I'm going to do something I rarely do, especially here on ATS. I'm gonna respond honestly, openly, and Biblically to another poster in a religious
thread. I rarely do this, because it seems no one wants to hear what I have to say and because it generally winds up offending someone.
So if you're going to get offended, go to the next post. No one is asking you to read this; it is intended for wylekat only. If you have some
wisecrack about how you don't believe this or you believe that and you think I'm an arrogant SOB for not sharing your beliefs, just shut yer
piehole. Someone is hurting, and perhaps, just perhaps, what I am about to type can help a little in some small way.
First of all, my name is not Daniel. I will not answer your riddle. If you choose to ignore this because of that decision, so be it. You have free
will to do so.
What you are going through is called a 'faith crisis'. We all have them. What is important is how you use this faith crisis. Everything I have read
(and I will admit I only read the first and last sections; this thread is already 8 pages long) tells me where your problem lies. It's not with
You earlier pointed out the inconsistently between God being 'in control' and God being responsible for evil. That's because God is not in full
control right now, right here. If He were, none of these bad things would have happened to you. God does not want you or me or anyone else to suffer.
But you see, there's a catch. God has one limitation, one thing He cannot do... God cannot lie.
Oh, if God wanted to, He could say anything, even if it wasn't the truth right before He said it. But the instance it is uttered by God, it becomes
truth. So one little slip of the tongue could change the destiny of mankind forever. God has a plan for the redemption of mankind, and He isn't about
to destroy that plan. That's what Satan ('enemy' in the original text) wants to happen. That's the only way he can win against God. There is a
literal war being fought right now all around us, a spiritual war between good and evil. We are the front-soldiers, the pawns if you will.
We were created with an understanding of God, who He is and how He does things. We had it all, dominion over the planet, and the ability to create and
have free will just like God has:
27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish
of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29: And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit
of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30: And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have
given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
That's what He created. But nothing can have free will without the ability to use it. If you tell a child to not come out of his room, and then board
up all the windows and lock all the doors so he can't possibly come out, your words are meaningless. The child did not obey; the child was forced. So
God had to, in order to allow for the free will He had given us, provide a way to disobey Him and choose to not follow His will. That was the Tree of
Knowledge. We chose. We chose to not follow God.
Once that decision was made, we were no longer under God's protection. By our own decision, we chose to abandon that protection and make our own way
without God. Over the millennia, the things we were created knowing have been forgotten to the ages of time, and we find ourselves in a physical world
so full of sensory data, so overwhelming that we don't see the spiritual world we are also inhabiting.
But God had another plan to give us one more chance. He knew what we would be afflicted with and what our lives would be like, and He was not happy
17: And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou
shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18: Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19: In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust
shalt thou return.
That's not a curse placed on us by God, it is a curse placed on us by ourselves and explained by God.
The decision to disobey God had as one of the consequences death. We would now die physically. But what about our spirit? That was the loophole God
used to give us a second chance to return to how we were when we were created. By creating another man, who would not bear the original sin, God was
able to allow Him to be sacrificed in our place and thereby allow us to break the curse we had placed upon ourselves.
Yes, that second created man was named Jesus.
Now, we find ourselves still trapped in this physical world which outwardly has not changed. It is still rife with hypocrisy, wars, anger, sickness,
injury, death, and everything else that it contained before Jesus came. The physical world has not changed one iota. But the spiritual world has.
Before Jesus, no one could pray to God except for those few chosen to do so by God. God would not, could not, hear the voice of a sinner, because to
do so would mean that He never really gave us free will in the first place. Animal blood sacrifices were used as a way to partially atone for that
original sin enough to allow God to hear a prayer from one He had chosen.
Since Jesus, we can pray to God and God will (and does) hear our prayers. The prayers must be made in the name of Jesus, to acknowledge the gift of
His sacrifice, and God, having free will Himself, can choose how, when, or even if He will grant our requests.
The many things that you have described that have happened to you in your life have not been because of God. They are because of Satan. People are
still able to make their own choice whether they will follow the examples and teachings that Jesus shared with us, or if they will follow their own
feelings and desires. The man who makes fraudulent claims to sell you a product does not follow Jesus, even though he may attend church every time the
doors are open. The man who cuts you off in traffic and gives you the finger is not following Jesus, even though he may be a preacher in the local
church. The woman who takes advantage of you and leaves you heartbroken is following herself and no one else. Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian,
Jehovah's Witness, Methodist, Church of God, Church of Christ, these are all religions. Christian is not a religion; it is a spiritual
When you pray, first of all, you must pray in the name of Jesus. You must do so to acknowledge and accept the sacrifice He made, for without that
sacrifice God cannot hear you. You must ask for your will to be secondary to His will; asking otherwise only repeats the decision made by Adam and
Eve. You should ask broadly; if you need a place to live, do not ask for a five-bedroom townhouse in Manhattan, but rather ask for a place to live.
And if the place you are provided with is less than you wanted, be thankful for what you received and ask for a better place to live.
I have a friend who exemplified this recently. He is a truck driver, an owner-operator who had a breakdown shortly after a bad divorce and lost his
truck. He had no home after the divorce. He called his bank and told them where the truck was, packed up what he could carry that belonged to him, and
started walking from Indiana.
One day, it was raining, one of those cold misty miserable rains that soak you to the bone and freeze you just the same. He was walking along the
Interstate when a pickup truck pulling a utility trailer went by him. He watched the tarp flapping in the breeze and then happened to see something
fall off the back.
When he reached it, the truck was well out of sight. He picked up a round bag containing a tent. A new tent. One that he could carry with him. He told
me he had to sit down on the side of the road for an hour and cry.
You see, he never placed his belief in God at odds with a prayer request. Answered or not, his belief wasn't shaken. He just kept going, and kept
thanking God for the things he did have. And as he needed something else, it was provided, whether it was through a chance meeting or a found
You have to come to that train of thought that says "I believe, regardless of what happens to me, regardless of how bad it gets, regardless of how
desperate I may be, I WILL BELIEVE!" I can't tell you how many times I have walked up in this mountain (my 'altar') and shouted aloud at the top
of my lungs "I WILL NOT STOP BELIEVING! NO MATTER WHAT THE ENEMY SENDS MY WAY, NO MATTER HOW BAD IT GETS, I WILL PRAISE THE LORD GOD!" Sounds silly
doesn't it? It always signifies a turn around for my circumstances. I'd rather be silly than to be hopeless.
My friend, it is a war. Like any physical war, you can't exist neutrally in the midst of it. Satan owns you unless you choose to go to the other
side; that decision was made long long ago. God cannot force you to listen; God will not force you to listen. God will not nullify that choice made so
long ago. He will simply give us another chance to choose, and accept that choice as well.
My prayers will be with you. May your journey through life become easier. And may your thorns always be but an inconvenience to obtaining roses.
(I now return you to your regularly-scheduled, scientifically-minded redneck)