Lecturer’s Report: Part 1 of 2: April 12th

2018: Answering the Atheists Refrain.by Michael McCray J, M/S, J


Atheists, all the way back to Abraham, have refused to believe in our, one true God, because an all good and merciful God would not allow such suffering in the world. This accusation needs addressing because many since Abraham have used this excuse to turn their backs on God. And this talk only touches on how God came to see the need for suffering in our lives. So why does God allow us suffer?


Well, the most obvious answer comes from Genesis. Things were Idyllic in the unique Garden, God provided for our 1st parents. There is no mention of pain until after our 1st parents blew it. And God, greatly offended by their ingratitude and betrayal threw them out of the Garden, after telling them that from here on out Eve would suffer and labor in pain of mothering in childbirth. And Adam would now have to labor and toil to produce food, where before in Garden everything just grew beautifully on its own. And their offspring would do likewise. God threw them out into the real world so they would learn some important lessons.


Do we not finally throw our children out of the nest, when the time comes and they become too big for their breeches. Out there, on their own learn to deal with adversity. For we learn more through adversity than any other of life’s lessons. We gain strength through adversity, which includes suffering. Through adversity we become more resilient in bending, but not breaking in weathering life’s gales. We gain wisdom in our mistakes, and often learn lessons the hard way, because that is the only way we come to know and embrace them. Like the proverbial caterpillar, we do not learn to survive to become a butterfly and take wing, without the adversity of working our way out of the cocoon that protected us,


The charge of the atheist is brassy one, being the judge and jury over God’s behavior, and in denying God’s existence. Such behavior blinds them to God being the almighty one who created everything in the universe. And in his merciful magnanimity he reached down so low to us, otherwise insignificant creatures, compared to his almighty being, and lifted us up to his heights, rejoicing in us the crown jewels of all of his creation.

Sometimes, blinded by our ego, we don’t realize the enormity of God compared to the reality of our small, fragile being. A good example for instance, my father-in-law gave us a little stray kitten several years ago. It was a cut little, orange tabby, and surprisingly was able to climb trees. Several days later, our neighbor called me over to talk to her. I looked about and saw our kitten in the top of one of our tallest plum trees, on the way over to talk to her. Thankfully, she expressed that she was afraid that our cat would be killed by their Irish Setter, because she found our cat wondering in her backyard several times.


Just as she was finished. I suddenly noticed that her Irish Setter was charging across the yard towards us, and as it drew near, I spied that little cat had climbed up the chain linked fence, within arms reach, and proceeded to leap at the dog headlong, with its front paws spread wide apart and it claws unsheathed, ready to do battle. I reached out in a flash, grabbed the cat and threw it over my shoulder to prevent being clawed. As I did this, I heard the dog’s jaws snap together, missing the kitten by inches.


Now that cat was delusional and no idea of how small it was in relation to that enormous dog. Sometimes people use any number of rationales to justify turning their backs on a God who doesn’t please them in one way or another. Humans, in many instances see themselves as bigger than God, because they are delusional like that little kitten about some wrongheaded decision that God expects from us all. In reality, we are too often, just like Jonah, prefer to do things our way, and ignore what God expects of us. After giving our children so much love, if they treated us in a similar manner, we would be sorely hurt.


If God was a vengeful God, why would he toss us onto such a beautiful planet with changing seasons, due to the tilt of the earth. And instead of sending his beloved son to be crucified for the forgiveness of our original sin, thank our merciful, benevolent Father that he didn’t require each of us to undergo the passion and death, in our each being crucified in atonement for our ongoing sins.


So, God allowed us to suffer, for the salvation of our souls. What do we expect. To simply say, oops, sorry about that, God! And string Him alone, like a 3 year old, in order to get their ways each time. So, figuring out why God allows to us suffer is relatively easy, using common sense. But the real intriguing question is: Why does God, at times, seems to delight in our sufferings. And that is a topic for next month.


Vivat Jesus!