I grew up in a Christian home. I attended church most Sundays for many years, went to church camps, was a student leader, helped in the church wherever and whenever possible. I really was “that” Christian…the one that would gladly die to protect the sacred name of Jesus. I had a deep admiration for martyrs who died because they wouldn’t back down on their faith or deny their beliefs. The shooting at Columbine High School really resonated with me for a very long time, and there was a part of me that hoped that one day, I would be faced with the question, “Do you believe in God?” and I would boldly and proudly say “yes.”
But, like many (dare I say most?) Christians, I struggled with putting all of my faith in Jesus, letting him be in total control of my life, and allowing Jesus to “take the wheel.” I tried, and there were many, many years of my life (the majority, at this point) when I was a super Christian and would tell anyone who asked about my unwavering love and faith in Jesus. But there was still a tiny seed of doubt, one that I ignored and buried deep inside.
But now more than ever, I am sure that the God of the bible isn’t real. I don’t believe He exists. But let’s pretend for a minute that He does. I still say to anyone on the fence…anyone who has a tiny seed of doubt…that this God is not one you can trust. Well, you can, but only as far as you can throw Him. And here’s why:
1-God doesn’t really care about you.
One verse that always stuck with me (as I’m sure it did with many of you): “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
I always found comfort in this verse. It meant to me that no matter what happens in my life, God will work for the good, because I did love him.
At the same time, I have always had a really huge problem with this verse: it is not true. It simply can’t be! Otherwise, bad things wouldn’t happen. All I have to do is turn on the news and see that this just cannot be.
“But God can use horrible tragedy and make it beautiful! God will glorify himself through any bad situation!”
First of all, look at that statement: if God can make something beautiful, and good can come out of tragedy, it is to glorify himself. And secondly…some bad things just happen, and absolutely no good can come of it.
A coworker of mine is in the end-stages of cancer right this minute as I type this. She is a lovely woman in her 60s…a loving mother and grandmother. A funny, caring, awesome woman who is just a joy to talk to and be around. It is a terrible tragedy that she will soon be gone, much too early.
A little over a year ago, a man, clearly mentally unstable and deeply troubled, went into a classroom of kindergarteners and shot and killed 20 innocent babies. There is nothing good that could possibly come from that. You can’t tell me that all 20 of those families are going to experience something so amazing that it will justify their child being taken from them so young. Really, is there anything good enough in this world that any person would say, “this amazing thing could only happen because my child was murdered! Praise God for knowing in advance all of the wonderful, good things that would come of this tragedy! It was worth it!”
No, of course not! I am positive that all 20 of those families would give up everything they own, all of their money, their homes, their health, and probably even their eternal souls, if it meant bringing their children back.
God does not work for the good in those who love him. Lots of people love God, and bad things still happen to them.
2-Prayer doesn’t work. It just doesn’t! Try this: pray for God to turn your lights off. Go ahead, pray. Did you? If a thousand people prayed this prayer, I predict that not one of them would find that it worked. Unless, of course, you’re praying during an extremely windy thunderstorm, or a huge snow or hail storm and your power just happens to go out. Then I would tell you that coincidences do happen. Just like how sometimes, when we pray for good things to happen…they do. It’s not because some divine and loving God intervened for you—it’s because sometimes—good things happen. Sometimes sick people get better. Sometimes you find the perfect parking spot. Sometimes you get your dream job because a series of completely random circumstances happened, and it landed in your lap. Do I believe that for the most part, things will happen in life the way they are “meant to?” I am sure that that statement means different things to different people—but my wishy-washy answer to that one is yes and no. I do think that we are who we are because of our past experiences. Where we are right now in this moment is the result of all the things that have happened to us, how we respond and react to good and bad things happening to us, and our general temperament. Some things we can change, some things we can’t, and ultimately we are where we are. But everything that happens, where we end up…none of it is controlled by god, and certainly isn’t controlled by our prayers.
You know how to make things happen in your life? Do something and change them. Praying is a great way to just sit around and wait. Well guess what sitting around and waiting and praying will do? It will make you miss out on opportunities happening all around you. Praying doesn’t work. Don’t ask God to do things for you, to make changes for you, to change other people. He won’t. He can’t.
3-Um, how about all of the stupid crap God did in the Old Testament? How does everyone gloss over the fact that the God of the Old Testament is a murdering, jealous, angry jerk? You know the cute story about Noah and the Ark, and all the animals, and how a lot of Christians decorate their children’s nurseries with this theme and it’s all happy and a rainbow shows up at the end? Yeah. That story is about God completely wiping out all life on the entire planet. It’s a story about God drowning innocent men, women, and children. Drowning them. Because he’s full of wrath and people weren’t worshiping Him enough or following His rules.
Again, why would God create humans, knowing full well that Eve would eat the forbidden fruit, and then punish them by death for just doing what they do? That would be like us killing cats for meowing. That’s what they do. And humans…well, we’re curious. And God created us to be curious! So what’s the issue? Why kill everyone? If He created us and knew what would happen, then why not change something? The first rule of parenting when it comes to discipline: know how to avoid battles so that they never happen. You don’t have to punish your kids when you take the temptation away. Eve got caught with her hand in the cookie jar. God should have known better, and not even allowed that temptation to go near her. Where was God when the talking snake tempted Eve? Why wasn’t He there to protect her?
If you are a Christian, I am willing to bet that you haven’t actually read the Old Testament. I didn’t. Sure, there were some verses here and there used in church sermons to make a point (and to conveniently show the “prophesy” of the Messiah, Jesus)…but if you actually sit down and read it, you will be appalled by what you read. Apologists will tell you that “God is ‘just’ and He punishes those who deserve it.” If you believe that this is true, then you are a monster in your heart. No one deserves to be killed or punished because of their family heritage or because one person did one thing thousands of years before you were born (the “original sin” of Eve eating the forbidden fruit has doomed us all, for the rest of eternity. Seems totally fair if you’re a monster.). But that’s the God of the Old Testament. Punishing those who don’t do what He wants.
The bottom line: the God of the Bible is not a kind, loving being at all. He is not all-loving and all-powerful and all-knowing (He can’t be all three…not in the world we live in), and His anger and wrath are seriously out of control and completely contradict the notion that God actually cares about us and loves us. And for these reasons (and more), I simply cannot ever trust or believe in the God of the Bible.