God, Atheism, & Suffering
A friend of mine, who is an atheist, sometimes grows impatient with my posts and once in a while sends along a link that he thinks would spice up the quality of what I write. Although I can't always respond, this time I will. He sent me the link to Atheist's Wager's first post. Here's one quote from his post:
By dividing humanity amongst different sects with conflicting ideology and allowing war in His name, God is evil.
Which got me thinking about all the suffering in the world, all the terrible things that happen, are happening and will happen. Many atheists claim that God is evil to allow or even cause this suffering also. Many Christians believe this too and blame it on the Devil. Some also argue that God is cruel to not provide any real proof or evidence for his existence. To require proof for the existence of God is shared by many atheists and many theists. These atheists and theists are on both sides of the same coin, in my opinion. It is a fruitless and dead-ended argument. I believe God sits enthroned over the flood of reason. Which lead me to recall one of my favorite books, For The Time Being by Annie Dillard. Let me quote a little from it:
When Rabbi Akiva died, Moses was watching from heaven. Moses saw the torture and martyrdom, and complained to God about it. Why did God let the Romans flay an eighty-five-year-old Torah scholar? Moses question the tough one about God s allowing human, moral evil is reasonable only if we believe that a good God causes, or at any rate allows, everything that happens, and that it s all for the best God told Moses, " keep quiet this is how I see things." In another version of the same story, God replied to Moses, "Silence! This is how it is in the highest thought
I get this. When I've witnessed incredible suffering in the lives of the people of my community or have experienced severe pain in my own life, I sense God saying, "Be quiet! This is how it is!" It is mystery. It isn't pleasant. I can't lay out a formula proving it. I know this. Which is why the Bible calls me to be... not a lawyer, debater, or logician, but a witness. I can say I've "seen" or "know" something. But really, all it takes is for someone to say, "I don't believe you!" and I am rendered silent. Because it is unfathomable. For that I can make no apology. Here's a final quote from Dillard quoting the Hasidic scholar, Buber:
"We are sent into the world of contradiction; when we soar away from it into spheres where it appears fathomable to us, then we evade our task.
The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Jorgen Klausen.