Many people these days are either wrapped up in religion of some sort or fighting tooth and nail to keep from being hemmed in by any kind of belief system. Atheists, spiritualists think they are eschewing traditional beliefs but they are sometimes more controlled by ancient beliefs than your garden variety Christian or Muslim.
They think by divesting themselves of any shred of tradition they are blazing a trail into new and undiscovered territory but their road leads back to the time when the gods walked the Earth and most people worshiped one idol or another.
Competing with the gods back in those days was Yahweh and Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda is the Zoroastrian God and some, including myself believe that He is also Yahweh, the Jewish and Christian God.
Many chose to worship the gods of Greece and Rome because adherence was simple and easy. Burn some incense, make a sacrifice here and there and pretty much do whatever you wanted to the rest of the time.
Yahweh and Mazda were different. They asked the believer to live a life of introspection and service in order to better themselves and become more acceptable to be in the presence of their Lord.
I’m not going into the tenets of Zoroastrianism today but just wanted to put it out there as something to think about.
As I said, Yahweh asks more of His worshipers. Faith and obedience to Him isn’t enough. Faith in oneself is crucial as well. Think about it. Yahweh asks that you better yourself so you can join Him someday once this life is over for you.
He wants you to choose to embark on the journey. He will not force you. You must believe that you can do it. You have to believe that you are good enough to reach Heaven. That sounds quite opposite of what you’ll hear coming from most pulpits in America and I suppose, the rest of the world.
Preachers will tell you you are lower than a worm because you cannot be good enough on your own to go before God. In one sense this is true. But in the broadest sense it is not.
In one sense none of us is God, so therefore we are subordinate to Him. No one is good enough, meaning “has permission”, to barge into the President’s office whenever we feel like it. There are protocols. You must get permission first.
Faith in God, real faith, is your permission slip. Once attained, it will never be rescinded. God has a few rules however. Just as the President will want you to wipe your feet, keep your shoes off the furniture and so on, God expects a certain behavior when you enter his presence.
Here’s where the situations differ. The President will rarely make an exception to the rules based on how your day is going. God will.
See, God’s rules aren’t protocol. He won’t get upset if you break the rules if you have a good reason. He doesn’t have an ego to bruise. The President does. Like most of us, he sees the skirting of his rules as an affront to him.
King David ate the holy bread right out of the ark when he and his men were on the run and hungry, breaking a major religious rule. KJV Mark 2:25-26
God wasn’t upset. His people are more important than the rules. David was constantly striving to please God and failing miserably a lot of the time. God knew David was a spiritual clod. He knew David would break many more rules in the future. He also knew what David would become because David would never forsake his faith in God.
I say all that to say this: The rules in the bible are there as a guide. They are there to help us along but not to constrain us. Take the dietary rules in Leviticus. No doctor can dispute that they are extremely valuable for a people who live off the land and have limited resources and knowledge medically.
They were told not to eat skin fish, which we now know can contain harmful levels of mercury. They were told not to eat pork. We have known for some time that eating poorly stored and cooked pork can be deadly.
What I am getting at is many have put forth an image of God that is not accurate at all. Many well meaning people as well as religious illiterates and charlatans, not understanding God themselves, have constructed and image of God that is not biblically or spiritually accurate.
God doesn’t say to not do something “because I said so!” He advises us not to do certain things so we don’t harm ourselves or others. The choice is ours though. We have to deal with the repercussions if we don’t heed His advice.
So when people say “Why does God let bad things happen to good people” the above is usually the answer. Not always, because life is cruel sometimes and bad things happen because they happen.
God gives us free will and with it comes collateral damage sometimes. That doesn’t bother me though when bad things happen to me. Life’s a bitch. Shit happens. I keep moving forward and don’t blame God. He wants me to survive this world and He’ll always be there to help me when it counts. The more I heed His advice however, the less I’ll need Him to rescue me.
Think about it.