I’ll say this much about Facebook: if I ever canceled my account one day, I’d be missing out on 80% of blogging inspiration. I’m a stay-at-home writer with two adorable kittens who are growing up too fast for my liking, so I don’t overhear interesting public conversations nearly as often as I creep them on social media.
That being said, here’s a post that was shared from preacher Ray Comfort:
When Homosexual actor and author, Stephen Fry was recently asked what he would say to God if he faces Him after death, his answer was, “I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about? How dare you? How dare you create a world to which there is such misery that is not our fault. It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil.”
Let’s help this atheist bolster his case against God, by broadening his argument a little. It’s not only bone cancer that kills children. They also get brain, blood, and lung cancer, suffocate from asthma, die from Ebola and of heart problems. Millions of children have also died of pneumonia, diarrhea, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and a thousand and one other diseases.
Then there are the hundreds of thousands of children who have been killed in earthquakes, floods, famines, tornadoes, tsunamis, and hurricanes.
God has also let children become sex slaves and be used in pornography, have bombs strapped to them by terrorists, and allowed millions to be murdered in Nazi Germany and in hundreds of other wars.
Then there are those children who have died through Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and the millions who are slaughtered each year through legalized abortion.
Mr. Atheist, if you really want an explanation as to why there is so much disease, endless suffering, injustice, and death, read your Bible. It will tell you that God did not create the world as it is, and it is us who are guilty of sin.
But, you’re an atheist, so you don’t believe God’s Word or heed His sober warning of Hell. So you are stuck with what the Bible calls a willful ignorance.
One other thing. The Scriptures will also show you that there’s no greater delusion of grandeur nor any greater arrogance, than for sinful man to stand in moral judgment over Almighty God. But if you remain as you are, you will find that out when you face Him.
I’m not going to break down every issue I have with this response line by line, because that’s too exhaustive. Frankly, it’s not the response itself I find disturbing, but rather the tone in which it was given. Based on my limited knowledge of the Bible, Comfort’s response is accurate. Nowhere are humans promised an easy life, and that promise seems amplified for those who call themselves followers of Jesus. Disciples and saints have a long and tainted history of torture, persecution, and martyrdom, so if we criticize the idea of a God who allows that sort of thing, we’re criticizing all of Christianity, too.
But how many of us have *really* witnessed suffering up close? How many people have tried to return to their lives after war, the suffering presumed to be over, only to relive it again and again from PTSD? How many rape victims live in constant, debilitating fear? How many survivors of abuse and injustice?
It should be so obvious that these events are life changing, and even life ruining for many. Soldiers battling trauma in their heads often end up committing suicide. Traumatized people often turn to dangerous substances to stave off memories and cope. How many of them turn to God in their trouble and find no answers that make sense? We can’t trivialize this, even if, as Christians, we expect to suffer.
Especially as Christians, we can’t trivialize the wounded places that questions like Fry’s come from. These are questions with no solid answers that can turn people away from God and organized religion altogether, which can have more consequences than a loss of belief and identity: loss of family, loss of respect, maybe even loss of jobs, depending on where you live and what you do (and if you don’t believe me on that, speak with my friend Neil at Godless in Dixie, who lives in the heart of the Bible Belt and can explain better than I can just how wrapped up Christian culture is with every facet of someone’s role in society).
If Christians care at all that the type of questions Fry is asking are causing people to leave the faith, we need to take them seriously, without the snark and especially without the condescending labels “Homosexual actor and author” and “Mr. Atheist.” What purpose do those serve other than to display arrogance?
Sadly, the comments weren’t much better. Some Christians seemed to relish the idea of Mr. Fry one day wetting his pants on Judgment Day realizing his whole life as an atheist was a lie, and even went as far as making ‘hellish’ puns on his name and how it relates to his eternal fate (yeah, sorry, couldn’t resist making one myself there).
Is this how we are called to respond when people ask tough questions??
I’ve been asking the same questions as Mr. Fry for some time now, and I can assure you that if I was responded to with “Well, Ms. Feminist/Ms. Jew-ish woman/Ms. Frizzy Curly-haired person with big glasses,” why would I feel inclined to go back to a church again?
I probably wouldn’t, because a religion full of people who don’t remember how to love is like a high school lunch table of Plastics holding a sign that reads YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US.
On a related note, here’s a similar post from a few months back: What Christians get wrong about love.