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Atheist Questioning Why I Should Believe

Discussion in 'Answers' started by Unregistered, Oct 7, 2009.

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  1. Atheist Questioning Why I Should Believe

    Although I am not a Christian, I was born-again for the first 21 years of my life. My intention is not to offend anyone with this post. I do not disrespect your faith or your right to believe what you do. I wouldn't be here, seeking your input, if I did. Also, as a warning, this post should only be read by adults.

    The reason I am posting here? Because I have been an atheist for years now, but I try to be open-minded. I won't lie and pretend that I don't sometimes miss my relationship with God; I do. However, I find it nearly impossible to believe in him anymore, and no matter how hard I have prayed in the past, no answer has been revealed to me. So here I am--not really expecting a life-changing answer, but open to a new perspective, willing to acknowledge a different point of view, if a believer out there has one to offer.

    Why I am an atheist: As a teenager and a young adult, my relationship with God meant everything to me. Nothing in the world mattered so much. Then, when I was 21, I was raped. In my fear and shame, I told no one what had happened to me for a long time. I admit that I was somewhat angry with God at first, but I was more angry with myself, and I turned to God in my time of need. I felt he was all I had, and I clung to his love to get through it. I firmly believed that he would not give me more than I could bear, that he had a plan for me, and I needed to trust in him rather than question this plan, no matter how much pain I was in.

    Then, six weeks later, I found out I was pregnant, and this devastated me. I admit that I considered having an abortion, even though it was against everything I had been taught, but I spent a lot of time praying before I made this decision. In the end, I decided to keep the child. I knew abortion was wrong, no matter what the circumstances. I firmly believed that every life was ordained by God and that what had happened to me wasn’t my daughter’s fault. But that wasn’t what led me to my decision to keep her. Rather, God had given me an unconditional love for the child growing inside of me. I began to see her as a blessing, the one beautiful thing that had come out of that pain. My relationship with God remained strong for the rest of my pregnancy, and I prayed daily for the little one that he had entrusted me with.

    She was beautiful, but she was born unequipped for this world and didn't make it to her second day of life. And it was her death that turned me away from him for good, that made me decide that I could not, and would not, ever believe in God again. It left me with too many questions, and not enough faith to answer them. I turned to the Bible and found no comfort, earnestly tried prayer and found no answers.

    Then, a year after all this happened, I went to a pastor with my questions. He told me that God was blessing me by relieving me of the burden of a child conceived by rape. But that answer only upset me more. If God had the power to "bless" me by taking away a child that in the end I loved more than anything in the world, why did he not have the power to save me from her ever being conceived in the first place?

    Why didn't he cause me to have a miscarriage early on and take her away before I had seen her on the ultrasound, before I had named her or felt her kick, before she was whole enough for me to hold? Why didn't he just let her live and be healthy and help me to raise her to believe in him and do good in this world? It just didn't make sense. I loved my child, but if his plan meant she wasn't to be, then he could have saved us both the suffering and never allowed me to become pregnant in the first place. Afterall, I never chose to do anything that would result in a pregnancy--I was forced.

    The same pastor then told me that God had given his son for me, so would I not be willing to make the same sacrifice and give my daughter if it was asked for by him? The answer is no. Maybe I don't have God's strength. Maybe it's because my daughter's death didn't save anyone. I don't know.

    All I could take from it was one of two things: Either there was no God, or there was one but not the God we conceive of in Christianity, rather just some benign being who has no control over what he created. Because even if there was some ultimate plan that was beyond my understanding, couldn’t it have been achieved just as easily by not ordaining the life of a child I wasn’t supposed to have or by saving the life of a child that I was supposed to have? After all, what came between only impacted me and her. It didn’t make me stronger, and she was taken away before she could have any impact on this world.

    I’m okay now, happy even. It’s been over five years. And I honestly doubt I’ll ever be a Christian again. But if there is someone out there who sees things differently, who understands my question and wants to pose a faith-based answer, I am willing to listen . . .
  2. I see this was posted a few days ago. I hope you are checking back for replies and not thinking we are ignoring you. First, I want to commend you for the decisions you made during an exceedingly difficult and painful time. Your belief in the sanctity of life was put to a severe test, and passed. For you, it was more than an intellectual exercise in morality, it involved your full physical, emotional, and spiritual being immersed in painful experience. To love and then lose that child must have been devastating.

    I don't have any easy answers that will erase the pain or give a logical and satisfying answer to all the "why" questions. Truth is, God works on a scale and timeline we cannot imagine. The Bible tells us that He knows the number and names of all the stars. (Psalm 147:4, Isaiah 40:26) He knows the hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:29, 30, Luke 12:6, 7) and even notices when a sparrow falls to the ground. By one cataclysmic act He redeemed all of mankind for all time, past, present, and future. The atonement was accomplished within three days, a tiny blip in time occurring thousands of years after sin entered into the world, and thousands of years before all of history is wrapped up. What that tells me is that He was not only fully aware of your daughter's death, but that He had her place in His plan all figured out. I believe with all my heart that she completely fulfilled God's place for her in the history of humankind and in His plan. I also believe that she is neither forgotten nor forsaken, but is in His hands, made whole by the redeeming, death-defeating sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus.

    Have you ever had a little child as you "why" questions?
    "Why is the sky blue?"
    "Well, uh, the dust in the air makes it blue."
    "But why?"
    "Dust just scatters blue light....well, except in the evening and morning and under various atmospheric conditions different wavelengths of light are scattered and filtered out and...."
    "But why?"
    "Well, it has to do with the properties of matter, atoms and molecules and of light, photons, uh...and wavelengths and....light wiggles, see, in waves and when these waves hit atoms and molecules they...."
    I think this is kind of how it is when we talk to God about why things happen the way they do. Even if you were a physicist and had studied the interaction of matter and light, how do you explain it to a four year old? Often, when we ask God "why?" I doubt we would understand it even if He painstakingly explained it to us. For me, personally, it is enough to know that God loves me and my future and my forever is secure with Him.

    I'm not going to attempt to argue you back into faith in God and I hope what I have said doesn't appear flippant, trite, or dismissive. You have had a very traumatic experience with a profound impact on your faith. I will pray that God Himself will reveal Himself to you, heal your spirit, and restore your trust in Him.
  3. Wow! What courage it took for you to share this with us.

    My heart cries out to God for you.

    I have NO idea how to satisfactorily answer your question or how to effectively respond, but I am so sorry for your pain.

    Given the doubts you are having towards God this probably won't be much encouragement,
    but all I know to do for you right now is pray. And, that I am sincerely doing.

  4. Hello Atheist, questioning

    My husband showed me your note because he knew I would relate to your words. I had a biblical upbringing and attended churches in my youth but there were big gaps in my exposure to God. One of those gaps was when my mother left and another when my father left (I was abandoned at 12 and running the streets.)
    Eventually I was tagged by the state and put into foster homes, where I was sexually abused.
    I joined a church at age 16, only to be molested and raped by the Pastor. The church elders got together and decided it was my fault and that I had some sort of Jezebel spirit. I was "allowed" to stay in church but instructed not to look any man in the eye lest my evil would entice him. Needless to say, I dutifully faded out of the church scene.
    At age 34, after years of bitterness and bad mistakes, I decided to take my life. I told God that if he was real, he needed to reveal himself to me that day or I was going to drive off a cliff (extra points for stupid here, because there were no cliffs in Florida. It is completely flat!). I was that determined to meet him one way or another and solve the question that had nagged me for most of my life: Is God really real?
    God chose to reveal himself to me that day in a way that not only made me believe, but in a way that lifted all the shame and guilt and misery I had carried off my shoulders and changed my life.
    I am trying not to be too lengthy because I don't want this story to be about me. It is about you and your search for the compassion you should have been given a long time ago.
    Please don't base your conclusions about God on the actions of those who grossly misrepresent him. I think God was standing by, grieved over what was being done to you and he is standing by now, hoping you will let him reveal himself to you, heal your wounds and renew your hope.
    I also believe that if you are willing to give him another chance, he will reveal himself to you in such a way that you can perceive him as real.
    How? Just ask and then listen. There will be something said, or something you see that is personal to you in a way that only God could know.

    Please feel free to send a personal message to my husband Paul's profile and I will provide you with my email address, if you would like to ask any questions or have a private conversation.
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  6. Atheist Questioning,

    I don't know if you like to read, but if you do I reccommend a novel by William P. Young entitled "The Shack."
    It is a wonderful story about the faith struggles of a man after terrible things happen in his life.

    I don't know if it will help you, but although it is fiction it still has a very powerful message of faith, hope, forgiveness and love.

    Again, I am truly sorry for the terrible things you've been through.

    I am praying . . .

  7. I understand that you may be sincerely looking for answers, but this is something that you should take up to a counselor, or another Pastor of a Church. We may be able to voice an opinion, but you need prayer and guidance, we can pray for you, but we are unable to guide you.

    I'm hoping this is a sincere question you are asking. The reason I say this is because I found this same article on other sites. So it's a cut and paste, and maybe you are looking deeply into the hearts of Christians for answers. But trying to find all the answers to such a horrible situation on the Internet through Christian forums, I feel will never take you pain away..

    This article can be found here

    Atheist seeks faith-based perspective - Christian Forums

    The Bible say's:

    Phl 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    The ultimate decision will be yours, and yours alone to make. But understand God does loves you, He wants to have a relationship with you, He wants to help you through your pain. My sister also lost a baby not once but twice, and today she's a God fearing woman. She went through the pain, the guilt, and the questions of asking "why God". But she never lost her faith, she never gave up hope, though she did not understand, she pressed on. All I can ask is that you give God a chance, everything that happens here and now is not always in God's plan.

    God does not want people entering into gangs
    God does not want terrorism around the globe
    God does not want people getting raped
    God does not want marriages to fall apart
    God does not want the innocent to die
    etc etc etc

    But it ALL happens because it's the fruit of 'sin'. Sin has broken our relationship up with our Father in Heaven, it has separated us from Him. Even Creation itself groans in pain because of sin..

    Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

    And for this seperation God sent His only Son Jesus to die on that Old Rugged Cross, to come down from His Heavenly home in Glory, to be mocked at, laughed at, spit upon, beaten, whiped, and to ultimately die..

    Now you may say that seems harsh of God, or how could a loving God do such a thing.. And you're right, how could He? I have an eight year old daughter who I love with all of my heart, and I could never send her off to be killed, it's in my blood to protect her, secure her and I would die in her place instead. So I'm sorry, but I don't have that much love inside me. I can not give up my daughter like that. But God did! Because He loves us that much. And you know, I don't know what kind of love that is; it's a Love nothing on this earth can ever compare to, it's the ultimate Love; to give up a loved one to die for billions. You will not find this love in a marriage, in a relationship with family members, mothers, father, brothers, sisters, children etc. It's a sacrificial love.. And right now He is calling you back home, He wants to comfort your heart, heal your pain and take away your guilt, but you must learn to trust Him, but your faith in Him, honor Him. And I promise you this, once this has been done on your part, one day.. You will see your baby again.. Walking the streets of Heaven welcoming you home with open arms right next to Jesus who died for you..

    Give Him your heart, in return He will give you a hope, a peace, and a love that can never be taken away.

    God Bless you
    I hope you sign up on this site, like you did the other one, I would love to have more fellowship with you and answer any question (within my means) that you may have.

    In His Love
  8. Wow , That is a very complex and very sad life 's story . I really do feel for you but you know what God feels your pain more than I do and because you have hardened your heart towards the things of God , you my friend are in very serious trouble . You see if you remain in that state of mind and know better it is even more dangerous because over time instead of you getting healing from your past you are only fooling yourself by saying you are happy . Maybe you are happy on the outside but I am sure deep down you are suffering.

    The good news is you do not have to remain in this state . Most important is for you to seek out a Bible Believing Church and have people pray for you that these chains of guilt and shame will be released from your life and the bondage that you are feeling discipate. The only one who can do that is Jesus Christ .

    This is Jesus' famous invitation to find true rest from life's struggles in him. Dedication to Christ doesn't mean you'll be burdened with new worries. On the contrary, service to Christ means freedom from guilt and sin.

    Matthew 11:28..... 28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
  9. From orginal poster

    Rumely, thank you for your kind words. You've given me something to think about.

    InHisLove 1, thank you for caring. Whether or not you had an answer is unimportant. Even though I am an unbeliever, I admit that it is comforting to know that you are praying for me.

    InHisLove2, I do love to read. I am, after all, an English teacher. I will the book you recommended on my "to do" list.

    Paul Smith's wife, thank you for your willingness to share your experiences with me. Whatever I decide about my faith, I will carry the strength of your example with me.

    Hrt4Christ, both posts are mine. I orginally submitted the question to this forum, but I did not see it posted for a while, and I figured (as per the guidelines that I read) that it was rejected. So I took my question to another forum. Thank you for your response and for sharing your perspective as someone who loves God and also loves a daughter.

    And I have been to counseling. Accept for spiritually, I really am okay now. (Although I admit that was having a bad day when I wrote this). Maybe I do need to speak to a pastor, but my experiences with that so far have been bad.

    I will have to think about what all of you said, and I don't know what I'm going to do yet . . . where my life is going to go from here. But, if nothing else, you've renewed my faith in the compassion of God's followers, which was somewhat taken away by the pastor I spoke with a few years ago.

    As for renewing my faith in God, which I'm sure is more important to all of you, I'm thinking about it, really. Perhaps I'll pray about it, try once more . . . I don't know yet. I can't make any promises. But thank you all the same.
  10. I need to say to you, that it of all the times i have seen a post with the title like you gave this one, usually they are all the same, "prove to me there is a GOD" or something of that nature. However, as i began to read through your post i saw something completly different.
    I do not see an athiest at all.
    I see a women that Loved the LORD, and I think still, somewhere buried under all that hurt and anger still does. If I am wrong, I am sorry, I do not want to sound as if i know you or what you are going through, because honestly, my Faith has never been tested to that degree.
    But, I do feel alot of pain ,and can actually feel the rationality and kindness in your spirit that just wants to be free from this and have some kind of understanding as to why this happened to you.
    I don't know anymore than you or anyone else does, and i know you know that and are just looking for a possibe explanation that is reasonable. Sometimes, God is not reasonable in our eyes though,sometimes life goes from great and fine with small problems to situations like you had to endure. I know in my heart that there was a reason, but honestly the only thing that hit my heart was the reason for this to happen to you was because your love was great, but maybe HE needs you to love HIM more than that. He needs you to keep trusting HIM and loving HIM after the fact that you just feel you can't anymore. Maybe your love at the time wasn't enugh, because you hadn't been tested with something like this either, and after you were, you turned away, but friend, maybe also if yiou turned back to HIM now, you would find out what the reason is, what the purpose is, and maybe that was the whole purpose to begin with, just like JOB, maybe you are a lot like JOB, and although your love was great, it has to be great enough to withstand it all.
    I love you through HIM, i am Hurting for you through HIM right now, and I pray to GOD that your reason and love that is still there down deep will lead you back to the LORD's love and care for you. Read the book of JOB, please, and i you need someone to talk to feel free to talk to us here, we are not here to ever judge only to loveyou, help you up and share the love of Jesus Christ. Blessings to you friend.
  11. Wow, some pastors need to learn how to admit and say "I don't know. I simply don't know."

    God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. He was getting older and nearing the end of his life. His wife certainly wasn't going to have all those children at her age, it must be too late and God didn't deliver... he didn't have all those descendants yet.... He didn't receive his promised reward until after he died. He died with faith and is now the father of many nations. As Christians, we are his descendants. Hard to accept when we don't see heaven, but it's more than real to Abraham now. The just shall live by faith. Abraham wasn't longing for a city of this world. He had his heart set on pilgrimage. This is all about greater things. About eternity.

    And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. -Hebrews 11:6

    Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? -2 Corinthians 13:5

    Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. -Hebrews 11:1-2

    But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. -Habakkuk 2:4

    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9

    What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
    who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. -Psalm 84:5

    By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

    By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

    By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

    By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

    By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

    All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

    From Hebrews 11
  12. In biblical days, when somthing like this happened, people would turn against God. they didnt deny his exsistence, but chose to no longer worship him, or went to another entity they called a god. Now-a-days its alot harder as God has been 'resting' and we don't see ther supernatural or hear of credible people dealing with God on a regular basis. We're taught that if science cant explain it, it more likely doesnt exsist (in all actuality everything supernatural could be explained scientifically if we were advanced enough; I'm sure 200 years ago a laptop computer with wireless internet would be pretty unexplainable also)

    What I'm getting at is the importance of the teachings in the bible of keeping the faith. Thats one of the most important messages in Christianity. Since you say youre relationship with God was important before, there must be something there. For a lifetime athiest/agnostic, I'd say try it out, what do you have to loose, and see if anything develops, but the only real statement I can give you is; maybe some day you will find God again. It may take years,but it could always happen. I've always had God in my life and sometimes take it for granted,but I've been through the tough, 2 children and divorced at 19, abandoned by the mother, but I never once doubted God. I began to hate the world more and more, but I've always realized God isnt our genie in a bottle. Our reward has to be earned by keeping the faith. If you want instant gratification, start practicing the occult. You will pay for it later. Me, I don't buy into anything that hasnt already been payed for.
  13. Hello Questioning

    Reading over your question again and your answer makes me wonder if you really do believe the path of the athiest. That seems to me just a cover up for you to coat yourself with and appease yourself but I also think you do not believe that there is no God or you would not be here asking the question . Your background suggests otherwise . So in conclusion , you seem like a very confused person .

    And when one is confused ; in the Bible it states the author of confusion is satan not God because God is a God of order, love, and forgiveness. and peace. .... 1 Corinthians 14:33
    33....For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
    As in all the congregations of the saints,

    My word to you would be to search the scriptures and get into the Living Word of God . God will show you your path . As you read the Bible the Holy Spirit will give you a hunger to read more and through the Word ; you will be able to find the true meaning of life and what it is all about . Right now your life is empty and void but if you will let Jesus come into your life , and you are sincere ; it is not complicated but all it takes is a simple prayer of asking Him to direct your path.

    Ask yourself right now where you would be if you died . Would you be in heaven or Hell ? That is something I cannot answer for you . You are the only one who can be honest with yourself.

    Responding to God involves not just repenting of individual sinful acts. It also involves a recognition that our hearts and minds have been corrupted by the world and the devil, "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2).

    We must see the need for a new heart, a different way of thinking, a right spirit and attitude—a transformed mind. We must see that the heart is naturally deceitful and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9). We should desire to replace our mind with the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5).

    So my dear friend , I am asking . What are you waiting for ? Jesus is there knocking at your hearts door . It is up to you to respond.
  14. Why Does God Allow Suffering?

    Has God caused the suffering in the world?

    What issue was raised in the garden of Eden?

    How will God undo the effects of human suffering?

    AFTER a terrible battle in one war-torn land, the thousands of civilian women and children who had been killed were buried in a mass grave surrounded by markers. Each marker bore this inscription: “Why?” Sometimes that is the most painful question of all. People ask it sadly when war, disaster, disease, or crime takes their innocent loved ones, destroys their home, or brings them untold suffering in other ways. They want to know why such tragedies befall them.

    2 Why does God allow suffering? If Jehovah God is all-powerful, loving, wise, and just, why is the world so full of hatred and injustice? Have you ever wondered about these things yourself?

    3 Is it wrong to ask why God allows suffering? Some worry that asking such a question means that they do not have enough faith or that they are showing disrespect for God. When reading the Bible, however, you will find that faithful, God-fearing people had similar questions. For example, the prophet Habakkuk asked Jehovah: “Why is it that you make me see what is hurtful, and you keep looking upon mere trouble? And why are despoiling and violence in front of me, and why does quarreling occur, and why is strife carried?”—Habakkuk 1:3.

    4 Did Jehovah scold the faithful prophet Habakkuk for asking such questions? No. Instead, God included Habakkuk’s sincere words in the inspired Bible record. God also helped him to get a clearer understanding of matters and to gain greater faith. Jehovah wants to do the same for you. Remember, the Bible teaches that “he cares for you.” (1*Peter 5:7) God hates wickedness and the suffering it causes far more than any human does. (Isaiah 55:8,*9) Why, then, is there so much suffering in the world?


    5 People of various religions have gone to their religious leaders and teachers to ask why there is so much suffering. Often, the response is that suffering is God’s will and that he long ago determined everything that would ever happen, including tragic events. Many are told that God’s ways are mysterious or that he brings death upon people—even children—so that he can have them in heaven with him. As you have learned, though, Jehovah God never causes what is bad. The Bible says: “Far be it from the true God to act wickedly, and the Almighty to act unjustly!”—Job 34:10.

    6 Do you know why people make the mistake of blaming God for all the suffering in the world? In many cases, they blame Almighty God because they think that he is the real ruler of this world. They do not know a simple but important truth that the Bible teaches. You learned that truth in Chapter*3 of this book. The real ruler of this world is Satan the Devil.

    7 The Bible clearly states: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1*John 5:19) When you think about it, does that not make sense? This world reflects the personality of the invisible spirit creature who is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9) Satan is hateful, deceptive, and cruel. So the world, under his influence, is full of hatred, deceit, and cruelty. That is one reason why there is so much suffering.

    8 A second reason why there is so much suffering is that, as discussed in Chapter*3, mankind has been imperfect and sinful ever since the rebellion in the garden of Eden. Sinful humans tend to struggle for dominance, and this results in wars, oppression, and suffering. (Ecclesiastes 4:1; 8:9) A third reason for suffering is “time and unforeseen occurrence.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) In a world without Jehovah as a protective Ruler, people may suffer because they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    9 It is comforting for us to know that God does not cause suffering. He is not responsible for the wars, the crimes, the oppression, or even the natural disasters that cause people to suffer. Still, we need to know, Why does Jehovah allow all this suffering? If he is the Almighty, he has the power to stop it. Why, then, does he hold back? The loving God that we have come to know must have a good reason.—1*John 4:8.


    10 To find out why God allows suffering, we need to think back to the time when suffering began. When Satan led Adam and Eve into disobeying Jehovah, an important question was raised. Satan did not call into question Jehovah’s power. Even Satan knows that there is no limit to Jehovah’s power. Rather, Satan questioned Jehovah’s right to rule. By calling God a liar who withholds good from his subjects, Satan charged that Jehovah is a bad ruler. (Genesis 3:2-5) Satan implied that mankind would be better off without God’s rulership. This was an attack on Jehovah’s sovereignty, his right to rule.

    11 Adam and Eve rebelled against Jehovah. In effect, they said: “We do not need Jehovah as our Ruler. We can decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong.” How could Jehovah settle that issue? How could he teach all intelligent creatures that the rebels were wrong and that his way truly is best? Someone might say that God should simply have destroyed the rebels and made a fresh start. But Jehovah had stated his purpose to fill the earth with the offspring of Adam and Eve, and he wanted them to live in an earthly paradise. (Genesis 1:28) Jehovah always fulfills his purposes. (Isaiah 55:10,*11) Besides that, getting rid of the rebels in Eden would not have answered the question that had been raised regarding Jehovah’s right to rule.

    12 Let us consider an illustration. Imagine that a teacher is telling his students how to solve a difficult problem. A clever but rebellious student claims that the teacher’s way of solving the problem is wrong. Implying that the teacher is not capable, this rebel insists that he knows a much better way to solve the problem. Some students think that he is right, and they also become rebellious. What should the teacher do? If he throws the rebels out of the class, what will be the effect on the other students? Will they not believe that their fellow student and those who joined him are right? All the other students in the class might lose respect for the teacher, thinking that he is afraid of being proved wrong. But suppose that the teacher allows the rebel to show the class how he would solve the problem.

    13 Jehovah has done something similar to what the teacher does. Remember that the rebels in Eden were not the only ones involved. Millions of angels were watching. (Job 38:7; Daniel 7:10) How Jehovah handled the rebellion would greatly affect all those angels and eventually all intelligent creation. So, what has Jehovah done? He has allowed Satan to show how he would rule mankind. God has also allowed humans to govern themselves under Satan’s guidance.

    14 The teacher in our illustration knows that the rebel and the students on his side are wrong. But he also knows that allowing them the opportunity to try to prove their point will benefit the whole class. When the rebels fail, all honest students will see that the teacher is the only one qualified to lead the class. They will understand why the teacher thereafter removes any rebels from the class. Similarly, Jehovah knows that all honesthearted humans and angels will benefit from seeing that Satan and his fellow rebels have failed and that humans cannot govern themselves. Like Jeremiah of old, they will learn this vital truth: “I well know, O*Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.”—Jeremiah 10:23.


    15 Why, though, has Jehovah allowed suffering to go on for so long? And why does he not prevent bad things from happening? Well, consider two things that the teacher in our illustration would not do. First, he would not stop the rebel student from presenting his case. Second, the teacher would not help the rebel to make his case. Similarly, consider two things that Jehovah has determined not to do. First, he has not stopped Satan and those who side with him from trying to prove that they are right. Allowing time to pass has thus been necessary. In the thousands of years of human history, mankind has been able to try every form of self-rule, or human government. Mankind has made some advances in science and other fields, but injustice, poverty, crime, and war have grown ever worse. Human rule has now been shown to be a failure.

    16 Second, Jehovah has not helped Satan to rule this world. If God were to prevent horrible crimes, for instance, would he not, in effect, be supporting the case of the rebels? Would God not be making people think that perhaps humans can govern themselves without disastrous results? If Jehovah were to act in that way, he would become party to a lie. However, “it is impossible for God to lie.”—Hebrews 6:18.

    17 What, though, about all the harm that has been done during the long rebellion against God? We do well to remember that Jehovah is almighty. Therefore, he can and will undo the effects of mankind’s suffering. As we have already learned, the ruining of our planet will be undone by the turning of the earth into Paradise. The effects of sin will be removed through faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, and the effects of death will be reversed by means of the resurrection. God will thus use Jesus “to break up the works of the Devil.” (1*John 3:8) Jehovah will bring all of this about at just the right time. We can be glad that he has not acted sooner, for his patience has given us the opportunity to learn the truth and to serve him. (2*Peter 3:9,*10) Meanwhile, God has been actively seeking sincere worshipers and helping them to endure any suffering that may come upon them in this troubled world.—John 4:23; 1*Corinthians 10:13.

    18 Some might wonder, Could all this suffering have been prevented if God had created Adam and Eve in such a way that they could not rebel? To answer that question, you need to remember a precious gift that Jehovah has given you.


    19 As was noted in Chapter*5, humans were created with free will. Do you realize what a precious gift that is? God has made countless animals, and these are driven largely by instinct. (Proverbs 30:24) Man has made some robots that can be programmed to follow every command. Would we be happy if God had made us like that? No, we are glad to have the freedom to make choices about what kind of person to become, what course of life to pursue, what friendships to form, and so on. We love to have a measure of freedom, and that is what God wants us to enjoy.

    20 Jehovah is not interested in service performed under compulsion. (2*Corinthians 9:7) To illustrate: What would please a parent more—a child’s saying “I love you” because he is told to say it or his saying it freely from the heart? So the question is, How will you use the free will that Jehovah has given you? Satan, Adam, and Eve made the worst possible use of free will. They rejected Jehovah God. What will you do?

    21 You have the opportunity to put the marvelous gift of free will to the best possible use. You can join the millions who have taken a stand on Jehovah’s side. They make God rejoice because they take an active part in proving Satan a liar and a miserable failure as a ruler. (Proverbs 27:11)

    What Is the Truth About God?

    Does God really care about you?

    What is God like? Does he have a name?

    Is it possible to get close to God?

    HAVE you ever noticed the way children ask questions? Many start asking as soon as they learn to speak. With wide, eager eyes, they look up at you and ask such things as: Why is the sky blue? What are the stars made of? Who taught the birds to sing? You may try hard to answer, but it is not always easy. Even your best answer may lead to yet another question: Why?

    2 Children are not the only ones who ask questions. As we grow up, we keep asking. We do this in order to find our way, to learn of dangers that we need to avoid, or to satisfy our curiosity. But many people seem to stop asking questions, especially the most important ones. At least, they stop searching for the answers.

    3 Think about the question on the cover of this book, the questions raised in the preface, or those at the beginning of this chapter. These are some of the most important questions you can ask. Yet, many people have given up trying to find the answers. Why? Does the Bible have the answers? Some feel that its answers are too hard to understand. Others worry that asking questions could lead to shame or embarrassment. And some decide that such questions are best left to religious leaders and teachers. What about you?

    4 Very likely you are interested in getting answers to life’s big questions. No doubt you sometimes wonder: ‘What is the purpose of life? Is this life all there is? What is God really like?’ It is good to ask such questions, and it is important that you do not give up until you find satisfying, reliable answers. The famous teacher Jesus Christ said: “Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you.”—Matthew 7:7.

    5 If you “keep on seeking” for answers to the important questions, you will find that the search can be very rewarding. (Proverbs 2:1-5) Despite what other people may have told you, there are answers, and you can find them—in the Bible. The answers are not too hard to understand. Better yet, they bring hope and joy. And they can help you to live a satisfying life right now. To begin, let us consider a question that has troubled many people.


    6 Many people think that the answer to that question is yes. ‘If God cared,’ they reason, ‘would not the world be a very different place?’ We look around and see a world full of war, hatred, and misery. And as individuals, we get sick, we suffer, we lose loved ones in death. Thus, many say, ‘If God cared about us and our problems, would he not prevent such things from happening?’

    7 Worse yet, religious teachers sometimes lead people to think that God is hardhearted. How so? When tragedy strikes, they say that it is God’s will. In effect, such teachers blame God for the bad things that happen. Is that the truth about God? What does the Bible really teach? James 1:13 answers: “When under trial, let no one say: ‘I am being tried by God.’ For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.” So God is never the source of the wickedness you see in the world around you. (Job 34:10-12) Granted, he does allow bad things to happen. But there is a big difference between allowing something to happen and causing it.

    8 For example, think about a wise and loving father with a grown son who is still living at home with his parents. When the son becomes rebellious and decides to leave home, his father does not stop him. The son pursues a bad way of life and gets into trouble. Is the father the cause of his son’s problems? No. (Luke 15:11-13) Similarly, God has not stopped humans when they have chosen to pursue a bad course, but he is not the cause of the problems that have resulted. Surely, then, it would be unfair to blame God for all the troubles of mankind.

    9 God has good reasons for allowing mankind to follow a bad course. As our wise and powerful Creator, he does not have to explain his reasons to us. Out of love, however, God does this. You will learn more about these reasons in Chapter*11. But rest assured that God is not responsible for the problems we face. On the contrary, he gives us the only hope for a solution!—Isaiah 33:2.

    10 Furthermore, God is holy. (Isaiah 6:3) This means that he is pure and clean. There is no trace of badness in him. So we can trust him completely. That is more than we can say for humans, who sometimes become corrupt. Even the most honest human in authority often does not have the power to undo the damage that bad people do. But God is all-powerful. He can and will undo all the effects that wickedness has had on mankind. When God acts, he will do so in a way that will end evil forever!—Psalm 37:9-11.


    11 In the meantime, how does God feel about what is going on in the world and in your life? Well, the Bible teaches that God is “a lover of justice.” (Psalm 37:28) So he cares deeply about what is right and what is wrong. He hates all kinds of injustice. The Bible says that God “felt hurt at his heart” when badness filled the world in times past. (Genesis 6:5,*6) God has not changed. (Malachi 3:6) He still hates to see the suffering that is taking place worldwide. And God hates to see people suffer. “He cares for you,” the Bible says.—1*Peter 5:7.

    12 How can we be sure that God hates to see suffering? Here is further proof. The Bible teaches that man was made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26) We thus have good qualities because God has good qualities. For example, does it bother you to see innocent people suffer? If you care about such injustices, be assured that God feels even more strongly about them.

    13 One of the best things about humans is our ability to love. That also reflects God. The Bible teaches that “God is love.” (1*John 4:8) We love because God loves. Would love move you to end the suffering and the injustice you see in the world? If you had the power to do that, would you do it? Of course you would! You can be just as sure that God will end suffering and injustice. The promises mentioned in the preface of this book are not mere dreams or idle hopes. God’s promises are sure to come true! In order to put faith in such promises, though, you need to know more about the God who has made them.


    14 If you want someone to get to know you, what might you do? Would you not tell the person your name? Does God have a name? Many religions answer that his name is “God” or “Lord,” but those are not personal names. They are titles, just as “king” and “president” are titles. The Bible teaches that God has many titles. “God” and “Lord” are among them. However, the Bible also teaches that God has a personal name: Jehovah. Psalm 83:18 says: “You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” If your Bible translation does not contain that name, you may want to consult the Appendix on pages*195-7 of this book to learn why that is so. The truth is that God’s name appears thousands of times in ancient Bible manuscripts. So Jehovah wants you to know his name and to use it. In a sense, he is using the Bible to introduce himself to you.

    15 God gave himself a name that is full of meaning. His name, Jehovah, means that God can fulfill any promise he makes and can carry out any purpose he has in mind. God’s name is unique, one of a kind. It belongs only to him. In a number of ways, Jehovah is unique. How is that so?

    16 We saw that Psalm 83:18 said of Jehovah: “You alone are the Most High.” Similarly, Jehovah alone is referred to as “the Almighty.” Revelation 15:3 says: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity.” The title “the Almighty” teaches us that Jehovah is the most powerful being there is. His power is unmatched; it is supreme. And the title “King of eternity” reminds us that Jehovah is unique in another sense. He alone has always existed. Psalm 90:2 says: “Even from time indefinite to time indefinite [or, forever] you are God.” That thought inspires awe, does it not?

    17 Jehovah is also unique in that he alone is the Creator. Revelation 4:11 reads: “You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.” Everything that you can think of—from the invisible spirit creatures in heaven to the stars that fill the night sky to the fruit that grows on the trees to the fish that swim in the oceans and rivers—all of it exists because Jehovah is the Creator!


    18 Reading about Jehovah’s awe-inspiring qualities makes some people feel a little uneasy. They fear that God is too high for them, that they could never get close to him or even matter to such a lofty God. But is this idea correct? The Bible teaches just the opposite. It says of Jehovah: “In fact, he is not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27) The Bible even urges us: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”—James 4:8.

    19 How can you draw close to God? To begin with, continue doing what you are doing now—learning about God. Jesus said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Yes, the Bible teaches that learning about Jehovah and Jesus leads to “everlasting life”! As already noted, “God is love.” (1*John 4:16) Jehovah also has many other beautiful and appealing qualities. For example, the Bible says that Jehovah is “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.” (Exodus 34:6) He is “good and ready to forgive.” (Psalm 86:5) God is patient. (2*Peter 3:9) He is loyal. (Revelation 15:4) As you read more in the Bible, you will see how Jehovah has shown that he has these and many other appealing qualities.

    20 True, you cannot see God because he is an invisible spirit. (John 1:18; 4:24; 1*Timothy 1:17) By learning about him through the pages of the Bible, however, you can come to know him as a person. As the psalmist said, you can “behold the pleasantness of Jehovah.” (Psalm 27:4; Romans 1:20) The more you learn about Jehovah, the more real he will become to you and the more reason you will have to love him and feel close to him.

    21 You will come to understand why the Bible teaches us to think of Jehovah as our Father. (Matthew 6:9) Not only does our life come from him but he wants the best life possible for us—just as any loving father would want for his children. (Psalm 36:9) The Bible also teaches that humans can become Jehovah’s friends. (James 2:23) Imagine—you can become a friend of the Creator of the universe!

    22 As you learn more from the Bible, you may find that some well-meaning people will urge you to stop such studies. They may worry that you will change your beliefs. But do not let anyone stop you from forming the best friendship you can ever have.

    23 Of course, there will be things that you do not understand at first. It can be a little humbling to ask for help, but do not hold back because of embarrassment. Jesus said that it is good to be humble, like a little child. (Matthew 18:2-4) And children, as we know, ask a lot of questions. God wants you to find the answers. The Bible praises some who were eager to learn about God. They checked carefully in the Scriptures to make sure that what they were learning was the truth.—Acts 17:11.

    24 The best way to learn about Jehovah is to examine the Bible. It is different from any other book.

    NB: Speak to Jehovah's Witnesses, They have helped me understand what the bible teaches about God.
  15. If you ever come back to look at the replies I hope this helps...

    1 The righteous perish,
    and no one ponders it in his heart;
    devout men are taken away,
    and no one understands
    that the righteous are taken away
    to be spared from evil.

    2 Those who walk uprightly
    enter into peace;
    they find rest as they lie in death. Isaiah 57:1-2

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