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Archive for August 25th, 2009

Chapel (c) Lynda Bernhardt***** religious triggers *****

On my blog entry entitled Talking Very Fast When Triggered, a reader posted the following comment:

If I may briefly touch on the subject of religion: I hate to question your beliefs, but I’ll admit that I’m curious about how you reconcile the idea that god is all-powerful, all-merciful, and loving, with the fact that he allows things such as this to occur to innocent children? ~ Lagore

This is a great question, and I have written on issues of faith on my blog a number of times. I wrestled with the answer to this question for many years and finally reached a place of peace within myself.

The book When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner talks about the same thing. If we assume that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, then why do bad things happen to good people?

I think where we go wrong is that we have the expectation that life is about being comfortable and safe and that, if we do X, Y, Z, then God will keep us comfortable and safe. That is contrary to what the Bible has to say:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33

Jesus was very clear that we would “have trouble” in this world, so it is an unrealistic expectation to believe that God is guaranteeing heaven on earth. It simply is not biblical.

The Bible has numerous charges to take care of the widow and orphan (the weakest members of society). When that does not happen, it is not God who failed to act but MAN. I do not believe that God is responsible for the Holocaust. God’s people who failed to act soon enough are accountable. I apply the same principal to child abuse. God has called US to prevent it. At no point did God promise that no innocent will be harmed.

So, then where does God come in? Jesus’ first job description was to heal the brokenhearted. (See Isaiah 61:1.) This assumes that hearts will be broken on earth. God provides the hope of healing and then wants us to extend that hope to others.

I also embrace a belief in reincarnation, which I believe is the missing part of what Christian doctrine teaches. I believe that the point of being on this earth is to learn life lessons that mold us into becoming more like God. I believe that, with each lifetime, we learn different lessons that shape into the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).

The only way to know if those past life lessons have “stuck” is to endure a painful life that would not produce this “fruit” on its own. There was little in my childhood to produce these “fruit” in me, but somehow I grew up to embrace many of these attributes. Where did my compassion come from? I think it came from previous lifetimes. If I can endure a childhood like I had and grow into the person that I am, I believe that this is like a “final exam” of sorts showing that who I am is stronger than my circumstances.

I believe that all of us are one (the “body of Christ”). When I am good and kind to you, I am good and kind to myself as well as to God because we are all intertwined.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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