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ETpro's avatar

In the eyes of believers, can God ever do anything wrong?

Asked by ETpro (34552points) May 25th, 2011

I don’t mean to be sacrilegious, but I’ve been rather amazed by the comments of some of the Christians who survived the Joplin tornado. I have seen people who have lost literally everything but their life, lost their home, their car, their place of work, their livelihood, their entiure city, their child, their pets… And they say “Thank God for sparing my life.” I can follow that. But how can God get the praise for leaving them alive, yet be completely innocent of inflicting all those losses on them?

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19 Answers

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

They may be saying, “Thank God for sparing my life”, but I’ll bet you anything they’re frustrated if not a little angry with God right now.

I get angry with God quite often, because I have too many unanswered questions and I see too many bad things happen that he could totally prevent, since he’s supposed to be “all-powerful”. If I rationalize it according to what I’ve been taught and how I feel most of the time, I would say “I’m sure God has his reasons for everything that happens”. BUT, yes, part of me thinks God “does wrong” sometimes.

Blackberry's avatar

This is a mystery we’ll never understand. I still give myself a headache wondering why people are so damn religious in the 21st century. I really just can’t figure it out. They must really wholly believe all of this stuff with unwavering loyalty. I have heard people say that when they get married, they aren’t just marrying their spouse, but they’re also marrying god… They actually see this thing as an entity. It’s a father figure that guides their life I guess…...whatever, I’m not giving myself another headache lol.

Blondesjon's avatar

We all do shit to help ourselves cope with the big bad truths in life. For some folks it’s God for others it’s science. It’s a million different variations for a million different people but it all boils down to the fact that, even as adults (especially as adults) we all need some Blankie and Thumb time.

Self soothing doesn’t care about wrong or right. It only cares about doing what it takes to keep us from falling apart when we most want to. When we most need to. It manifests itself as whatever your situation and experience needs it to be and that is usually something big. Something like God.

Because of this, God/Science/Fate can never do any wrong because we need it to never do any wrong.

thorninmud's avatar

It’s the “Job” thing. God let Job be used as a pawn in a cosmic show-down with the devil. So there’s Job now covered with running sores, mourning the loss of his 10 kids, his health and his livelihood, and he makes it known that he’s not real happy about all that and wonders why someone who did God’s will is catching such crap.

God then basically tells him that a little punk-ass chump has no business calling God’s doings into question:

“Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you.”

“Might makes right” seems to be the take-away.

filmfann's avatar

God knows it all. It’s hard to second guess someone who is omnipotent.
The Great London Fire destroyed much of the city, but it also seemed to have stopped the plague problem they were having.
Who can say what this did?

leopardgecko123's avatar

Not at all. Everything in life works out all the time because God did not make a mistake. And if people say that things in life don’t work out, it’s because they either refuse to see it, or are blinded by their self-pity. God doesn’t make mistakes, it’s us who make the mistake and do stupid things. God reaches out to everyone, but some people just won’t accept. And what does God say when they cry out? “I reached out to you, but you would not let me.” Sad. I do, however, believe that it does not work out when one does not accept God’s helping hand and they have a wall of demons glued around them, a wall which only God can wash away, if the one person accepts. Please don’t comment bad things on my opinion, I do not want to start a Theological debate.

crisw's avatar

Cognitive dissonance.

Those who believe want to go on believing, so they will turn anything that seems to contradict their belief in a just and kind God into something that somehow supports their faith. If they were to accept that random disasters kill people randomly, with no purpose whatsoever, then they would have to change their beliefs- and that is far too scary and uncomfortable for them.

AstroChuck's avatar

God seems to think he made a mistake. Just read your bible.

Genesis 6:6

ETpro's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Thanks for a soul-baring answer.

@Blackberry Indeed. GA!

@Blondesjon I follow what you are suggesting. I am sure we all have coping mechanisms. But science? I can’t for the life of me imagine how my belief in the value of science would comfort me if I had been in Joplin and lost house, family, cuty and all my possessions. I mean, maybe someday science will figure out how to turn tornadoes off, but that would be little comfort to me sitting in the wreckage of everything I had built my life around.

@thorninmud I think anyone who watches the news can say. It’s absurd to hark all the way back to the great London Fire and suggest that because there was a silver lining in that cloud, every natural disaster and despicable act of mankind is actually for the greater good.

@crisw I think that’s a very accurate answer.

@AstroChuck That might have been what I would have said to @leopardgecko123 had I been not been requested to say nothing.

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Blondesjon's avatar

@ETpro . . . Different strokes for different folks.

Like I said, science is just one of a million things we might use to comfort and soothe ourselves. I can imagine a personality type that is beating themselves up because they feel they should have been able to do something. This personality may use the scientific fact that, as you stated, we can’t turn a tornado off. This simple little idea holds big weight because it allows that person to let him/herself off the hook.

AstroChuck's avatar

@kikombe- If God is all-knowing then why does he have to test us? Shouldn’t he be able to distinguish the wicked from the good?

mattbrowne's avatar

If our planet were free of Joplin tornado-type disasters all God would see were trilobites roaming the oceans. Disruption is a major driver of life. Necessity is the mother of invention.

We got free energy close by for another 5 billion years, thank God. The rest is up to us.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I have had my fair share of fallings out with God. Just because I believe in Him doesn’t mean I always like Him. In times of difficulty when it comes to my faith in God I like the quote “God works in mysterious ways”.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Great Caesar’s Ghost, God did not take away what those people had any more than the Devil. There are many things that do happen just because they happen. God is not as people think a billion-handed puppet master directing the course of everyone’s lives, if that was the case would not everyone be in church on Sundays, no wars, no law enforcement, prayer in schools and then some? God has given men free will we have the choice to follow or not to follow. Going off the logic God wiped out these people’s homes and businesses, etc would be to say God killed the Jews in the Holocaust because He didn’t stop it. Natural disasters are not God’s Fault; if your child sneaked out of the house to go play near a creek fell in and drowned is that anymore your fault because you could not prevent it? If your child or spouse becomes a dope head is it your fault because you were not influential enough to steer them away from the drugs?

Those people who believed God was the reason why they survived when it could have been where they hid from the tornado or how well their house was built next to the house that fell but if they want to attribute it to God why not let them? People attribute a lot to science and government when there was no direct linkage science or government had anything to do with it.

crisw's avatar


“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”


ETpro's avatar

@AstroChuck I always figured it had to do with it being so much fun to watch.

@Hypocrisy_Central I would certainly not try to take away anything that is comforting those who survived. I’m merely questioning the logic that God is responsible for all the good things that happen but none of the bad. The Bible goes to great lenght to insist that god is Omniscient and Omnipotent, so I do not understand how you can assert that he doesn’t have enough hands to control everything as being biblical. I can argue that it’s an irrational belief, because there is no evidence of some magical hand undoing cause and effect in events that unfild. But I can’t use the Bible to prove it’s impossible.

@crisw Thanks for sharing that quote.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@ETpro I’m merely questioning the logic that God is responsible for all the good things that happen but none of the bad. In the spirit of the question is where I am trying to keep in (in spite of others trying to make it a “do God exist?” thread). The only way God would be responsible for all the good and the bad as well is because he let things happen as they would and not done a parting of the Red Sea thing. Just because a preacher or anyone else said God saved them might not be as simple as that. Good things happen to people that do really bad things as well as bad things happening to really nice people. Hitler didn’t escape an assassination attempt because God favored him more than Susan Smith’s two kids she drowned in the Lake. It was luck and physics that saved Hitler not God. Because you have the power to do anything don’t mean you have to micro-manage everything. If God did that what would Jesus have been needed for? If you are not of faith a lot of that is as hard to see as a carpenter trying to understand quantum physics.

ETpro's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central No, I am not of faith. I will take you at your word that your belief system works for you.

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