Growing up in a tiny village in Southeast Nebraska, we were taught that God is Love, Infinite Eternal Love, Goodness, Holiness, and Justice without End.
My childhood and youth were so wonderful, even in the midst of the common troubles and trials that every young human faces, no matter how good their family.
At times, we suffered in minor ways, but my sister and I were blessed beyond measure.
And far better and deeper and wider and higher than everything, than the whole limitless universe was the wonder of God, that despite all of the horror and tragedy and suffering facing all of humanity--in many cases situation so much worse than our minor scrapes--
there was the Infinite Care of the Father who loved every single human being forever.:-)
Of course, early on, despite a powerful conversion experience with God, I asked many confusing questions, deeply troubled by contradictions in life, in the Bible, in Christianity that didn't match the view that Life's essential essence was Love.
#1 Why did so many innocent people die of cancer, terrible tornadoes, earthquakes, and famines?
Especially very young ones, infants, children, young people, before they even had a chance to live their lives and do good?
#2 And why were there so many evil texts in the Bible since it was supposed to be inspired by God?
But living in the wonder of the joy of Christian trust and faith, I could transcend
these deeply troubling questions, even if there seemed to be no answers...
Because we were enveloped in God's infinite love--
That is until I met face to face....
with the leaders of Augustinian-Reformed Christianity, who claimed that our Baptist religion was an aberration, heretical, and that we had never been saved!
I met the first one of thousands of these nay-sayers when I was 17. This Calvinist youth leader also tried to convince us that God will call us Christians to commit immoral actions for God!!
(Note: Thank God, I've already recounted numerous times on this blog doing battle for over 50 years against that many-headed theological hydra, so I don't have to go down into that detailed abyss again here, nor share of how it murdered our faith, our trust, our hope, destroyed our lives. It has destroyed so many millions of humans' lives.)
Instead, in this article, I wish to deal with a few of the deep, puzzling and difficult-to-answer questions that have gouged my mind and my life over the years and still are there today:
One of my questions beginning when I was about 12 years old:
#3 Why didn't God emphasize to all of God's people down through the ages that slavery is inherently evil?
And related questions:
#4 Why does Exodus 21: 20 say, "When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave...if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money"?
And I Peter 2:18 "Household slaves, submit with all fear to your masters, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel"?
Think of the millions of humans killed or tortured and harmed and abused because of these and other verses!!
It was Christian and Muslim leaders, ship captains, merchants, plantation owners, etc. who carried out these rules and command, sure that God blessed their slave-owning, even when they were harsh and cruel, even when many of the slaves died in transit.
#5 If the Ultimate Reality of Existence (God, the Divine, the Spirit) truly has benevolence for all things, all beings, why didn't God reveal to humans 50,000 or 75,000 years ago the lethal danger of germs and viruses?
#6 Why did the Divine even allow destructive germs and viruses to come into existence and to thrive?
#7 Why didn't this loving God protect billions of humans from the Black Death, small pox, malaria, cancer, birth defects, and so forth?
#8 For that matter, why didn't God ease the suffering, even protect, all sentient animals, billions of them from excruciating harm and tortured deaths over the last billion years?
To be continued--
In the Light,