Nine Year Old Gang-Raped Girl Asks Why Jesus Didn’t Rescue Her

Image result for image of guardian angel helping children across broken bridge

These days, people often ask exactly when I lost my faith, as though there were a single moment when the scales fell from my eyes.  But the truth is that my Christian orthodoxy, and eventually my ability to believe in anything supernatural, actually died the death of a thousand cuts—and ten thousand unanswered prayers—over the course of more than thirty years.

The first of those “cuts” happened almost immediately [after his born again experience], when a few college students from my new [evangelical] church invited me to join them in running a Christian summer day camp in Camden, New Jersey.  …Toward the end of that summer I got to know Shonda the warm, friendly mother of one of my favorite campersI tried to lead her to Christ, but when I did, she cut me off cold.

“Don’t waste your breath, Bart,”  she told me in a bitter voice.  “I don’t want to hear about the love of God.  You keep that mess away from me.”

Shonda had grown up in a Christian family, she told me, and loved everything about church until one day, as she walked home from school as a nine-year old, a group of young men dragged her into a vacant house and gang-raped her.  A few days later, when Shonda asked why God hadn’t rescued her, her Sunday school teacher explained that because God was all-knowing and all-powerful, he could have stopped the attack, which meant that he must have allowed it for a good reason.  The real question, the teacher went on, was what Shonda could learn from the experience that would enable her to better love and glorify God.  In that moment, Shonda told me, she rejected God forever.

Image result for image of jesus with the children

Unfortunately, my theology at that time was not much different from that of Shonda’s Sunday School teacher.  Indeed I believed that God was sovereign, and that anyone who did not accept Jesus in this life was going to hell afterward, which made God seem like the cruelest of tyrants, at least as far as Shonda was concerned.  To me it was absurd that an all-powerful, all-loving God would willingly fail to protect an innocent little girl in this life, then, when she couldn’t trust in Jesus as result, doom her to eternal damnation in the life to come. 

Bart Campolo, son of prominent evangelical evangelist, Tony Campolo, in his book, Why I Left, Why I Stayed, discussing the events that lead to the loss of his Christian faith , pp. 12, 14-15

112 thoughts on “Nine Year Old Gang-Raped Girl Asks Why Jesus Didn’t Rescue Her

  1. I can hear liberal Christians objecting to part of the above statement by Bart Campolo:

    “The true Christian God will NOT cast Shonda or anyone else into Hell. The true Christian God (Jesus) loves everyone. Hell is not real. Jesus was using this term figuratively. Jesus’ message to the world really is GOOD NEWS!”

    Gary: Tell that GOOD NEWS to Shonda…and to every other child who has been abused, beaten, starved, raped, or murdered in the many thousands of years of human existence! The non-reality of Hell and eternal damnation does not get the liberal Christian god off the hook: If the liberal Christian god is the all-powerful, all-knowing being that all Christians claim he is…HE IS A SICK MONSTER!

    Any being who stands by and does NOTHING while a little nine year old girl is being gang-raped is EVIL to the core.

    Thank goodness the evidence strongly suggests that he is just an ancient superstition!

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    1. There’s a very confused theology here, Liam. You say Jesus has forgive your sins; ‘sin’ is that in our very natures that gives offence to God. This is the God who allowed your child to suffer, who let the nine-year old girl in Bart Campolo’s story be gang-raped, who stands idly by while millions of children die in the most appalling of circumstances. A God who sets the bar as low as this has no right being offended by anything, not least your ‘sins’.

      Of course, he isn’t. The only ‘theodicy’ that accounts for how an all-powerful, omniscient God can be so utterly callous and uncaring is the one that faces up to the fact that he doesn’t actually exist. Free your self from his shackles, Liam; they’re imaginary too.

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    2. Just lost my father four months ago. Bringing the pain of my mother’s loss 17 years ago back very painfully and I am honestly questioning my faith. My mother was reduced to only being able to say my father’s name while verbally communicating. She died a cruel, wasting death. My father also lost most of his mental acuity. Not nearly as bad as Mom, but most of his short term memory. I am truly terrified of growing older. This story is truly horrific. I cannot imagine how a Sunday school teacher could respond with such a lack of empathy and compassion. You said there is no supernatural. I have experienced it. I find it unfathomable that the world we live in and the life force we have and all that we experience in the “natural world” is nothing more than an aberration in so called “evolution.” I also reject the premise that morals can only be objective through the belief in a higher power. People can be evil. There is no denying that. Those men were evil and what they perpetrated is heinous and reprehensible. You don’t have to believe in a higher power to know that that is true.

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  2. Absolutely terrible, and we need a theodicy.

    I’m just surprised that this question seems to be one that’s unaddressed – personally I had to come to terms with the holocaust, rape and all the atrocities humans commit and a loving God when I was 10 years old.

    What kind of an unexamined life does one have to lead if this isn’t one of the first questions you’re asking as a Christian? How can you not have this at front and centre?

    Just so strange. Same for Bart Erhman, the evil in the world ultimately lead him to his agnosticism.

    I’m not convinced that you can truly be a Christian if you haven’t come to some kind of real peace about this.

    I have to ask though – my boy spent a year of the first three years of his lift in and out of hospital. It seemed a never ending thing. Very sick, very ill, all very, very undeserved by our reckoning.

    How does that make the historical resurrection of Christ unhistorical? How does that change the truth of God’s revelation of Himself in history?

    My faith isn’t in an easy life – it’s in the fact that God paid for my sins.

    I can’t go into the meaningless of suffering and the disconnect from a materialist world-view and the outrage at atrocities here. Only Jesus has revealed the True God in history, but if there is no god and those rapists never get caught, they never pay for that crime. For that disgusting atrocity.

    And Jesus sufferes with us, walks with us in the pain. He suffered, He comforts.

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    1. If he sits on his hands and does nothing while a little girl is being raped, he is a sick monster.

      Even if Jesus was resurrected, it would not change the fact that he is evil incarnate for allowing so many little children to suffer so terribly.

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          1. @JB
            Not at all. But the non-existence of God removes at least one excuse that has been used in its defense.

            There are some pretty odd individuals in and out of religion but on so many levels you really take the cake.
            And it’s marvelous that you are allowed free reign on some blogs so that anyone reading along who may be contemplating a change in worldview/outlook can read the wonderful Christian perspective you bring to the table.

            I could only wish that you were considered the Poster Boy for Christianity and held up as the personification of what Christianity really is all about.
            How wonderful this would be for the cause of secular humanism.

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          2. My response was to Gary.

            But since you responded … as usual, you miss the point and try to insert some off-handed remark/question that has little to nothing to do with the conversation. But that’s OK. Getting used to it now.

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            1. It is a sincere question.
              Taking God out of existence doesn’t make evil disappear. This is the problem you Humanists have that we Christians don’t. You can’t even admit that rape is objectively wrong!

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              1. What we humanists have that Christians don’t is a worldview and morality that is CONSISTENT and free of inerrant dogma. To us, rape is wrong and has always been wrong because WE say it is wrong. For believers in Yahweh, the morality or immorality of rape is dependent upon the alleged dictates of an alleged invisible being who changes his mind on this issue depending upon the “era” in which the act occurs. In the Old Testament a father could sell his daughter into slavery to a man she did not love (who could then force her to have sex with him = rape); in the New Testament a Christian slave owner could sell a female slave to a new owner who could then force sex upon her if he chose to; today, Christians consider both of these acts immoral.

                Therefore, the morality of humanists is more consistent than the morality of believers in Yahweh/Jesus, and, there are no inerrant dogmas in the morality of humanists. Humanists do not ask people to believe “by faith” that something which on the surface looks immoral (such as the targeted slaughter of your enemy’s children, ie. the Amalekites, Midianites, Egyptians, etc.) is really moral and good.

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                  1. Correction: What we humanists have that Christians don’t is a worldview and morality that is MORE consistent.

                    Thank you for pointing out my error.

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                    1. Subjective morality is LESS consistent than the objective goodness of God. You Humanists, by your own admission, change morality with the culture.
                      Why won’t you answer the question?

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                    2. And I just showed you that your invisible god (actually, your preachers/priests) change your subjective morality with the passing of time (“era’s”, as Christians call them). So my personal subjective morality is MORE consistent that your belief system’s morality. I have never not believed that forced sex (rape) is wrong. Your “god” has.

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                    3. You cannot have subjective morality and consistency at the same time. These are mutually exclusive terms.
                      You are accusing God of immorality based on your own subjective opinions. Just because you can’t see the inconsistency doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

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                    4. And your religion’s morality changes with the whims of your priests and preachers. If you cannot comprehend that BOTH my morality and YOUR morality are subjective, then you are an IDIOT or you are just being an obstinate PRICK.

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                    5. Wrong.
                      The morality of my religion is unchanged by priests and preachers.
                      If you cannot comprehend that objective morality exists despite whether or not preachers, priests, or Humanists practice it, then I will not speculate about your motives.

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                  2. “Why harp about the evils of religion?”

                    Because the belief in invisible, inerrant, imaginary beings has proven to be very dangerous and deadly.

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                    1. I do let Christians have their opinions. I am simply exercising my constitutional right to point out when I believe someone else’s opinions are wrong, in particular, when they are dangerous.

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                    2. Take the blinders off, John. I can condemn someone else’s morality for whatever reason I choose. The fact that you think I can’t is immaterial.

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                    3. I never claimed that I am OBJECTIVELY in the right to speak out against your bloody belief system. I condemn it based on my SUBJECTIVE moral standards which are much more consistent than the moral standards of your human-sacrifice based religion!

                      The only difference between your religion and that of the ancient Mayans and Aztecs is THE BODY COUNT!!!

                      Good day, sir!

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    2. How does that make the historical resurrection of Christ unhistorical?

      @ Liam

      What non-biblical, independent evidence do you have to support your claim that the story of the resurrection is historical?

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    3. “My faith isn’t in an easy life – it’s in the fact that God paid for my sins.”

      God…as in the same God that created sin in the first place? I find the phrase “paid for my sins” very hard to take seriously. God, the required creator of everything (nothing can be created without his knowledge), created the very concept of sin. Without this concept believers wouldn’t need their belief in a future state of “perfection” with heaven. And what did he pay? He sent himself and tortured himself for a few hours? According to the believers there was no permanence to Jesus as a sacrifice (sadly, all of the animals who were sacrificed throughout scripture are still dead.). What does this phrase even mean?

      “And Jesus sufferes with us, walks with us in the pain. He suffered, He comforts.”

      How do you know this, matter of factly? So, as children are sold as sex slaves he is “walking with them”? As a woman is brutally raped and beaten, he is “walking with them”? As a child is tortured he is “walking with them”? He comforts? In one statement I am told that God actively answers prayers. He intervenes in space and time to help someone with their illness or to pay rent. These believers know this, matter of factly, as you do. Yet, when these horrendous acts occur I am told “he walks with us in the pain.” Why not intervene and simply fix the problem like he does with all of the other “answered prayers”?

      I do struggle with so much of the talking out of both sides of the mouth. “He’s the creator of everything!” If he is the ruler of all and wins in the end (as the Bible teaches), then nothing can take place without his knowledge. He cannot be surprised. Nothing can change this course. This means he has knowledge of these acts and is choosing to do nothing about it.

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  3. This post really spoke to me.

    Working in Child Welfare, many times I and my colleagues had to deal with the abuse of young children, and the heart breaking aftermath of that. Some children were murdered. I always felt that God worked through me in this kind of work to make a difference, and to save children, as well as to get their abusers help. Many times people who molest and abuse children were themselves abused as children.

    I think that there are no easy, flip answers to this whole issue of deep human suffering. I struggled with this for years, and still do. But, one thing I am able to see is that the whole matter is also wrapped up with human freedom. If people are not free to choose evil resulting in suffering, neither can they be free to truly love, or to choose the good.

    Perhaps part of our issue is with a deus ex machina view of God. The incarnation says that God is with us through everything. He suffers with us. But, as beings created in HIs image and likeness, we are also free to make ourselves as a species. I would not want to think about the alternative. The Stepford Wives comes to mind….

    The Episcopal church has taken on as a huge part of it’s mission the millenial goals of the UN. I consider this as a big part of my calling as a Christian believer, to make a positive difference in the world in the name of Jesus the Messiah. We are ambassadors for Christ..

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    1. You still can’t see the evil of your belief system, can you, Becky? A man or woman who stands by and watches a child being brutally murdered and does nothing is a monster. An all-powerful Being who stands by and watches hundreds of thousands of children being brutally murdered over the millennia of human existence…and does nothing to stop it…is EVIL INCARNATE!

      Your liberal Christian rationalizations are sickening. Little children do not “choose” evil.

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      1. Gary, I also want to add to my response, that I think we can agree in one area. This young girl who was raped certainly did not need to hear the religious rationalizations of her Sunday school teacher. What she needed was for this woman to cry with her, and hold her in her arms while she poured out her pain.

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          1. A good point to ponder, Zoe. I”m definitely trying to make sense of the human condition in light of what I believe relating to the love of God.

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      1. No, I feel compelled to share Christ’s love in my life, and to make a positive difference in the world. Our time on earth is short, and I want to use the life I’ve been given for good.

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          1. Zoe, I guess it might depend in how Ark’s question is interpreted. By doing good, in a sense that is “preaching the word.” So, I can see your point..

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          1. Ark, in general, I’m not one to be out there passing out Biblical literature or standing on the street corner that’s for sure. I really don’t have spiritual discussions with people unless they seem open to this, and wanting to engage in the dialogue. Otherwise, it would seem rude, and insensitive to me.

            It seems that people really are wanting to engage in blogs on the internet..Else, why would they be here participating in discussion. So, I”m wanting to share my perspective, and also to hear their thinking, and receive input. This has helped sharpen my own thinking, and to dig deeper into my own faith.

            . Also, I know that Christian faith has been a great blessing, and motivator for good and healing in my life, so I want to share that also.

            I want to add that I really don’t feel animosity toward those who disagree. Also, I’m slow to anger and to take offense. This is really not to my credit, but is more a matter of my innate temperment. I have plenty of other faults, trust me. Ask my husband. LOL

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            1. Atheists engage god-believers because they recognise the detrimental effects of religion and god belief.
              This is especially noticeable when one looks at the number of religions, and the horrendous deeds perpetrated in their names. Also, one only has to look at the how divisive they are and the enmity they cause.

              Also, I know that Christian faith has been a great blessing, and motivator for good and healing in my life, so I want to share that also.

              This ties in with the fact that in my experience most converts have come from a place of emotional trauma in one form or another.
              Was this true in your case?

              And why do you think (your brand of) Christianity is a motivator for good and healing above Judaism Islam or Hinduism?

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  4. Ark, I have not had great emotional trauma. I know this has been an experience of some, but in my life, I’ve been fortunate that this is not the case.

    Here is my puzzlement. . I”m going to be totally honest.

    Obviously, everyone who shares here is intelligent, thoughtful, and sincere. We all can agree that religious belief like everything else in the world can be turned toward evil. Who would not want to speak out against toxic faith and spiritual abuse?

    What I can’t understand is why there are some nontheists, not all by any means, who are not also able to perceive the good, and positive benefit that can come from other forms of faith. Why is it not possible to separate this out?

    I feel the cure for toxic faith is to encourage people to think, yes, but also to go deeper into an understanding of the depth of God’s love and grace. I would not think the solution would be to go about disrespecting and attacking everyone’s faith in general, and to call for the eradication of all forms of faith and spirituality.

    As a matter of fact, I think if I were an atheist, I would feel this to be counterproductive, probably leading to a defensive kind of resurgence of the very things that I had hoped to avoid. I think it also utterly destroys any bridge building opportunities out there, or chance to find common ground relating to some of these issues.

    I certainly think that other forms of faith can also motivate healing and good. Not all can be equally true, but we can certainly find common ground.

    On Sunday, I was part of this international feast hosted by my church for local refugees. There were people in attendance from close to fifty nations, representing a variety of spiritual beliefs, all sitting down in peace, celebrating and enjoying each other’s fellowship. For me, it was like this foretaste of the kingdom of God.

    How on earth, are things like this doing terrible harm, and worthy of scorn and destruction?

    Sincerely,
    Becky.

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    1. “What I can’t understand is why there are some nontheists, not all by any means, who are not also able to perceive the good, and positive benefit that can come from other forms of faith.”

      Belief in invisible beings with supernatural powers is dangerous because these beliefs are not ultimately based on evidence but subjective perceptions, feelings, and superstitions. Your feelings and perceptions may be of a good invisible being, but someone else’s feelings and perceptions may be of a judgmental, violent invisible being. We all need to have the same objective basis of reality to communicate with each other effectively and to better co-exist. Science and reason give us a common basis of reality.

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      1. But, Gary, as I”ve attempted to communicate, I think that human reason alone can bring people to very different views of what is good and true for them, and science really can be used for good or for evil purposes.

        I truly am at a lose, and don’t know where else to go with this. You have chosen a certain path in life, and I’ve chosen another.

        Pax.

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        1. Follow Jesus’ humanist teachings, Becky, but abandon belief in the supernatural. It might feel good for you to believe in invisible superheroes, but it is not good for humankind.

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    2. Not all can be equally true, but we can certainly find common ground. – Rebecca

      There were people in attendance from close to fifty nations, representing a variety of spiritual beliefs, all sitting down in peace, celebrating and enjoying each other’s fellowship. – Rebecca

      50 nations, variety of spiritual beliefs – “not all can be equally true”

      Peace, celebration, enjoyment – “common ground”

      For me, it was like this foretaste of the kingdom of God. – Rebecca

      With who Rebecca? With all those variety of spiritual beliefs that all can’t be equally true?

      How on earth, are things like this doing terrible harm, and worthy of scorn and destruction? – Rebecca

      Peaceful, celebration and enjoyment – common ground, where? Here on the earth. Now about your kingdom of God, the afterlife, eternity. What then of those you sought earthly sojourn with. The ones who missed the mark on the “true” spiritual beliefs. Perhaps that is where our scorn comes in?

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      1. Zoe, it’s complex, where I’m at in my thinking in this.

        During the course of the evening, we listened to a reading relating to Jesus from the Qur’an by a representative of the local Islamic Community Center. He came to also extend his greetings and prayers. The Muslims feel that Jesus was a great teacher, and prophet. They give Him great reverence, but of course are not trinitarian.

        My feeling is that all truth is God’s truth, and that we can always learn something from each other. I think there are many commonalities among the major world religions, and I think we can’t limit God in how He connects to all of us. But, obviously, if there are also contradictions in belief, not all can be equally true in an objective sense. Do you see what I mean?

        Zoe, there were almost 450 people attending this banquet, so I can’t know the personal beliefs and spiritual convictions of everyone there, but I can tell you that I trust God will bring each and everyone of them into His kingdom both in this world, and the next. I’m trusting His grace and love.

        Appreciated talking to you, Zoe, and also your questions. As I’ve shared, this helps me to think more deeply, to evaluate my own beliefs, and inner motives, and to understand better where others might be coming from as well.

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        1. They give Him great reverence, but of course are not trinitarian. – Rebecca

          He’s a “he” not a “Him” to and naturally they are not trinitarian. Your “He” is not God to them.

          Do you see what I mean? – Rebecca

          I’m always amazed at how often is your pattern of asking us if we see what you mean. Why is it you think we (I) don’t know where you are coming from? Been there Rebecca.

          My feeling is that all truth is God’s truth, and that we can always learn something from each other. – Rebecca

          Well when it comes to earthly knowledge, cultural, traditional, familial and societal learning, sure. Throw in scientific, medical, mathematics etc..

          “God’s truth” – is a feeling? So we are gathered together to learn “God’s truth” based on learning the “feels” from multiple spiritualities.

          Are you saying all these Gods are the same God? If so, do you think the Islamic rep would agree with you?

          But, obviously, if there are also contradictions in belief, not all can be equally true in an objective sense. – Rebecca

          Obviously.

          […] but I can tell you that I trust God will bring each and everyone of them into His kingdom both in this world, and the next. – Rebecca

          So you are a universalist then?

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          1. I would agree that truth can not be based in just subjective feeling.

            What I was thinking of in terms of commonality was more something like the tenet in many faiths of things like caring for our neighbor as ourselves. There are often common views relating to morality, and other things as well.

            As to whether we all are actually worshipping and speaking of the same God…I think all religions are an honest attempt to connect to the divine, even those that are pantheistic. My thinking is that God honors a desire to seek HIm, to know truth.

            Some Christian believers feel that all religions are like different cultural lens through which people apprehend God. Others use an analogy that the divine is like this underground river and view the various faiths as wells through which people are able to connect to God. I definitely would not go this far, but can see some of their thinking in this direction.

            Zoe, the reason I say things like, “Do you see what I mean, or do you see where I”m coming from” is not to be in any way disrespectful..It is that I think even though people may have come out of the Christian faith our beliefs and experiences still may have been very different..Also, I think a lot can be lost in translation across the internet on these blogs. There are times when people may receive something I’ve said in a very different way than I actually intended. There are other times when I seemed to have caused offense, and that was not my intention either. And, I”m sure the same thing happens the other way around as well.

            I would say that I am definitely moving in the direction of universalism, and certainly do not believe that the Muslim people at the banquet are heading for Hell, if that is what you are asking me.

            I am heading out for yet another banquet, and holiday shopping. Perhaps we will talk again later. Wish everyone here Happy Holidays.

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    1. Gary
      DECEMBER 5, 2017 AT 8:53 AM
      Bottom line: Your belief system is based on the claim that human beings need a bloody human sacrifice to appease a god.

      This is an example and way of Biblical interpretation that I would consider toxic. It is not how I or many Christian believers interpret the cross of Christ. I would say that if people take hold of their faith in a way that is fear based or centered in mere legalism, this is toxic to me.

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  5. @ Rebecca
    The crucifixion of the biblical character Jesus the Nazarene is part of the central tenet of your faith and is crucial.It is why the story does not allow the character to die of old age or a disease. – he was required to be executed. In this case Gary is perfectly correct in his summation.

    Also, you dis not answer if you thought Judaism, Islam Hinduism, and other sects within your own religion are toxic?
    Can you please give a direct answer and explain why they are or are not.

    Furthermore, in your previous comment about your church feast you did not identify whose god, yours or theirs?
    Please can you give a direct answer to this question also. Thank you.

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  6. That God allows the innocent to suffer horribly through no fault of their own has puzzled me for a long time and I have struggled long and hard over this issue. However, after looking at when sin began, first in heaven when Lucifer rebelled along with many of the angels and then when Adam and Eve fell in the garden of Eden, I saw what may be the reason. What these two events have in common is that both the angels and Adam and Eve had always lived in perfect environments. None of them had ever experienced living in a fallen, immoral world to know what it was like. It may be that we are allowed to go through the suffering of living in a sinful and unjust world so that when we get to heaven, we will never ever want to sin against God as we will know from first hand experience what the consequences of doing this is like. In other words, we will appreciate what we have because we know what it’s like to not have it. As cruel as the injustices of this world can be, living in an imperfect world may well serve the purpose of preparing us for our eternal heavenly home where there will be no more death and every tear will be forever wiped away.
    I have certainly done my share of crying when I see innocent victims cruelly suffer over nothing they caused and then I struggle over how a loving God could allow this to happen. So far, this is the only explanation I’ve been able to find from my current level of Bible study and it does seemingly make some sense. I know I don’t ever want to go through anything like this again!

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    1. Welcome!

      If I understand you correctly, Ms. Viv, you believe that God allows us to suffer here on earth so that we won’t want to sin in heaven. But why not create humans as incapable of sinning from the very beginning? Who would suffer as a consequence of our inability to sin here OR in heaven?

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      1. I’ve wondered that myself! I don’t really know why. It would seem reasonable to me but I only see things from a limited perspective and I expect there’s much more to consider about this subject than I know right now. I aim to keep this in mind as I continue to study and see what more I can learn. When Adam and Eve fell, it is recorded that all of creation fell but was it necessary to make it so bad that the innocent must suffer atrocious acts of violence against them? I’ve often pondered that question.
        I’ve also wondered as to why evil would be allowed to exist in the first place. Seeing the suffering faces of the innocent is truly heartbreaking and it would seem that this just shouldn’t be allowed to happen. The principle of reaping what you sow makes sense but it also seems logical that there would be a way to protect the innocent from cruel unjust acts committed against them that they had no part in. I certainly don’t know all the why’s of it all and I’ve got a lot more to learn before I can draw conclusions that cover this whole subject. All I’ve com up with at this point is that suffering the consequences of living in an unjust, sinful world gives us an understanding of the true nature of sin so that our desire will be to turn away from sin both here on earth as we learn from our experiences during our lives here and then finally forever when we reach heaven. However, for the moment, I don’t know why that there couldn’t be an easier way to accomplish this.

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        1. If there were a way for us to find out that in fact, there is no purpose for the massive human suffering here on earth, other than as punishment for our ancestors’ disobedience in eating the fruit from a forbidden tree, would that change your opinion about the goodness of God?

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          1. I haven’t studied this topic enough to draw any firm conclusions about it. I prefer to study the Bible one book at a time from start to finish rather than to study by topics. It can take months for me to study one book if I do it as thoroughly as I can. This means looking up key words in a Strong’s Concordance, a Vine’s Expository of the New Testament, Word Studies in the New Testament and using The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Word studies can take an incredible amount of time but doing this also helps to clarify the meaning of a lot of things. I studied in Precept Upon Precept for years and leaned how to study inductively and I can now study on my own although I don’t have a lot of time to put in on this right now.
            However, I think that there are some things that we may not fully understand on this side of eternity no matter how hard we study. When Adam and Eve fell, so did all of creation and this is what we will have to live with until the end of times. I just intend to keep this topic in mind as I study and learn as I go.
            Right now, I’m really into studying alternative medicine which is taking up most of my time and what I’ve learned has been useful. Fortunately, my educational background has been valuable in helping me study this.

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              1. You’ll have to take that up with God. I don’t do His thinking for Him. Whether you approve or do not approve of how God does things, it is His decision, not ours. Hardship along with the sorrows it sometimes brings is an unavoidable part of living in this world and hardship will come no matter what you do or do not believe about God. Hardship tends to produce maturity and depth of character. We’re not put here to party.
                ” My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience (endurance). 4 But let patience (endurance) have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
                End of discussion.

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                1. How confidant are you, 0-100%, that Jesus is God, the ruler of the universe, and therefore in control of all that happens in the universe, including suffering?

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                    1. You are correct, but I am more interested in why you believe what you believe than what you believe. Why do you believe that a man who lived and died 2000 years ago determines whether or not children today suffer?

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                    2. Yeah. And it would be impossible to re-read the conversation. If you’re going to play 20 questions you should at least keep track of the answers.

                      I’ll mention this again since you’ve apparently lost the ability to scroll up through a list of comments: Suffering cannot be blamed on God unless He exists. You should re-think your use of rape as evidence for atheism.

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                    3. I don’t think I have ever claimed that a Creator God does not exist. If I have, please kindly direct me to the page. I am 50/50 on the existence of a Creator God. If there is a Creator God, there are several possible explanations for why he (or she, or they) allows suffering:

                      -he is dead/no longer exists.
                      -he is impotent to do anything about it.
                      -he is indifferent to suffering. He could do something, but doesn’t care to.
                      -he takes pleasure in human suffering.
                      -he cares about human suffering but believes that somehow it is good for us (he is delusional).

                      I don’t think that the historical Jesus as presented in the Gospels would stand by and allow a little girl to be raped. If the Gospel accounts about Jesus are correct, Jesus was a kind, compassionate, and a very brave man. If Jesus were God, I don’t believe he would have allowed this little girl to be gang raped. Therefore, in my opinion, this is evidence that Jesus is either not alive or alive but lacking in supernatural powers. Either case, it is evidence to me that Jesus is not the Creator God.

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                    4. Your 50/50 position on the existence of a Creator God is conveniently non-committal. So far, you have emphasized God’s indifference/omnipotence in regard to human suffering while ignoring the dilemma faced by proponents of atheism. Again: Suffering is an incoherent concept if we’re merely products of a determined universe.

                      Your 5th possible explanation would be the closest to my theological viewpoint (except for the ‘delusional’ part).

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                    5. You’ll have to concede, at least for the sake of argument, that some sort of intelligent Creator exists. Otherwise, as I said, there is no rational way to express “suffering”. It is, like everything else, the result of a determined universe and relative to each individual. We might be able to agree about what suffering “feels like”, but it would be impossible speak about it as being either “good” or “bad”.

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                    6. My argument in the post is that IF Jesus is the omnipotent Creator, it is immoral for him to allow children to suffer by the standards of every civilized country on the planet. I said nothing about the non-existence of a Creator. You seem to have created a Straw man.

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                    7. I was not articulating your argument. I was offering my own point of view. There is no straw man.

                      I’ll try again.
                      1. If an omnipotent Creator does NOT exist, the universe is determined.
                      2. If the universe is determined, right and wrong are subjective in regards to any specific event.
                      3. If right and wrong are subjective, morality is relative to individuals.
                      4. Therefore, suffering is neither moral or immoral in any objective sense.

                      Again – This is my position. I am not erecting a strawman version of YOUR position.

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                    8. I agree with you. Absent a divine “law giver”, humans must determine their own morality. We must be our own law givers. In a universe without a divine law giver, there is no universal “good”, and no universal “bad”. Humans determine what is good and what is bad.

                      If someone chooses to reject the overwhelming human-dictated morality that allowing children to suffer is bad, that is certainly their choice. However, if they themselves inflict suffering on children, they may find themselves in jail or worse.

                      By human standards, if a Creator exists and is capable but unwilling to stop the massive suffering experienced by the world’s children each and every day, he (or she) is guilty of crimes against humanity. He should be arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to an extended period of time in prison, even if in absentia…by the moral standards of civilized human society.

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                    9. “If you choose to reject the overwhelming human dictated morality that allowing children to suffer is NOT bad, that is certainly your choice.”

                      Correct.
                      But it goes even deeper than that. If the universe is determined, I am not CHOOSING to reject morality. I am just doing what molecules do. Consciousness is just a byproduct chemistry. My behavior is a manifestation of complex cosmic interactions set in motion inexplicably at the beginning of time.

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                    10. That may well be, but human herds (societies) don’t really care about your molecules, they care about your behavior in the herd. If you are disruptive to the rules of the herd, you are going to experience some form of discipline from the herd. Humans are a herd animals. What the herd says, goes, like it or not.

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                    11. “…human herds (societies) don’t really care about your molecules, they care about your behavior in the herd.”

                      Herds are also just chemicals doing what chemicals do. The herd cannot choose to be different. The herd’s rules are just as subjective as the individual’s.

                      This is why I’m not interested in discussing morality with people who refuse to acknowledge a divine law-giver. If you don’t think Jesus is qualified, that’s fine. Then you’ll need to tell me who you think is ultimately responsible for human suffering.

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                    12. It is my belief that human suffering can be attributed to one of the following:

                      -a Creator who is either impotent, indifferent, sadistic, or delusional.
                      -a universe based on random mutations, genetic drift, and evolution. In this universe, there is no supreme law giver. Individuals/herds must create their own rules of behavior (morality).

                      Why do you believe so strongly in a Creator God, John?

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                    13. I believe so strongly in a Creator God because a universe without a supreme law giver is irrational. That’s the point I’ve been trying to make all along.

                      You keep suggesting that we can throw out a transcendent (divine) law giver and keep the laws of science, reason, and morality. Again, if you don’t like to use “Jesus” then pick another name. Where do laws come from? How do you explain order and rationality rising up in an irrational (random) universe?

                      I’m not interested in discussing suffering with you as long as your position is “it could be one of the following…” At this point, I’m the only one who has actually stated a position. You’re just waffling.

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                    14. As beings with finite knowledge, isn’t it possible that the best answer to the question of human suffering, at least at this point in time, is: “We don’t know.”?

                      Do you believe that it is wrong for human beings to establish rules of behavior when we don’t know for sure if there is such a thing as absolute right and wrong or if there exists a source or giver of absolute morality? If so, why?

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                    15. As beings with finite knowledge, isn’t it possible that the best answer to the question of human suffering, at least at this point in time, is: “We don’t know.”?
                      – I’ve never considered, “we don’t know” to be a sufficient answer to any question. If that was the best possible answer, we should quit doing science.

                      Do you believe that it is wrong for human beings to establish rules of behavior when we don’t know for sure if there is such a thing as absolute right and wrong or if there exists a source or giver of absolute morality?
                      – The tendency for humans to establish rules of behavior is evidence that right and wrong do actually exist. Again…that is the question I posed to you. If the universe is random where did any “rule” come from? How did rationality arise from irrationality?

                      I’ve answered this question 3 times now.
                      …and you’re still waffling.

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                    16. I’m not waffling. I have given you a clear and concise answer: I don’t know.

                      I’m sorry that answer does not please you, but that is my answer.

                      In my worldview, “right” and “wrong” have no intrinsic meaning outside of the rules created by human herds (societies). I also believe that there are some fundamental rules (morality) that we each possess due to our evolutionary history. Can I prove this worldview to be correct? No. You seem to be insisting that without a “rule giver” it is impossible for humans to create rules of behavior. I disagree.

                      Now, would you like to share with us why you believe so strongly that Jesus of Nazareth is the universal Law Giver?

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                    17. Whether or not your answer “pleases me” is irrelevant. All that matters is whether or not it pleases you.

                      I did not say it is “impossible for humans to create rules of behavior” without a rule giver. In fact, I said the tendency for humans to create rules IS EVIDENCE for a rule giver.

                      I’m not going to answer the question about my beliefs again. I’ve covered it at least twice.

                      In light of your clear, concise answer, I would suggest that you adjust your argument from:
                      “IF Jesus is the omnipotent Creator, it is immoral for him to allow children to suffer by the standards of every civilized country on the planet.”

                      It should be:
                      IF Jesus is the omnipotent Creator, I don’t know if he is immoral for allowing children to suffer.

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                    18. You seem very passionate about your God belief, John. Care to share with us the primary reason for your passionate belief in your God? I realize you have this posted on your blog, but care to share it here with me and my readers?

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  7. You’ll have to concede, at least for the sake of argument, that some sort of intelligent Creator exists.
    Gary has said he does over and over. Wassa matter, Johnny? You struggling with basic comprehension and limited reading skills?

    This seems like a reasonable response to your, ”I’m-not-really-paying-attention” question.
    Yeah. And it would be impossible to re-read the conversation. If you’re going to play 20 questions you should at least keep track of the answers.

    The position Gary takes is that he is okay accepting the possibility of a Creator Deity. ( which presupposes some sort of intelligence.)
    It is your personal Christian deity, and all the multitudinous bullshit theological dogma that causes all the issues.
    Not least of which is the crucial aspect of the blood sacrifice of a 2000 year old narrative construct.

    But Gary is always very amenable on hos blog, so why don’t you show you have just a tad of integrity and demonstrate how you arrive at the belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the ”intelligent Creator” you are obliging Gary to accept.

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