Thursday, June 11, 2009

Really, I'd rather you judge me

There is a question I hear periodically, dealing with our interpersonal relations--we say, "who am I to judge that person?" This is rhetorical, of course, usually indicating an effort to not be judgmental (yes, I realize it is Biblically based, but I do have issues with the way this question is applied). Considering this phrase, it occurred to me recently that I never hear people ask who they are to judge God, though this question seems to be, dare I say, even more solidly founded in scripture, and much weightier, too.

What I do hear is a great deal of concern from people considering Christianity, or monotheism generally, over the rampant and haphazard presence of evil in the world. They find evil to be, well, bad, and reasonably so. But I'm struck by the frequency with which I hear questions like, "why did that happen to them?" or "why is this happening to me?" and the way that people assume these questions are a natural response. They aren't, I take it, rhetorical, but they do carry implications. Specifically, they often suggest that God simply shouldn't allow such things to
occur, i.e., "Why would God let this happen to me; that is wrong." What? Who? Oh, you mean God, the one who spoke the universe into existence, molded the intricacies of your body and the depths of your soul, sustains you with the breath of life and gives you every other good thing you ever had? Yes, how terrible of Him to do something that you neither approve of nor understand.

Now, I'm not trying to be heartless and hopelessly calloused; I just think that it's terribly out of perspective to say that other people can do whatever they bloody well please, but God needs to preclude all unhappy incidents in the lives of "good" people. Someone could say, well, people are people, but if God is perfect and powerful, etc., then we hold Him to a higher standard. This is poor reasoning; in fact it's because of who we are and who he is that talk of us holding him to any standard is nonsense. Sure, there are plenty of practical issues to be taken care of on the ground, but for starters, at least, if you're going to take God seriously, please. take. God. seriously.


karyn said...

Where does this come from? I am so pleased that you have a soapbox preacher hiding beneath that quiet exterior. I say amen, brother. Preach it.

I whole-heartedly vote yes to this blog.

thatoneguy said...

Where does it come from. Pshaw.

karyn said...

Oh, I didn't mean it like that. :) Don't you pshaw me, I'm agreeing with you.

Leisha said...

So good I've been thinking about it for a whole day now.

I appreciate this sentiment very much. I know the temptation to ask the selfish why questions, and the futility of the same. We need only look at the suffering of children to see the incomprehensibility of pain.

On the one hand I start to think it would be ideal if life were more "kharmic" and you could draw a direct line between bad behavior and consequences, but I start to realize what exactly that would mean in my life...and panic.

thatoneguy said...

Sorry Karyn, I was just feeling especially snarky at 11:27am of the 12th (happens a lot lately, actually). But I do appreciate the comments. True story.

Yeah Leisha, justice always sounds so good until it comes to my actions; then it's all about grace :-)