't know you when she wrote those things. They don't probably speak to her relationship with you here and now. Therefore, you want and need more current input from her. She's grown and matured and experienced some aspect of life. She has changed, and thus her communication - both in content and ability -
changes.

The same doesn't hold true of God.

I love my wife. I love our conversations, and how she says she loves me. But if she were struck mute tomorrow, while I'd deeply long to hear her voice and her words of love, I know that her words of love from the past would be enough.
They'd have to be. For couples where one has been lost to dementia or Alzheimers, the other spouse has to rely on the storehouse of memories and conversations in the past to help them whether the very real difficulties of caring for their spouse now. Imperfect analogies as well, but perhaps helpful.

Secondly, we're not talking about just any book here. We're talking about the Word of God. Period. He's planned out what He wants to tell us. About Himself. About us. About our relationship with Him. How we got here. Where we're
headed. What our options are. How deeply and insanely He loves us. Has He told us everything that we'd like to know about Him? Nope. Has He told us everything that we'd like to know about ourselves? Nope.

But He's given us what we need. Not what all that we'd like, not all that we want to be sure, but what we need. Romans 5:1-11 seems pretty instructive towards this end. We need to recondition ourselves as to what it is that we want from God. Yes, Scripture describes some amazingly personal relationships between God and human beings. But consider all of the people that existed at the time each of these people did. Did God have identical relationships with each of them? Doesn't appear that He did. And yet they were still His people, right? He still loved them? Was still in a relationship with them?

Paul was given a glimpse of our resurrected Lord, but others were not. Were those others loved any less? No. There was a purpose to that sort of unique, additional revelation to Paul. I tend to think that perhaps that's how God works.
If we're looking for an emotional fix to make us feel special and warm and fuzzy, we need to take a long hard look at Scripture and ourselves and know that feelings aren't what matters. If God has something to say to us, He'll do so. Maybe it will be wonderful and warm and fuzzy. Maybe it will be rather imposing and frightening. But it will be at God's will & discretion, and for God's purpose, not ours.

Scripture has given us all we need to know God, and to sustain ourselves through our lives. Would we like more? Sure. Are there times when we think that there *is* more? Possibly. Can we distinguish between the emotional state of feeling at peace with God, and God talking to us somehow through His Spirit? I think these two things tend to get confused quickly. *Can* God speak to us more personally, of course, and I have no doubt that He does - at His discretion and for His purposes, not simply to make us feel happier.

Yes, the Bible leads us to want to know God, but more than that, makes it *possible* to know God to the extent that He has revealed Himself. It *IS* His voice, and to echo your words, it IS, in a very real sense, the beating of His
heart, because it reveals His heart. We can want a great many things - but it remains exactly that, wanting. And wanting doesn't seem to make sense in light of the peace of God which is supposed to suffuse our lives through the forgiveness we receive by God's grace through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's what I try to remind myself when I want more than what I've been given. At least for me, it's helpful.

Blessings!


Paul,

Sorry for the delay. Been a hectic few days, compounded by severe allergies. Argh!

I agree that my analogy falls short, but I think it still has value, because the central point is that we’re talking about relationships between persons: human persons on one side and divine persons on the other. And both act in very similar ways in relationships. The difference in this case is one of degree, not of kind. (God is certainly different in kind in who he is, but not necessarily in how he acts.)

I am convinced that central to any relationship is communication. And the more intimate the relationship, the more personal and in-depth the communication must be over time.

And you are correct about the Bible being the word of God. It reliably reveals God to us, but I don’t see anything that would suggest that God only speaks to us through the written word. In the New Testament, especially, there is much
evidence of God speaking to his people through the Holy Spirit. And I haven’t seen a convincing argument that has changed.

I am puzzled by your statement that “we need to recondition ourselves as to what it is that we want from God.” I think if that’s true, it’s primarily because we generally want too little from God, or we want the wrong things. But if the longing of our heart is to intimately know him, to be closer to him, why should anyone want to “recondition” from that?

This isn’t a matter of emotion, but as a central longing of the heart. I think the psalmist understood when he said his heart longed for God as the deer panted for water.

You make a point that God has not had identical relationships with all people. I think that’s a given, but the wrong question. Was it God’s desire that all people have a relationship that was transparent, intimate, and passionate? Seems like it must have been. The fact that most fall short has no bearing on the intent.

Touching once more on the emotion thing: I have heard too often statements – often derisive – about “emotional” aspects of faith, and I think the criticism is based on incorrect assumptions. First, I don’t need emotion or warm fuzzy feelings in my relationship with God or anyone else.

Loving God is not evidenced by feelings, but by obedience. As I obey what I know of him and his will, he reveals more of himself to me. And in that sort of a dance together of revelation and obedience, of him leading and me following, the relationship grows to one of deep love and intimacy. And with that, it’s not unreasonable to expect some emotion. It’s a sad “loving relationship” that brings forth no emotion.

Nor is it reasonable to expect that one in love would not long for the pleasure and presence of the lover. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 27:4, which expresses something that I think is a deep love for God, and which certainly must have included some emotion on the part of the psalmist.

An emotion-based faith is neither mature nor biblical. An emotionless faith isn’t, either.

Your say that God can speak to us personally, but that he does not do so simply to make us happier. Again, I agree. However, that’s not to say that I am not happier when God speaks to me. How could I not be?

I hope and pray that I will always want more than I have been given. I want to die being greedy to know more of God. I want to hear his voice. I want more because I know there is far more than I now have, and I want “as much of God” as
I can have. How could it be otherwise?

Thanks again for the continued dialog. You cleared up a few fuzzy areas for me in terms of what you were driving at initially, and that's helpful.

We agree that communication in a relationship is necessary, or else we can't really say (or know) that we have a relationship. We agree that human-to-human relationships require certain forms of cultural-dictated (often) communication. When our relationships fall outside those norms, we seek counseling or some other assistance to help us understand why we - or the other person - are not communicating in ways that we expect or have already experienced.

I'm not attempting to argue that the Holy Spirit can't and doesn't still work in ways other than through Scripture. I don't hold water with those who want to issue an edict which says that God has ceased to act as He did in the time of Scripture - both Old and New. God does what He wants. However, anything in terms of personal revelation or experience needs to be vetted against the normative
statement of Scripture. Scripture remains reliable. Individuals are subject to error, to being fooled, and to mistaking their own thoughts for the voice of the Holy
Spirit. Praise God whenever He moves and acts and speaks - we just need to be careful how much we rely on that rather than (or opposed to) His Word in Scripture.

We definitely need to recondition ourselves, but on His terms, not our own. Culturally we're conditioned to need and want and demand certain things from others that satisfy us. We're a me-oriented culture. Scripture tells us that this is the hallmark of our brokenness and sin. So if I decide that God ought to communicate to me in a certain way, or so that I feel a certain way or receive His communication in a certain way, I'm on slippery theological ground.

I hear that danger in your paragraph starting with "You make a point that God has not had identical relationships with all people." It's the final sentence there that really strikes me as dangerous. It seems to suggest that if only we do or be the right things or person, God will respond to us the way He did with Moses. Or David. Or Samuel. Or Paul. The danger is in doubting our worthiness (in Christ
of course, not on our own merit!) because God doesn't fulfill our subjective desire for a particular type of communication. The danger is in moving from God choosing when and how He reveals Himself - and to whom, and moving into the realm of judgment. 'Those folks who don't experience a particular sort of relationship with God are somehow at fault, somehow to blame for this.' While that
may be true in particular situations, it's a very damaging maxim.

God promises us that in through His Word, through the water of baptism mingled with the Word of God, through receiving the body and blood of His Son, we have the proper relationship with Him. A relationship where God acts, and we receive. Where God initiates because we can't. A relationship where we contribute nothing to the equation, other than our non-refusal of His offer.

We can do things that make us more aware of this, and deepen our receptivity to them. Daily prayer. Daily reading of Scripture. Regular gatherings with other believers. But if we're doing these things, and God still isn't speaking to us
in the way that we'd like Him to, I'm loathe to issue the judgment that says 'we just aren't doing enough'.

Scripture indicates repeatedly that God chooses certain people to have an apparently unique relationship. Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus (duh!), Paul, Peter, James, John, etc. Throughout the revelation of Scripture, God has picked and chosen certain individuals to engage in relationships with that were deeper than He appears to have entered into with others. Aside from Noah, who we are told specifically was righteous, and Jesus, who was the Logos incarnate, God didn't choose these people because they 'made the grade'. Abraham seems to have been a random Aramean worshiping other gods. Moses was a hot-headed outcast guilty of murder. Paul persecuted and imprisoned the faithful. Peter denied Jesus 3 times.

The point of Scripture is that we all fall short. Always. And so to place the onus of the proper relationship or communication from God on our shoulders is never going to work.

I agree - to talk about emotionless faith is a bad thing. It's just as dangerous as those who place their faith on their feelings. I didn't mean to rule out the role of
emotion, but in my experience, those 'wilderness' times are often defined by the lack of certain 'spiritual emotions'.

You're dead on with the obedience and love thing. I just tend to think that supports my approach on this issue ;-) I am to be obedient, to love God, to give Him all I am capable of. I am not here to make demands on God, or to worry
unnecessarily if He chooses to make Himself seem closer to me or not. Luke 17:10 "...We are unworthy servants. We have only done our duty."

And yes, we groan in anticipation with all of creation for the revelation of the sons and daughters of God. We can hunger, but remain aware that we are offered all we need to survive - if not all that we would like to sate our appetites - in the Word and body and blood of our Savior. We can hunger, but when we allow that hunger to begin to act as law against ourselves, attempting to condemn us and drive
us to ever more intense efforts to prove our worthiness, we err. When we judge others who describe these wilderness experiences as somehow not being the children of Christ that they are supposed to be, we err. We should, as Paul
asserts, rejoice in God. Rejoice even in our sufferings, knowing that those sufferings are opportunities for the Holy Spirit to continue His sanctifying work of shaping us closer and closer to the people we'll be for all eternity.

I pray your allergies are feeling better, and hopefully we're not beating a dead horse. I always enjoy trying to understand how others come at something, and I appreciate your time.

Romans 1:17
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
If i can see God or talk to Him as i do with my friends then " Faith" doesn't come in the picture... just my humble view.

Singsit,

Thanks for your comment. Let me ask: Do you pray? Isn't that talking to God? And didn't Abraham and Moses talk with God as to a friend? I don't follow your reasoning.

Paul,

Thanks again for your comments. These sorts of exchanges are good for thinking carefully and clarifying one’s thoughts.

First, I’m glad you agree that God still speaks through the Spirit, and I certainly agree that everything is measured against scripture. Too often folks get it backwards, and “God told me” becomes a means of avoiding accountability for one’s whims. (In fact, I’m of the opinion that a lot is blamed on God that he had nothing to do with.)

I also agree that we’re self-oriented and radically individualistic. And, sadly, that applies as much to the church as to the culture. My focus is not primarily for me or on me, but to understand what is God’s purpose – mission Dei – and what that requires in and of me. That understanding can come only from scripture, as revealed by the Spirit.

When I say I expect God to communicate with me, it’s not so that I can have some “experience” with God, or that I can be in some way special. I simply want to know God, to know him in an intimate, conversational relationship, and I want that because I believe that’s what scripture paints as the desire of God’s heart as well.

Do I expect God to communicate with me in certain ways? Well, to a point, I do. I expect him to treat me the same way he has treated others in scripture and since, through the ages. I want to know his presence, to “hear” his voice. I believe that’s the norm, a level of intimacy and transparency that I see in Abraham, Moses, David and others. And I want it. I don’t believe God plays favorites, and I want the absolute best anyone has ever had in a relationship with God. And I don’t apologize for the fact that my heart is God’s and I won’t be easily satisfied until I sit in his temple, enjoying the beauty of his presence.

Responding you your comment about my worthiness, I have to say that I am utterly unworthy. McDonald’s had it wrong: We do not deserve a break today. We deserve precisely the opposite. And any gift or talent or anything else that I might enjoy is a manifestation of God’s grace toward me, and nothing else. Nobody is worthy.

Also, I don’t think it’s a matter of “doing enough.” While there are some things that may encourage spiritual growth, God is more concerned with our heart, not our activities. There are many possible reasons for God’s “silence,” and few have to do with our activities.

So, enough ranting for today.

Hi Larry - I trust your allergies are a bit better by now?

I think we're on pretty much the same page overall. However, I would beg to differ about God playing favorites. God very clearly *does* play favorites, and this is one of the most difficult things for theologians to say about God, while at the same time maintaining what He has said about His ultimate desire that all would be saved (Ezekiel 33:10-11 is a pretty darn clear refutation of double predestinationism, as near as I can tell!).

I think we struggle with this because as sinful, we can't distinguish between creating things for different purposes, and assigning value judgments based on those purposes.

We assume that if purposes are different, then one must be better than the other. Man and woman are created identical in value and worth in the eyes of God, equal in God's love, but different in form, function, and purpose - and in our sinfulness we decide that man's function and purpose is better qualitatively than woman's. Now woman chooses to measure her worth based on whether - or how well - she does what a man does, as opposed to what a woman does. That's a whole different can of worms that we don't need to get into here - but hopefully it's illustrative.

So God creates different people for different purposes. From our sinful perspectives, it looks as though God plays favorites. This is called - among other names - the scandal of particularity, and the Bible is chock full of it. How
could God pick Abram and not everyone? How could God create a chosen people out of all the people's on earth? How could God ordain that proper worship had to take place in a single place, rather than anywhere? How could Jesus become a male human being at a particular time and place in the world?

Throughout the Bible, we see God playing favorites, and it irks us.

Romans 9:21 has always been helpful for me in this regard (though it does seem to offer a support - on the surface - for double predestinationism). Or how about Deuteronomy 34, and the closing verses of that chapter which talk about the
uniqueness of Moses' relationship with God, or about the unique ministry that Moses was called to?

God calls us to fellowship with Him, and I completely empathize with the desire to know God and have the sort of relationship with Him that Moses and Elijah and David and Jesus and Peter and Paul and others in the Bible had. But it's also clear that God chooses who He does and does not have that sort of relationship with. It would be a mistake to say that God has decided to have the exact same form and function of relationship with every believer in this world/life. It would also be a mistake to judge our relationship with God based on someone else's relationship with God. God doesn't love me any less than the heros of
the Bible, but He certainly is free to love me differently.

I want to know God as deeply as possible. I would love the type of relationship with Him that is described of Moses or David or Abraham. But, till now, while I see God's hand clearly at work in my life, I haven't had that sort of intimate face-to-face relationship I see described for a very few people in Scripture. And I'm ok with that. Not that I wouldn't like more, but what I have is good, and I trust God's judgment. I trust that if He doesn't choose to reveal Himself to me as He did to Moses or Abraham or David or Elijah, that it's fine. That He still sustains me moment to moment, and that I shouldn't despair, shouldn't seek to
'earn' that kind of relationship with God, and should be faithful in what I've been called to do in my life. I need to seek His peace, trusting that it will be more than
enough, even if it's not what I'd like it to be.

Peace...

You all seem to have missed the most obvious answer: God is silent because HE'S NOT THERE!

If he didn't show up while Hitler was gassing 12 million people, he's never going to show up. No god of love could stand by and watch as an evil man killed so many innocents.

Jerry,

Thanks for your comment. The issue you raise is not new, and has been around for a long while. But let me ask you a question: What do you think a loving God should have done? Putting it another way, if you were God, would you have done?

Jerry...

Man can be pretty awful, can't he? But you're determining how an infinite and eternal God should act based on the reasoning and vision of a finite creature. To you and I, it seems as though God should have prevented - and should continue to prevent - any sort of atrocity. But then we get into a bit of an issue of definitions.

How atrocious an event must something be for God to intervene and prevent it? 12 million people? What about 6 million people? What about only 100,000? What about only 100? 10? 1? Does someone actually have to die for something to be considered an atrocity? What about the current economic meltdown - is that an atrocity that God should prevent? What about individual job losses and
layoffs?

Does something have to happen to someone out of their control for it to be an atrocity? Isn't someone wasting their life on heroin an atrocity? How about a girl selling her body for sex to bring home money to buy food for her siblings because mom is strung out on heroin? What about someone who goes skiing and breaks their leg - isn't that something God ought to prevent?

In other words, how do *you* define and determine what God should or shouldn't intervene in? The Bible makes it clear that God can and does intervene as He sees fit. But the Bible also makes it clear that we're not in a position to
demand that He do anything - because we don't have adequate perspective. The last chapters of the book of Job in the Old Testament of the Bible are pretty clear about this.

If God is someone that we can boss around and hold accountable to our changing definitions of right and wrong and atrocious, then He's not much of a God, is He?

But on the other hand, a God that acts totally and completely in secrecy, in ways that we can't ever know isn't really a God we can worship, is He? A God who acts
capriciously or on a whim - how could we ever truly love a God like that? So if God isn't going to tell me everything, in order for me to love Him, He ought to tell me
*something*. And the God of the Bible has told us some things about Himself and how much He loves us, how much He detests the sin and hatred that make the Holocaust or 9/11 or Beirut or Darfur possible. He hates it far more than you
or I possibly can, because in small and big ways, we contribute to the problems of this world in our brokenness.

But God has assured me that He loves me - and you. And that He was willing to separate the eternal community of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in order to open up a path for reconciliation, for healing not just of you and me, but of the entire world and universe. When I can't understand why God would let something awful happen, this is where I turn, because I truly can't fathom the depth of love that would sacrifice so dearly for me - and for you.

It's good to want to know the hows and whys of God. It's not a logical progression to say that just because God doesn't act in the way *you* determine He ought to, that He doesn't exist. Keep asking questions. But don't overlook what He *has* told us about Himself - in the Bible. If you're as earnest in your honesty and curiosity as you are in your indignation, you'll be given a deeper understanding
of who God is, and what He's like.

Larry,

Seems to me if Jesus is ever going to come back, that would have been the time.

Alternatively, a second "Moses" could have visited Hitler and his boys with a version of the Exodus plagues until the Jews were allowed to leave for a neutral country.

On the other hand, an old testament wrathful god would have just struck Hitler down...a lightening bolt during one of his huge rallies would have sent a REAL STRONG message.

Don't you find it interesting, though, that since the Roman conquest of the Jews, there have been NO big miracles? No more Red Sea type events? Not even the well timed earthquake for Joshua?

Jerry,

I hear what you're saying, but you didn't answer my question. What would YOU do? Pretend you're God.

Ok, if it were me, being God and knowing everything that ever happened or will happen, I'd prevent Hitler from being born...just 'kill' the egg that would have been him.

That would be the most painless way. His parents would never have known and any other children would not have been Adolf, since that particular combination of genes would never occur again.

The same could be said for preventing a Josef Stalin as well.

Paul,

Let me ask you a question. What happens to the soul of a person who dies without ever having heard of Jesus Christ?

Thanks for your answer, Jerry. But there's a problem, I think. You seem to be arbitrarily deciding what level of evil is acceptable. Eliminate Hitler, eliminate Stalin, who are certainly murderers, at least. But what about those who are "lesser evils" and have killed, perhaps, only 100 people. Are they less evil? Do you permit them to live? Where do you draw the line? Is there anyone who doesn't have at least some thread of evil in him?

Larry,

Therein lies the problem with an all loving god. How can he permit ANY evil in the world when he loves all mankind? As they say, all things come from god and that includes allowing evil. How do you reconcile this all loving god with suffering? What possible thing can a starving child in Ethiopia have done to deserve to die?

After all, he is god ALMIGHTY. No thing or being is more powerful. Therefore to allow satan to exist is to permit evil. Unless of course he can't stop satan. But wait, that means he's not the almighty.

You run into contradiction after contradiction. All loving but allows innocents to die. All powerful but can't prevent evil.

The solution? As I said in my first message, he just doesn't exit.

Jerry,

I appreciate your thoughts, but it seems to me you are left with one option: wipe out humanity. If, as the Bible portrays, God is both social and loving, and wants an earth populated with beings in some manner like him, who could engage in a loving relationship with him, then he has no choice but to give them the choice to reject him. I suspect you can see that. Compelled love is an oxymoron.

According to the Genesis account, humanity did indeed reject him, and has done so since. So why doesn't he just wipe it all out and begin over? Because he would have the same problem: free choice.

So here's the answer, and I'm going to use an apparent typo of the last word of your post: God "just doesn't exit." God is committed to the success of the project. He doesn't cut and run. And so rather than throw up his hands and walk away, he took radical measures to deal with evil.

He became a man, and willingly submitted himself to the worst that evil could do, even to death, and then rose again in victory. The power of evil is broken. However, people very often have not seen that, and give themselves over to serving a lie, acting in evil ways toward each other.

But in the end, there will be justice. And make no mistake, those who torture and kill innocent people, those who thumb their noses at God, those who are the true source of evil on this planet, will be held to account for their actions. And it will not be a good day for them.

God does not exit. But I have to say, I think your response of simply saying he doesn't exist is in fact an exit: If you can't understand the problem or solve it, deny it exists. Doesn't seem a good solution to me.

Paul,

Sorry for the delay. Too much going on. Allergies gone, replaced by the flu, and some interesting developments here and on our discussion forum. But here I am, late but not last.

I have a problem with God playing favorites. At one level, God offers redemption and reconciliation to all who will believe. No favorites. At another level, it is certain that he chooses certain people for different responsibilities. The prophets, for example, and Abraham, Moses, David, Paul and more. Whether we can say they were his favorites and so he called them, or whether they became something that we would call a favorite -- don't know that God would -- because of the relationship that grew out of their obedience to him, I don't know. I suspect the latter. It seems clear that on one level, God treats some folks differently than others. The question in my mind is why? What is the basis for God's choosing? Is it some bias or favoritism, or are God's favorites those who hear and respond? I like the second.

I think our tendency -- typical of Western Culture -- to assign value according to apparent function is a dangerous one, and we need to guard carefully that we don't assign that unpleasantness to God. Every person is of equal value to God. The only difference is in who will enter into relationship with him.

Well, I'll let that be enough for now.

Larry,

"I appreciate your thoughts, but it seems to me you are left with one option: wipe out humanity."

I don't see how this follows at all. Humanity isn't the problem, this non-existent god is.

You go on to talk about what the bible says. And therein lies another problem.

God is perfect. God is all knowing. He had men write the bible, telling (or inspiring) them what to write. Therefore, the bible must be perfect.

WRONG! Books have been written about the inconsistencies and contradictions in the bible.

There are two versions of Genesis, neither one of which is correct with the way the universe actually is.

There are two versions as to the number of animals Noah was to take in the Ark. And, by the way, the whole Noah story was plagiarised from The Epic of Gilgamesh; the actual event was the flooding of the Black Sea in about 5000BC.

There are three different versions of Jesus' supposed last words.

So, far from being the inspired, true, and incontrovertible words of god, they are the words of men, seeking to explain what, at the time, was inexplicable to them. Or the stories they needed to convince people to follow them and join their religion.

The fact is there is evil in the world. There is the suffering of innocents. This god of yours permits it. I want no part of him.

Jerry,

If people aren’t the problem, who is? This strikes me as yet another cop-out. Who is it pulling the triggers? Who is swinging the machetes, planting the bombs? A bunch of malevolent frogs? Of course people are the problem: People are the ones who choose to do evil.

God’s part was in creating us with the ability to choose. But then, we don’t want to be puppets, do we? Even though that would solve the problem of evil in a hurry.

There is a lot to say about the Bible, but this isn’t the place to say it. If you want to ask questions, or raise objections, the discussion forum is the place for it. I welcome your comments there. Free of charge.

It seems to me you are avoiding the question. Here it is again: You are God. What are you going to do about the evil on this earth? All you have proposed is an arbitrary elimination of people who, by some standard, are evil. (Though in fact, their evil actions are more egregious, more obvious, but not more evil. A murderer is a murderer, regardless of the number of people he kills or the mechanism he uses to do it.)

You don’t like the way “my” God is running things, so I would like to hear a better plan. Otherwise, I’ll consider you are just another complainer who doesn’t have a solution.

There is a solution. I presented it a post or two back. You haven’t addressed it, but seem to want to ignore it and change the subject.

Or am I mistaken? I would like to be.

Hi Larry -

Glad about the allergies, sad about the flu, and what's the point of a blog if not for
interesting developments?!?! ;-)

I can understand that you're not thrilled with the idea of a God who determines the nature of His relationship with individual people. Unfortunately, I don't see how you can read Scripture otherwise. Agreed - on the issue of salvation, God desires that all would be saved. However on the nature of His revealed relationship to us, He clearly determines to whom He reveals more of Himself, and how.

That's the beauty of the Biblical witness, in that it clearly demonstrates that it is *NOT* our own ability by which we are saved, or based on which God reveals more of Himself to us. None of the people in the Bible (that I can think of - and I began enumerating them before deciding that was probably tedious!) are chosen
based on their own merit. There were some really good folks who had great relationships with God - but to reason that the former was causative for the latter is *not* a Biblically supported witness.

Following the assumption that doing the right stuff makes or encourages God to reveal Himself to us in fuller measure relationally leads to all sorts of dangerous problems. If God isn't entering into the kind of special relationship I long for with Him, what's wrong with me? Am I not good enough? What if He's mad at me? What if I'm not doing enough good things? How can I *ever* know that I'm doing enough things? Will I be on my deathbed, unsure of my salvation because I didn't do enough to merit it?

Am not advocating some sort of antinomian stance here on the issue of our *response* to God. We should be praying and striving for ever greater
sanctification, to be more and more Christlike. But to say that these efforts will be rewarded at some level with a special divine relationship a la Moses or David is nowhere supported in Scripture (again, that I can think of), either in descriptive or prescriptive form.

It's ok to want the most from our relationship with God. The danger is in assuming that anything less than the most vibrant relationships Scripture describes is somehow a comment on our particular worthiness. I know that we don't take well to the idea of God playing favorites. But His favoritism is limited to how He engages with us relationally, not His desires for us eternally. And we also
have assurance that one day, we will all share pretty equally in an eternally glorious relationship with Him that will never fade, never dim, and never end! With a promise like that, I'm not going to insist that God perform to my satisfaction for the blink of an eye that is my life here on earth!

Jerry -

Sorry for the delayed response to your initial query regarding what happens to someone after death who never heard of Jesus Christ in their lifetime.

The most accurate answer is, I don't know. The tradition of the Church has been that these people are consigned to eternal separation from God, known as Hell. However, the Biblical witness on this issue is scant, to say the least.

This viewpoint is inferred from two sources, that I can tell. First is the Biblical
enjoinder to share the Gospel with those who have not heard. Clearly, great value is attached to all people having the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. One could infer from this that if people *didn't* hear the good news, they would face the wrath and punishment of those in rebellion to God - whether that rebellion is intentional or not.

The second source is the Bible's assertion that Jesus Christ is the source of salvation. John 3:16 is representative, but by no means exclusive on this topic.

However, the Biblical witness does not (to the best of my memory) address the specific issue of someone who has honestly never heard of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Rather, it spends it's time talking about the rejection of the Gospel
as a definite basis for eternal separation from God after death.

So, I don't know. And I don't need to. What I do know is several fold.

Firstly, I know that God is good. How do I know this? I know that He sacrificed His Son on my behalf, and that my faith in that action merits me eternal life with God.

Secondly, I know that God is far more just than I could ever dream of being. I trust God completely to do the right thing. If that right thing is consigning someone to eternal separation from Him based on their complete ignorance of Him, I trust that this is right, even while having a hard time with it from my limited understanding.

Thirdly, I know that I am told to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. What happens beyond the act of sharing is ultimately an issue between God and that other person. I am to in love seek their best by sharing the Gospel and praying
that they will be brought to faith in Jesus.

Ok...sorry for the long answer!

Jerry -

Round two! Your issue with a God who allows evil to exist is one that theologians (both professional & amateur) have struggled with forever, I suspect. From my perspective on your dialog with Larry, I see the problem less as our view of God, but rather our view of humanity.

You describe some truly awful events and indicate that these are the evils which should be eliminated. However, your definition seems to assume that there is a dividing line at some point. Hitler was evil and ought to have been prevented by God. However, (no offense intended here), I'm assuming that you have family members - parents, siblings, grandparents, spouse, children, whatever - that you would say are *not* evil, and would *not* be deserving of being prevented or eliminated by God. You imply a distinction wherein some - perhaps most -
people are basically good folks doing the right things, and others - a minority - are bad people who don't deserve to live their lives.

It's on this issue that the Bible becomes such a radical book. Because unlike, say, the Koran, or the Book of Mormon, of Confucianism, the Bible doesn't say 'yes we struggle but we can overcome'. The Bible doesn't say 'I know it's hard but you can do it!'. The Bible doesn't say 'if only people would open their eyes, the
answers are obvious and in reach'.

Rather, what the Bible says is that help is not to be found inside ourselves. No matter how hard we try, no matter how good we wish to be, we can't be the people that we know we ought to be. We all seem to have this internal understanding that we aren't who or what we ought to be. The issue then becomes, can we
become that person, and if so, how? The rest of the world's religions say that we, through our own efforts in this or future lifetimes, can become that person. Christianity says no, we can't. Ever. Never on our own (therefore, multiple lifetimes are superfluous).

You draw a dividing line that says 'these people are worthy and these are not'. The Bible makes no such dividing line. All have sinned. All fall short of being who they ought to be. We all fail. Not just in actions - but *in our hearts and minds*. How does Jesus define a murderer? Someone who imagines killing someone
else! How does Jesus define an adulterer? Someone who just looks at another person and has lustful imaginings of sexual acts.

Jesus clearly states what we all know - our actions are outgrowths of our hearts and minds. The fact that I don't gun down people on the freeway may have many causes - but the fact that I still fleetingly imagine it shows how broken
and evil I really am. Jesus defines our state of being broken, sinful - evil - as being evidenced in our hearts and minds, not simply our actions. The fact that someone refrains from raping someone, but imagining it repeatedly, does not make them a 'good' person.

God knows our hearts and minds, even better than we do. We might toe the line publicly because the consequences are too great for breaking the law. But we each, in our own way, knows the many ways that we break the law in our minds and hearts every day, regardless of whether our actions express it or not.

Humanity *is* the problem. There is no 'us vs. them' of 'good' people vs. 'bad' people. We're all bad. All broken. All sinful. All evil. But some people have accepted the promise that they can be changed. Little by little in this life, but totally and completely when Jesus returns. They have accepted God's life saver
thrown to them as they were sinking. They have discovered the joy of being able to say what they knew all along - that they are broken and sinful and evil. But that God loves them. Not because of, but in spite of these things. And
that God has promised to deliver them from these things, to restore them to His image, an image they have never fully experienced in life, because the effects of sin were at work in them even before birth.

It's a promise that is extended to you too, Jerry.

Paul,

I’m a little at a loss to know how to proceed. I think you are misunderstanding me on some essential points.

First, it seems certain that God does indeed reveal more of himself to some than to others. But that isn’t necessarily playing favorites. There are other possible explanations, including the different sort of response by different people, or a different role in God’s plan for different individuals. But what it is not – a
point that you don’t seem to hear from me – is individual merit. If there is merit involved, it’s that of Jesus. Nobody can merit or deserve anything from God, including a relationship.

God is the initiator, and the most any person can do is to respond to God’s initial actions. No merit and no ground for praise in that. So I would like to drop the idea of merit and move on. It’s not a part of my theology.

Then there is the “assumption that doing the right stuff makes or encourages God to reveal Himself to us in fuller measure.” And once more, you are addressing something I don’t believe. Apparently I have not done well at making myself
clear.

Nothing we do “encourages” God and we certainly cannot “make” God reveal himself. God longs to be known. That’s the whole point of the Bible.
There are things we can do that help us to focus, to be open, to be more receptive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. But the change is in us, not God. The principle here is that of “put off…be renewed…put on.” We do something and God
does something. We both have our part to play,

But we to not coerce God, or in any way compel him to act.

And again, I am not suggesting we “strive for greater sanctification.” My striving is for more yieldedness and sensitivity to the Spirit, who can work in us bringing forth the likeness of Jesus. He’s the sanctifier, not me.

So to say our efforts result in a reward is like saying a farmer’s work in preparing a field brings a reward of a crop. It doesn’t. But if he wants a crop, he has to do certain things. And that’s no guarantee, it’s not a cause, but it opens the door of possibility. My “efforts” aren’t rewarded by a closer relationship. They are simply tilling the soil, making it more responsive to the Spirit’s work in me.

So, I guess that’s all I’m going to say. I’m not talking about merit, about reward for effort, or anything like that. And I guess we’ve taken this about as far as it’s going to go for now.

Larry -

Thanks for the clarification. I agree that we seem to have reached about as far as we're likely to on this topic. It's been stimulating, and I look forward to future exchanges.
Blessings!

Guys, sorry I'm a bit late to this shindig, but I think I got where Larry is coming from. In a nutshell, it's called facetime. My kid woke me up a couple of weeks ago, late at night. I asked her if she was alright, she said yea, just had a bad dream. I asked if she wanted to crawl in bed, she said no, I just wanted to see your face. I think that's what your talking about, right? Times that are scary in life, just the reassurance of the father being there. I know you can find it in the bible, but there's just something about the calming effect of facetime with the father. If I'm wrong, please let me know.

Rich,

I hadn't thought of it in precisely that way, but it seems to capture it pretty well. The bottom line, I think, is the difference between God as a concept to be studied, and God as a person to be known.

the stories in the bible where it states that people claiming they have been some how forgotten or encounter Gods silence in their lives does not state the fact that God vanishing from their lives and does not necessarily mean since it has happened to them it sure is going to at the present day. If he says i will never abide you, it means he will never abide us, he is not a man that falls short of keeping his word.
the thing is every wilderness we pass through, every struggle we deal with have a motive behind it, our days are written and we are suppose to live them. If at some point he plans to stay silent that is totally up to him, he has bought us all through his blood and he owns us, he have the right to do what he wants, one more thing all is for our benefit......he is not a GOD that enjoys hurting his own.

Wow, some of these posts are very confusing and over my head. I do know God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit..I will try to get to the point. I have been praying for 25yrs, healings, safety, finances and so on. My prayers are not answered, I think I'm losing my faith. I know without faith it is imposible to please God....It is very difficult,to hang on at times..

Caroline,

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your thoughts, and know only too well the feeling that God has lost my contact information, or something. In any case, he is silent way more than I like. But here's how I see it:

I don't remember why I became a Christian, many years ago. Probably wanting to be done with guilt. But I know why I have remained one, despite long periods of silence and some important prayers that seem to have been unanswered. The thing that has kept me, more than anything else, is that Christianity is true. What the Bible teaches us about God and about Jesus and his life here is TRUE!

I came to that conclusion after many years of searching and study, and believe I would be a fool to turn my back on the truth, even if he never answered another prayer for me. Why would I want to give my life for a lie?

Larry and Rich,

In my experience, I've likened the Father's silence to Chaim Potok's portrayal of Rueven Malter's relationship with his orthodox rabbi father in THE CHOSEN and it's sequel THE PROMISE. The father is intentional in his silence and causes incredible pain in Rueven's young and then maturing heart and psyche. It's only when Rueven is about to embark into his adult world pursuit of an M.D. that his father breaks his silence. Finally, Rueven gets to hear the why.

Instead of extrapolating Chaim Potok's fictional reasoning into my own life, I've got to wait, and seek, and do what you guys are doing until I find again the deeper communion with my Lord, which--according to Scriptural accounts--tends to asuage the pain and the constant presence of a personally silent Father.

It's Rich's "facetime" but with a smile and no words.

Thanks for continuing a 3-year dialogue in which I could find commonality three years late.

Regards,

Jeff

Thanks for the thoughts, Jeff. Reuven's story is indeed fascinating and worth considering. And I think, taking from Potok, that God is often silent but never random in his silence. He is intentional and purposeful, working to achieve something good in us, much like Reuven's father.

The Fall 2011 issue of Leadership Journal is focused on The Dark Night of the Soul, and has some excellent articles on that topic. Many might be available on their website, as well.

I too, like Caroline, am losing my faith due to
God's silence. I have been a Christian,
missionary (Africa, Indonesia, Haiti, US),
student of apologetics, Bible-devoted man, etc
since I can remember. I feel like I'm only still
a Christian due to the huge network of
friends/family that I would lose (or at least
lose an understood 'in' card). Maybe a little
bit of Pascal's wager is keeping me in too.

I just don't get it. No amount of begging God,
obeying Him, sacrificing, humbling myself, Bible
study, mission work has ever led to a single
encounter with God for me. So I began to ask
everyone I knew and respected as champions of
the faith. I got a lot of great advice, but
ultimately, they all said the same thing once
you boil it down, "I too struggle a bit with
God's silence, but God works in ways that are
contrary to ours. You're expecting Him on your
terms."

You asked Jerry what he would do if he were God.
I'll tell you what I'd do if I wanted people to
obey the Bible: I'd make myself known. And not
in an indirect way either. Direct evidence. And
I do not consider the Bible direct evidence
anymore. How could I? It's a tertiary source to
God the Father. Jesus spoke what God commanded
Him to (as Jesus said), and the apostles wrote
what Jesus said and used his words to instruct
the church and now I'm supposed to obey and have
faith with nothing else to go on except my
loving friends and families' assurances that we
are keeping the faith together. I just don't
know if I can do it anymore. If fear of the
unknown is my best reason for being a Christian,
then I'm certainly a shell of my former,
faithful self. Please do not answer back with an
answer that even resembles "then where does
faith come in?" I hate that argument. Why is
'faith' necessarily some superior spiritual
currency? I would still have a hard time
controlling my tongue, maintaining pure
thoughts, letting His light shine, resisting
pride, etc, even if the God of the Bible were to
definitively and directly show Himself to me.
Why not just require me to love and obey? Why
make faith so important? It makes no sense to me
anymore.

I'd still be a theist, by the way, if I were to
leave the faith. The existence of God to me is
obvious. It's just His nature and dealings with
humans that are giving me pause as to how they
match up to the God of the Bible.

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for your painfully honest comments. I appreciate the things you are saying, and am certain that you speak for many others who feel pretty much the same as you.

I don't have a quick and easy answer, and I don't believe it's a matter of just having faith. Or more faith.

There have been times in my life of great struggle, and some periods when I simply walked away. I am relieved to say that (1) I understand my beliefs better for having struggled with them, and (2) when I said I was done, God didn't say, "Okay, fine! Have it your way. I'm outta here." When I was walking away, God was patiently working in me and waiting for me to respond and return to him.

I know several people who grew up in "Christian" environments, some of whom have in bitterness turned away from "Christianity" as they see it. My thought about such people focuses on one area. Much of the more conservative part of the church teaches something that resembles biblical Christianity, but is not that. It focuses on concepts, rules, expectations, and more, nearly anything except a real relationship with God.

God, however, is a relational being. There are certainly doctrines, theological concepts and many other intellectual matters involved with Christianity. However, the core of it is an intimate, loving, conversational relationship with the one true and living God who passionately loves us and delights in us.

The best theology falls short if it does not lead to such a relationship. And the best doctrine and the most faithful Bible study and the most fervent prayer all fail without the relationship.

But when I am in relationship with someone, I can have (and likely will have) periods of frustration, confusion, even anger, and not end the relationship. There is a kind of security and certainty that makes real love and honest communication possible.

I have some measure of theological education and many years of study and teaching the Bible. Yet, the one factor that holds me is that I know God deeply, passionately loves me, and rejoices in our relationship.

When I get into hard times (and I seems to have far more than I think necessary), my response (often only after more suffering than I want to admit) is to cry out to God, appealing to his love, and a personal conviction that God desires above all that we know him and enjoy him.

Thanks for the quick response. I don't know if there is an answer that is expressible in language that will guide me back to Christianity. Now I just think it's in God's hands (or no one's). There isn't much else I can say I guess. Perhaps God will answer one of the many prayers I have lifted up before for Him to call on my spirit. All I know is that I just want the relationship. I don't want anything else- just to intimately know the face of the Creator. And as best as I can judge my heart and intentions, it is a pure desire based on love for the Biblical God and his character. Thanks again.

I think you're on the right track. God honors those who persistently seek him.

In the beginning, God was described as "the
powers of nature, the heavens, the sun, and life
on earth; not an individual or being, but what
causes life and action".
According to the church, whether Christian,
Catholic or even Muslim, they state a figure that
we must be obedient to. This is hogwash! These
religions have used this concept of God to
control and oppress life on earth. They use the
Bible to go to wars, such as Iraq and
Afghanistan, and presently, pushing for Iran.
Why? Greed! It is the raping of the earth that
Empires with the support of the church have done
to the world. Sending Missionaries to countries
to brain wash so the rape and plunder of their
country can take place. All for sugar, cotton
and oil to name just a few commodities.
Once the people of the western world realize they
have been sheep and pawns, will we then begin to
stop it.

I will have to differ with you. Many religions today, as in every age, worship nature. But not all. And to say that the monotheistic religions believe as they do to "control and oppress life on earth" is pure nonsense.

I will speak for Christianity, since there are significant differences between Christianity and Islam. (And, you might note, Catholicism is considered a branch of Christianity.)

This "control" and "oppression" that you allege is in fact very hard to see. It's true that there was a period in history when European missionaries were guilty of that. But it was a short period, and never typical of the church at large. And, to show the other side of the case, it's fair to say that it was Christians who were responsible for many great social goods, from the establishment of hospitals, schools, universities and orphanages, to being on the front lines in the fight against AIDS and malaria. These are real things being done now by Christians.

Further, it was Christians who brought about the abolition of slavery in Britain and the U.S.

I could go on, but the list is too long for a mere comment here.

You should understand, but apparently do not, that many arguments sound compelling until the opposing side is heard. Before you rant about Christianity, you should at least hear the other side, so you can have an informed opinion. That way, you will be less likely to say ridiculous things.

Larry, an informed opinion? You state some complimentary actions taken by Christians, I will consider researching it to see if you are correct, but I stand behind what I've stated: based on research and critical thinking. There are documents that support my side, and using this information that dates back to the
1400's shows a similarity to actions taken today by religions, government and the rich. The three are working in concert, and there actions in effect are oppressing citizens. A recent article concerning the Pope also highlights the three soprano's working in concert to absorb all wealth, and the only way to do this, is to control the population; which is control and punishment.
Please note that I agree I am not 100%, but am working on making the fact so. It turns out the criminals were good at keeping records, and also showing some of the money trails.

I am not "stating some complimentary actions taken by Christians." I am referring to a solid history over a period of 2,000 years. It's a history that has some times that I wished had never happened, and are not consistent with anything the Bible teaches. However, it's also a history that is overwhelmingly positive. The world is a far better place because of Christianity. People in most of the world benefit -- including you -- in ways they don't even know, because of Christianity.

Your "research" is so lopsided as to be laughable, if all it produced is what you have presented here.

There are some benefits to religion, such as bringing people together for good causes: this cannot be denied. Problem though, is that religions have cooperated
with Empires for some 2,000 years, and presently, have a strangle hold over a global economy. I suggest you read "Original Intent, by David Barton" and "The Libro de las profecias of Christopher Columbus, translated" to begin your
truth finding about our past and how it has shaped our world today: we clearly are sheep ready for the slaughter. Now the books mentioned can be confirmed, as well as other ugly stories of our past by Accounting books preserved by the British and American governments and available in archives with Universities, such as Princeton.
In closing, I will suggest that there are some good teachings presented by religions of all faiths, some are purely sick, but taking the good and having real honest conversations, things can change for the better.

I also thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion, you do have control of this web site. Unlike a Catholic University in Texas, you have the strength to tackle raw subjects. Thank you.

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  • HWH said:
      There are some benefits to religion, such as bringing people together ...
  • Larry Baden said:
      I am not "stating some complimentary actions taken by Christians." I a...
  • HWH said:
      Larry, an informed opinion? You state some complimentary actions take...
  • Larry Baden said:
      I will have to differ with you. Many religions today, as in every age,...
  • HWH said:
      In the beginning, God was described as "the powers of nature, the hea...
  • Larry Baden said:
      I think you're on the right track. God honors those who persistently s...
  • Jeremy said:
      Thanks for the quick response. I don't know if there is an answer that...
  • Larry Baden said:
      Hi Jeremy, Thanks for your painfully honest comments. I appreciate th...
  • Jeremy said:
      I too, like Caroline, am losing my faith due to God's silence. I have...
  • Larry Baden said:
      Thanks for the thoughts, Jeff. Reuven's story is indeed fascinating an...

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