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    Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

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    Naoggirl

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    Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

    Post  Naoggirl on January 20th 2016, 6:09 am

    I was discussing faith with my boyfriend and he admitted his has been shaken since 9/11 because of he doesn't understand how a all powerful God could let something so horrible happen. And now with ISIS killing Christians. What can I say to him to help him because it's hard for me explain why either?

    mikel.withers

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    Re: Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

    Post  mikel.withers on January 20th 2016, 10:31 am

    The "problem of evil" is a long-standing issue.
    There are a number of ways to look at it: from arguments of logic to "just have faith".
    I tend to come down closer to the logic side of the issue, however it doesn't work for everyone. So, even if you "get it" it would probably pay to get a couple answers because your boyfriend might not "get" the same answer that you do.
    I'll give some (relatively) quick answers and maybe some links to go for more in depth answers.

    Evil is a problem if there is no God - IF God didn't exist, if we were just doing what nature told us to do, then why would you say something is "evil"? For the most part, people who believe that is the case basically say that something is "evil" if it is something they or their society thinks is wrong. What they fail to consider is that other people and other societies think things like terrorist attacks are good. Also, societies change: consider the pre-Civil War USA. At that time, we had a society who considered slavery a benefit to society, many even thought it was a good thing for the people who were enslaved! If society chose what is good and what is evil, then we'd have to come to the conclusion that up until society decided otherwise, slavery was GOOD, and that if society changes its mind again, slavery might be good again in the future. At the US Revolutionary War, the "patriots" used terror themselves. "Tarring and feathering" was not some comical good-natured act... but we'd generally consider what they did to be good, as long as it was done to someone else, not to us. Or consider the firebombing of German and Japanese cities during World War II. Tens of thousands were killed at a time in order to influence policy and morale of our enemies. I tend to think that a greater evil was averted because of those actions, but would your German or Japanese person of those times see that as anything other than a terrorist attack? As the saying goes: "one man's patriot is another's terrorist"

    Free will- Is it right to blame God for what we choose to do? On 9-11 nineteen people decided to carry out attacks. Unless you see God as a puppet-master, just pulling our strings, then it is the individual people who did the crime who deserve the blame for that act.
    This leads directly to:
    Redemption- Death is not the end of the story. So what did God do about all the pain and suffering? He gave us his Son; sacrificed Him on the cross to take the blame for our sins. He has prepared a place for us, a place with no pain and suffering. If we choose to accept Jesus then death, even at the hands of terrorists, is just a minor inconvenience on the un-ending line that will be our eternal lives. (although one that is terribly undesirable to us on this side of death) I got blood drawn this morning. I hate, fear, am terrified of needles. It was a bad experience for me, including two nurses laughing at a large, 40 year old dude almost passing out at the sight of a needle. However, it is something that needed to be done for me to move on with my life in a healthy way. I have a little purple spot in the crook of my arm, but the pain (such as it was) is gone, the terror faded, the shame is something I can laugh at. I imagine death will be like that when we look back at it from Heaven.

    Math- I would ask which is more valuable on the cosmic scale: your physical life or your eternal soul? I think most people would agree that their soul is more valuable, even if it doesn't always feel that way. How much more valuable is an eternal happiness to a temporary life? Two times more? A thousand times more? 2996 times more? (the number who died at the 9-11 attacks) If it is that many times more valuable, then even a single soul coming to Christ through the attacks and the aftermath makes it a net "good". However, considering the impact those attacks had on this nation, do we really expect that only a single person did some soul-searching afterward? I'd speculate that the numbers swing heavily in the way of a lot more people coming to Christ than died.

    I'll leave it there for now, but if you want to talk more, I'll answer whatever questions I can. Also, as promised, here are a few links for further reading:
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-problem-of-evil
    http://www.str.org/Search?q=problem+of+evil
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9b0PJDDof4


    Paeter
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    Re: Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

    Post  Paeter on January 20th 2016, 4:57 pm

    This is one of the biggest and most difficult topics to talk about.

    One reason is that there are different paths for discussing it. One is the emotional path and the other the cerebral path.

    Some people who ask questions like this have been hurt or are afraid of being hurt. For them, the logical approach won't provide resolution because what they really want is to be comforted in the midst of pain or uncertainty. I can sometimes convince myself that I'm interested in this question on a logical level, but the issue really comes down to my desire to have comfort, safety and control over my life. I don't want to believe that God might allow something terrible to happen to me, and so my heart rebels against the idea and is left conflicted. I think people dealing with the emotional side of this question benefit more from being reminded that God does not remove himself from our pain and suffering but feels it with us, and that he also experienced greater suffering than anyone when he became a human. He is with us through it all and he cares deeply.


    Others who ask this question are genuinely interested in logically reconciling a seeming contradiction in their mind. For those folks, I'd offer a few ideas to consider:

    God cannot do what is logically absurd. He can't make a square circle, can't make "A" = "not A", can't make a rock so heavy he can't lift it, and can't make people with free will love and obey him. With free will comes genuine love. Without free will genuine love is not possible. But free will also produces evil.

    Right now, that evil seems to run around unchecked. I think we see evil this way for two reasons. First, we don't see how God restrains evil throughout the world to the degree that he does and take his restraining protection for granted. Apart from God's care, evil could be doing a lot more damage than it is. Second, we see this life as the main event. We all naturally have a hope that this life will be good and enjoyable and not be ruined by pain and tragedy. And when it is ruined by pain and tragedy we lose hope. But if we, as believers, recognize that our lives are not a brief 90+ years but actually stretch on for eternity, we can begin to see that what feels like lengthy pain and suffering right now will soon be over and will be an eternally shrinking dot on the immeasurable timeline that represents our lifespan.

    Finally, although God does not control our free will, he is powerful enough and wise enough to take the evils of the world and make it into something beautiful and more than worth the suffering experienced. Two great examples of this are the story of Joseph and the story of The Cross. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and through that ordeal was eventually able to save his brothers and father from a famine(See Genesis 50:20). Jesus was crucified by the evil desires of the pharisees and others who lived in hateful opposition to Jesus. But God, like a masterful chess player, used the scenario that evil people provided to make a sacrifice for sin that could save everyone in the world for all of eternity.

    Here are two verses I have up on my wall to help my attitude when my day doesn't go as I'd hoped:

    Proverbs 19:21, Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of Yahweh that will stand.

    Romans 8:28, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.


    I know there are a lot more angle to this, so anyone else who would like to add, please do. And Naoggirl, please follow up if you have any additional questions, thoughts or responses. This is a great topic worth wrestling through and revisiting.


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    mikel.withers

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    Re: Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

    Post  mikel.withers on January 20th 2016, 5:49 pm

    Just a brief add-on to what Paeter said: Why can't God do the logically absurd: doesn't that mean that He isn't all-powerful?
    The problem with doing the logically absurd is not in the ability of the one being questioned, but in the language used to put forward the absurd statement.
    Why can't you have a square circle? Because those two words describe fundamentally different objects... if it is one, it is not the other.

    Morfinwen

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    Re: Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

    Post  Morfinwen on January 28th 2016, 4:14 am

    Not really sure if this will be helpful for anyone besides me, but ...

    If God does not exist, or if He is not good, then this world is the best we can hope for, and whatever comes after is not going to be any better and might very well be worse. But if God does exist, and He is good, then i can have faith that someday, every awful thing that has ever happened will be revealed to have played a part in bringing about a greater good, that those who have been broken beyond repair in this world might find peace and wholeness in another.

    The fact is, we live in a world where things like 9/11 happen and groups like ISIS exist. Whether you believe in a loving God or not, there are people who commit cruel, violent acts. I can understand the difficulty of reconciling an omnipotent, omni-benevolent God with the existence of terrorists, pedophiles, etc. -- i struggle with it sometimes too -- but those people don't go away or lose their impact if i stop believing in a good God. All that happens is i lose the only hope i have that it will one day all evil will be vanquished, and every tear will be wiped away.

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    Re: Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

    Post  mindspike on January 28th 2016, 10:15 am

    Archibald Macleish wrote:I heard upon his dry dung heap
    That man cry our who cannot sleep.
    "If God is God He is not Good.
    If God is Good He is not God;
    Take the even, take the odd,
    I would not sleep here if i could
    Except for the little green leaves in the wood
    And the wind on the water."

    In this poem excerpt the author's struggle with suffering isn't with the fact of suffering, it's with the intrusion of suffering as an undesired element into the life the author desires. If I am honest with myself, my problem with evil and suffering isn't that it causes me distress, but that I have no control over it.

    Evil and suffering come as no surprise to God, and are in fact ordained by God. If that idea doesn't sit well with you, you're in good company. The prophet Habakkuk got really worked up by the fact that God told him specifically that God himself had empowered and purposed the Babylonians to punish the Hebrews. Habakkuk's entire book echoes the question of physically harmful deeds performed by evil people.

    If we then understand that physical and emotional suffering (not evil) are ordained by God, what are we to do with that? It doesn't change the suffering we are to endure. Even Jesus suffered like this, though unlike us he had perfect knowledge of the purpose and duration of the suffering.

    John 18:11 wrote:Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"

    Which leads me to this conclusion: because suffering is ordained by God, it is always with a purpose that will glorify God. God is glorified in the display of His power, in the deliverance of people from suffering, and in the display of faith through the obedience of His people during suffering - even when that suffering results in the death of the righteous.

    I find the book of Job very helpful. Job calls God to account for the suffering that he (Job) is enduring. God's response is to put Job in his place, to discipline him and order him to wait upon deliverance. God reminds Job that He (God) has not acted unjustly, even in allowing the slaying of Job's children. That the sovereignty of God includes both harsh and merciful treatment, for purposes we may never comprehend.

    In the end, even the question of "what is evil" must be evaluated in this light. The killing of Christians by ISIS is evil, not because it harms people but because it is a rejection of God's sovereignty over creation. God is just in allowing this behavior both because meaningful obedience must include the ability to disobey, and because all of creation owes its physical continuance God's continual exertion; God, in turn, owes nothing to His creation, not even its continued existence.

    I'm afraid that line of reasoning is scant comfort to someone in the throes of emotional conflict, looking for emotional comfort (as Paeter pointed out). So let me close with this:

    2 Corinthians 1 wrote:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.


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    somebodyelse

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    Re: Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

    Post  somebodyelse on June 8th 2016, 10:07 pm

    I was thinking about this the other day. One answer maybe God gave me? Was if God didn't let bad things happen such as tragedies, abuse, and other things happen to people. Then Jesus wouldn't be able to die on the cross because then God would have to stop it from happening. Don't know how this thought holds up.

    mikel.withers

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    Re: Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

    Post  mikel.withers on June 9th 2016, 8:26 am

    That'll definitely take some horsepower to work through, somebodyelse. I'll have to put a new pot of coffee on.

    Oh, and welcome to the CGC!

    somebodyelse

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    Re: Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

    Post  somebodyelse on June 13th 2016, 1:42 pm

    mikel.withers wrote:That'll definitely take some horsepower to work through, somebodyelse. I'll have to put a new pot of coffee on.

    Oh, and welcome to the CGC!

    I think Psalm 131 kind of relates to this topic too.

    Did you draw your avatar picture or it's from so where else?

    mikel.withers

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    Re: Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

    Post  mikel.withers on June 13th 2016, 2:34 pm

    Somebodyelse, I can see how Ps 131 might apply. I worry, though, that too often we shy away from tough questions and never fully explore our faith.
    Your earlier post, I've been thinking about it, and I think that aspect would depend on God's plan for salvation and who Christ is (or soteriology and Christology).
    If God did not allow sin to happen, then Christ wouldn't have had to die in order to save us from our flaws. (one assumes, at least) But what would a world devoid of sin... that is the wrong terminology, I think... how about: a world perfect... what would a world perfect look like? Heaven, I suppose, but maybe not the way we understand it. (involving us)

    As to my avatar, it was drawn by my buddy, Nick Lyon, for a board game he made/is making. Which reminds me; it's time to be changing it again.

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    Re: Why God Allows Terror Attacks?

    Post  Paeter on June 15th 2016, 11:40 pm

    I'm persuaded that sin is the inevitable outcome of genuinely free choice. But the amazing thing is that God will ultimately use sin during this temporary stretch of time to reveal otherwise unknowable things about himself that we will celebrate for eternity, long after sin is completely and forever placed in quarantine.


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