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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Losing Faith: Life’s Questions

by Tony Campolo
Red Letter Christians

The most common honest reason cited for losing faith is that it becomes impossible to believe in God if God is defined as being simultaneously all-powerful and all-loving. Thoughtful students often ask, “Where was God when Jews were being thrown into ovens at Auschwitz and at Dachau? If there is a loving God who had the power to stop it, how could such a God not act?” Or even more recently, “How could God allow such devastation to the people in Japan and Haiti?” These are fair questions. Often I have heard young people say that if that is what God and Religion are like then I want no part of it.

A good mother of four lovely children who had already lost her husband in an automobile accident is dying of cancer and her 16-year-old son asks, “God, if you are there, why don’t you heal my mother?” Another good question.

A soldier in Iraq watches as a suicide bomber drives his dynamite-rigged truck into a crowd of people in a marketplace and sees innocent people blown to smithereens, and asks God, “Where are You?” Another good question.

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All of these questions arise from one basic fallacy and that is that God is simultaneously loving and infinitely powerful. Strangely enough, most Christians believe that both of those assertions are true even though it should seem obvious that reality is otherwise. There are those who will call it heresy, but there is little question that the God who is incarnated in Jesus Christ is a God who is not all-powerful. Instead, he is a God who has given up power in order to express his love.

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The concept of an omnipotent God came from Greek philosophers and not from the Bible. The prophets of the Old Testament declared that their God was almighty, and to them, that meant that He was more powerful than all the other gods. But the ancient Jews did not define God as a puppeteer controlling all of our actions.

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I have this final suggestion for any who doubt. Give yourself some time. Your doubt may be a temporary thing. Faith and doubt often come and go in my own life. There are days when, for no reason that I can explain, believing comes hard. There are other days when it comes easy. And remember this—even during those times when you don’t believe in God, God still believes in you and will not let you go.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I always enjoy Tony's take on things.

    Thanks for pointing me to this!