Friday, January 11, 2013

Losing Your Faith over Tragedy? Maybe You Weren't Paying Attention to the Bible

I read a post today where someone was commenting about how shaking it was to his faith to see the killing of the children in Massachusetts. Indeed, what an awful thing to behold. Everyone I knew, including myself, could not stop shedding tears that day and for some time after it. But at the cost of sounding callous, which is perhaps the greatest sin one can commit these days in modern Westerner folk religion, why would it cause anyone to lose his faith in Christianity? Why do some people say things that indicate they almost lose their faith in light of great tragedies in life?

I understand the emotion that goes on, but emotion is irrational. Faith should be more than an emotional tie to God that one has until what He allows or does conflicts with our modern "health and wealth in this worldly sense" folk religion.

I almost wonder if it is the average, comfortable Westerner, who sits in his Lazyboy, sipping his cup of coffee and relaxing by a fire as he reads a good book, who has the most problem with tragic disruptions in life.

It's like the movie star who can't handle someone telling him to turn off his IPad or that he has to sit in first class. The indulgence in luxury, and his thinking that life should look a certain way if all is right and good, causes an intolerance toward anything that is not luxurious and according to his concept of right and wrong.

In the same way, when tragedy occurs, it can have a deep impact on everyone, but I think it has a far greater chance of caving in the unbiblical faith of those who haven't bothered to really believe what the Bible says about God, humanity, the ruin of this world, and the hope of the kingdom without end. This is largely so because, like the movie star who doesn't live in the real world, he doesn't live in the real world either. If one believes the Bible, the real world is described by the Bible and true Christianity. If one truly believes that, he lives in it. The experience of what the Bible describes as true concerning reality in this world is horrible, but why would it be shocking if we know that's the way the world is? And why in the world would it shake one's faith in the Bible if the Bible described the world to be exactly that way? What is faith shaking when the Scripture has already told us what God is like, why evil exists, why God allows it to endure?

In other words, although claiming to be Christians, these people aren't really Christians at all, so of course, their faith in a wobbly-legged concept of God, man, the world, and the eschaton is shaken, precisely because it isn't true to life. When you take them out of their comfy recliner and let them see what things are really like, they have trouble making sense of it with their bogus folk religion that has only been disguised as Christianity.

I have emotional problems with tragedy when I experience them because seeing evil is much worse than hearing about it. But I have no intellectual problem with tragedy. I know why it exists, who God is that He would not only allow but use it, why the world is ruined, why we need to look toward the coming kingdom instead, etc. The Bible answers all of those questions for us. It's a matter of believing it over our folk religions that say otherwise.

There is no promise by God that little children will not die. There is no promise of God to preserve this world. There is no doctrine that sees the world as we have it in this age as good. There is no teaching that says the eschaton has fully been realized here in this world. What kind of God would allow children to be killed? The God of the Bible, because this isn't the new world. It's the kingdom of men who wish to be gods. So you get their rule and both their chaos-making and impotency against thwarting that same chaos in this world. If my emotions are kicked up enough to blame God when we've created a horrible environment of death and destruction, then they are simply making me irrational and distorting reality. But I would only know that reality is being distorted if I knew what reality was. I can only get that from God Himself through His Word. If I fail to pay attention to it, I'm doomed to the easily disassembled folk religion of the masses.

The good news is that God has come into this chaotic world to call His people out of it, to draw them to the kingdom to come, the eternal kingdom where chaos is subdued en toto. He did not prevent the chaos of this world from touching His Son, but rather let it fully encompass Him, even to the point of death, for His good purposes. He is sovereign even over this, but that sovereignty does not dictate that He must prevent tragedy. It only dictates that, if He tolerates it, it must be for the working of good, which is in accordance with His nature. There is nothing to suggest in tragedy that He is not doing so. Hence, there is nothing in tragedy that should disrupt our faith in Christianity, as it has been foretold to us that it will occur and told to us why it occurs.

If it does disrupt, rather than build your faith in what has been said in the Bible about God, humanity, this ruined world, and the necessity in having hope in the one to come, then maybe you don't believe Christianity in the first place? Maybe tragedy should shake your faith, and when it is removed from "Peace and Comfort" folk religion, you might want to think about trying Biblical Christianity out for awhile. But I'm not going to allow you to give us a bait and switch in discussing tragedy. When you say that we should have our faith shaken, speak for yourself. Your faith is different than mine, and my faith predicted and explains this. Your recliner religion doesn't. So be it, but let's not confuse the two and immediately indict every Christian on the planet for believing in the midst of tragedy, since that is exactly what they believe will occur in the world according to the Bible they believe.

1 comment:

  1. "But at the cost of sounding callous, which is perhaps the greatest sin one can commit these days in modern Westerner folk religion, why would it cause anyone to lose his faith in Christianity?"

    A greater sin in modern Westerner folk religion is affirming the transcendent teaching of God's Word that same-sex behavior is sin.

    Eg., Louie Giglio not praying anymore at Obama's second inauguration.

    Some people refuse to become followers of Christ if they think that Bible-believing Christians have to affirm this teaching.