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derekfnord's avatar

Why does God get credit, but not blame?

Asked by derekfnord (1876points) September 2nd, 2010

I’m completely serious, and not trolling. I really hope some religious folks who feel this way can explain why, because I genuinely want to understand. I can’t really wrap my brain around it, and it’s puzzled me for years. Why are many religious people so “one-sided” in attributing things to God?

For just one example among countless, a friend noted on Facebook that a year had passed since her mother had suffered a stroke, and since she herself had been hospitalized for mysterious internal bleeding, and that now they were both okay. One of her other friends commented, “God is good!”

As an agnostic, my natural inclination is to immediately think, “But… if God was really good, wouldn’t he have prevented the stroke and the bleeding from happening in the first place?” Yes, it’s great that they’re better now, but I don’t understand why God gets “credit” for their recovery, but no “blame” for their illnesses.

Or an athlete wins a big championship and thanks God for his talent and helping him win. But the losing athlete never “blames” God for favoring the other guy (even though I’m sure the loser feels like he worked just as hard as the winner, etc.).

Again, I’m TRULY not trying to pick a fight or something. There must be factors I’m not thinking of. Thanks! :-)

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13 Answers

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

According to theists, God is good by definition. Christianity in particular retains some effects of the Gnostic Heresy, which states that Satan is as evil as God is good, and the two are equally powerful (modern Christianity says that God is far more powerful, but has plans for dealing with Satan that are too lofty for us mortals to understand). God does good things, and Satan does bad things – that is, by definition, God cannot do any evil.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

From the Christian perspective, God is good when he miraculously intervenes with supernatural power over the natural world. The world we live in is natural, and therefor neither good nor bad. God’s intervention is supernatural, and therefor good.

If you believe in that sort of thing.

Ben_Dover's avatar

What do you mean. God gets blamed all the time.
“How could God let the holocaust happen?” “How could God let my little girl die?”

It goes on and on and on the blame God gets for bad things happening.

“How could God let all those Africans starve?”

bob_'s avatar

Really good, expensive lawyers.

Trillian's avatar

I hear nothing but blame to God by Christians. Anytime something bad happens it’s “It was God’s will”.
And your assumption that life must always be smooh is a fallacy. Adversity and that which forces us out of our comfort zone is what maks us grow. Necessity is what helps us think of inventions.
And why would you presume to know what the losing athlete anywhere is thinking?
And since the athlete is paying to God for the strength, speed, or endurance to win the race, it is only natural that this is who the athlete thanks if he/she wins.
I’m sure that if ther were an athlete praying to Satan and they won, Satan is who they would thank. That could be the case now. But you just see bended knee and bowed head, so you assume that God is he recipient of the prayer.

Austinlad's avatar

I’ve run into a lot of Christians and Jews who thank God when they think He’s done something good, and blame him when they think He’s done something bad. Me, I tend to credit or blame myself.

Ron_C's avatar

I’ve wondered that too. If you really believe you can’t fathom the idea that god would let something bad happen to you. They think that they somehow deserve the punishment even if it isn’t them that are actually punished. If their child, for instance, dies, they say “God called him back”. If their child recovers from some horrible disease, they thank god. I can’t understand why they aren’t pissed at god for letting their child suffer for nothing.

To be religious means to suspend logic and often intelligent thinking.

iamthemob's avatar

God should get no blame or credit until we see how it all turns out. The idea of “god letting bad things happen to good people” seems to be based on an assumption that (1) there isn’t something better coming, whether in this life or later, (2) it will not be a lesson to others around them, creating a greater benefit for mankind generally, and/or (3) we have the appropriate perspective at all to judge whether the person or thing was bad or good.

People will assign blame or credit how they see fit. That doesn’t mean there’s an objective merit to the assigning. Unfortunately, we are slaves to times arrow. If god is conceived as as omniscient, this transcends time. If omnipotent, this makes time. You’re not going to blame J.K. Rowling for killing Harry Potter’s parents, because that had to happen for the entire story to be written. Unlike god…we just haven’t gotten to the end of the book to see why all that bullshit was necessary.

And in the end…so what if god does bad things. Be the bigger man and do something good.

downtide's avatar

Those who believe in God believe that he is by definition benevolent and can do no harm. They prefer to believe that all the bad stuff is caused by Satan. Those who don’t believe that God is benevolent, tend not to believe he exists at all. (I have yet to meet someone who believes in God but doesn’t think he’s perfect).

iamthemob's avatar


That’s a generalization though. Belief in god doesn’t necessitate either. Whether what god does is good, bad, or neutral says more about us than it does about god.

God is, for many, by definition is inconceivable. So how would it’s motives be understood?

downtide's avatar

@iamthemob That is a very good point. Reminds me of the saying “God moves in mysterious ways”, which I hear people say when bad stuff happens (like a child getting cancer or something like that). I still think it’s kind of an excuse though.

Aster's avatar

I.m with @Austinlad on this. As often as I say, “thank God” I really simply wish to believe He helped me out when in reality I don.t really believe it. I am a strong proponent of coincidence and luck.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

God desires the best for us (His children) but just as we cannot spare out own children of mishaps or injuries no matter how we try God doesn’t either. God could step in and direct each and every one of our lives so that no suffering ever happens but then people would complain that God allowed them no freedom and was micromanaging their whole lives. God gives us freedom of choice he doesn’t force any of us to believe or follow him, we follow by choice. Sure God allows things to progress the way they progress, he doesn’t micromanage, however, if something comes up and someone prays He may answer. I do believe sometimes it is just a random favorable coincidence but people want to believe or feel better saying it was God. Fine with me if they do that. Though the Lord allows all things to happen that do not mean everything that does happen has His hands directing it.

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