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Posted: 9/12/2010 6:06:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/12/2010 6:08:36 PM EDT by Code4AR]
First, I will say that I was raised in a Southern Baptist home. My mother made sure I went to church every Sunday for years and years. At about 16 or 17, I quit going. I honestly felt as though the entire congregation was full of hypocrites (do as I say, not as I do every night type people). At the time, even though I did not go to church, I still believed in God and prayed quite frequently.

Now fast forward to now. I have been in Emergency Services for the last 8 years (with 3 years prior to that as a Fire Explorer). I was a Firefighter and an EMT-IV from Sept 2002-Jan 2007, a 911 Dispatcher from Aug 2004-Jan 2007, and now I've been a police officer since July 2007. In my time in Emer. Svcs., I have seen more death, more pain, more suffering, and more evil then I ever would care to admit. I have seen everything from a 10 week old to a 95 year old die in all sorts of ways, all before my very eyes. I have met some of the nicest and most sincere people, and I deal with some of the scummiest of scum on an almost daily basis.

My first question, having seen everything I have seen, How can there be a God? I sincerely want to know how there can be a God that can allow the deaths of so many innocents in so many horrific ways. As you see above, I left Fire/EMS/911 all in Jan 2007, Jan 3rd to be exact. The reason behind it was I had had enough. On December 24, 2006, at 0400hrs on the dot, we were sent to a residence where there was a 10 week old baby not breathing. A friend of mine arrived first and I was hot on his heels behind him. There were close to 20 people showed up on that scene with medical training, everything from First Responder, EMT-B, EMT-IV, and Paramedics (3 ambulance crews mixed in with our Fire guys). We did every thing humanly possible to save that child, to no avail. I couldn't take it, and from that day forward, I was done. I ached from the pain I felt from seeing a child, no, an infant, die in our hands. The mother had rolled over him in her sleep.

Jan 3rd, I quit everything and moved about 400 miles away from my lifelong hometown to start over. In July 2007, I got hired as a LEO, with the sincere hopes of not having to do any of that again. The damage had already been done, as I had months and months of nightmares and quickly pushed myself away from everyone I loved. When I got hired, I actually sat down with my Sergeant and asked if he could talk about what had happened, as I couldn't talk about it with anyone else. He agreed, and I literally broke down in front of a man I barely knew. He was a great friend for those few minutes, as he didn't judge me and didn't poke fun, he took everything in and then asked if I had found a church or anything where I'm living. He then recommended his church and said that he had a bunch of guys that were down to earth, non-judgmental guys that hang out on a regular basis and just happen to have a mutual connection through God.

After my experiences with my previous church, I decided that for the time being, I didn’t want to go that route just yet. I still didn’t know how a God could exist after taking so many lives from my hands, knowing full well that I had given 110% to every patient/victim that I had ever treated, and they still died. (In the entire time I was an EMT-IV, I never once had a patient in cardiac arrest that survived after CPR) Anyways, right around the first of 2008, I saw a psychologist, who basically acknowledged that I blamed myself for the loss of the infant, and that I essentially fit the profile for PTSD, so I got prescribed happy pills, and that was that. But my questions have still not been answered.

How can there be a God that takes so many lives, and always seems to punish those that try their best and give their entire lives to everyone else? How can there be a God, when all you see anymore is more and more violence, more and more drugs, more and more murder, all for nothing? How can there be a God that allowed thousands of people to die 9 years ago when the persons responsible thought it was in His name?

Don’t take this as an attempt to say I’m burned out, or need a vacation, I just want to know, how can there be a God with all that? I would love to say that if I heard excellent reasons for each of my questions, that I will attempt to find my way into religion again, but I can’t do that just yet.

I’m sorry for taking up so much of your time in this long post, but it has been weighing on me for quite some time, and I figure where better to ask then the greatest congregation of unique and individual minds in the world (Arfcom). Thank you in advance, as I know this is a lot to work from.
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 6:38:00 PM EDT
Brother, I've often wondered that myself––especially after spending much of the last four years seeing some of the same things you have on a daily basis.

I don't have a perfect answer for you, and I don't think there is one. My personal belief is that all of the bad is simply a test of faith, of resolve. God confronts us with all of this bad, all of this evil, in an effort to test our faith in Him. Even when we are overcome with darkness, evil, and perversion, we who are the strongest will still believe that God is a just and fair God, or even that God is.

I must make the disclaimer that I'm not a "devout" Christian in the sense of going to church, having read the Bible cover to cover, or even always living according to His principles. These are my personal beliefs, right or wrong, and I freely share them with you in hopes that you find your peace, if not salvation.

Good luck, and thanks for being on the TBL.
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 7:20:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Code4AR:
First, I will say that I was raised in a Southern Baptist home. My mother made sure I went to church every Sunday for years and years. At about 16 or 17, I quit going. I honestly felt as though the entire congregation was full of hypocrites (do as I say, not as I do every night type people). At the time, even though I did not go to church, I still believed in God and prayed quite frequently.

So basically you thought that church was for holy people like yourself instead of sinners who needed to be there. That surely must have been your attitude back then instead of how Christ calls you to look at others: "take the beam out of your own eye before you remove the speck from your brother's eye." Sadly, it is a very common affliction among Christians, and some of the people you viewed as hypocrites may have thought the same thing about you.

Now fast forward to now. I have been in Emergency Services for the last 8 years (with 3 years prior to that as a Fire Explorer). I was a Firefighter and an EMT-IV from Sept 2002-Jan 2007, a 911 Dispatcher from Aug 2004-Jan 2007, and now I've been a police officer since July 2007. In my time in Emer. Svcs., I have seen more death, more pain, more suffering, and more evil then I ever would care to admit...

My first question, having seen everything I have seen, How can there be a God? I sincerely want to know how there can be a God that can allow the deaths of so many innocents in so many horrific ways.

You lost your faith because you focused on the evil in the world instead of focusing on Christ. Who God is conflicts with who you think He should be. This is one of the easiest and most common ways to lose your faith. I would recommend reading C.S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain, as he delves into the exact problem you are dealing with, recounting how it reared its head in his life when he was an atheist and later when he was a Christian. It is not a difficult read. It may help explain some things, as I can tell from how you phrase your question that you have serious misunderstandings about the nature of God.

I would love to say that if I heard excellent reasons for each of my questions, that I will attempt to find my way into religion again, but I can’t do that just yet.

Finding your way "into religion" is useless unless you choose to recommit your life to Christ. Just going through the motions in church is not sufficient. Doing so because you love Christ and want to adore Him and serve Him is the right attitude.

I’m sorry for taking up so much of your time in this long post, but it has been weighing on me for quite some time

That's because the Holy Spirit hasn't given up on you, even though you have given up on Him. I will be praying for you.
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 9:49:13 PM EDT
The bible doesn't specifically address why infants die, but it addresses in the first book why death is in the world. The remaining books describe the nature of God and you will learn there is a purpose in all things though you may not understand them. I would suggest you look for an answer to the question, "Why did God let his own son die a cruel death?" You may gain some insight into the nature of God and to the questions you have.

Either way, there will be a time where infants will no longer die or suffer pain, God has promised this.
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 10:49:40 PM EDT



I don't have an answer for you... I have asked myself the same thing and haven't come any closer to a answer. But I will be praying for you!
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:12:52 AM EDT
Our stories start similarly in that I was raised baptist and gave it up. I'm not a christian so perhaps I am not the best person to answer your question but I thought that I would give it a shot from the christian perspective because I struggled with some of this and came to terms with it over time. The following is how I understand it in pretty generic terms:

The reason so many bad things can happen is because people have free will. While the things you described are atrocities, they are happeing to people made of flesh and blood. Christians believe that this life is more or less a test to determine whether or not you will have ever lasting life in heaven. For those two reasons, horrible things can happen to good people. To me, it was always tough to listen to people act as if god has a plan for your life because that implies that the baby you referenced was never intended to live more than 10 months and that we don't have free will. This doesn't make sense to me, but to each his own.

Also, the terrorist attacks you referenced didn't believe in a christian god. They believe in Allah, the ''one god'' of the muslim faith of Islam. The Qur'an clearly states that all faiths except for Islam need to be eradicated by any means necessary. The terrorists used the Qur'an, which they believe is literally the word of god verbatim, to justify their actions. So, don't let the actions of 09/11 deter your faith because it wasn't the god of christianity that they were following.

In the end, more people have died in the name of god than for any other cause (including oil for all of the liberals reading in the religion forum). Not necessarilly the christian god, but god as those who were fighting the war saw it. 09/11 was no different. It was a horrible crime against humanity, but it was only a small fraction of a percent of the total death toll as a result of a holy war.

I haven't read the other posts yet, but I would recommend to stay out of a church for a while until you come to terms with some of your questions. You already know what you will hear from the church that you grew up in (pray, keep the faith, god tests us in mysterious ways etc.), and none of it will help you until you come to terms with your beliefs. If you are near a city with a jesuit college you might consider going to volunteer with some of the old jesuits. Some of them are pretty cool and they are religous scholars that have studied many religions for their entire life (at least this was my experience with them when I was in college). They usually sit around and play chess or something (having the occassional drink in the evening) and you might get an intersting perspective from them.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 4:01:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 9:21:41 PM EDT by T1NMAN]
We recognize evil, destruction, death, violence, injustice, tragedy....not because they are meaningless aspect of life that we simply need to acclimated to...but because we understand that there must be something better!
Sometimes its easy to lose sight of God because of all the suffering around us when in truth.....all the suffering is caused by the absence of God.
The curse for rebellion and sin is death...death and suffering are the payment for rejection our Creator.....

But he did not leave us rejected!
Enter Jesus! hope for the sinner....the Cure for the sickness!
Not just a fix for the symptoms of sin that we see every day....but a cure for the disease that is in each of our hearts.
The Bible tells us that God sees it all...every suffering Child in His creation...every victim of poverty and sickness...and He will return to make things right....to bring and end to suffering.

But for Him to crush the disease of sin he must bring judgment to sinners...since all men have sinned and fallen short of Gods standard of perfection....God sent a perfect substitute a perfect antidote for sinners Jesus Christ...God in the Flesh "Emanuel".... God with us!
His message is "believe on me..turn from sin..repent and believe that the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross is enough...and follow me go into the world and make a difference for me in my name!
If all you can give is cold water...give it in Jesus Name and it will not be a small thing...because it will represent such a great Thing!
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:00:36 PM EDT
I know you are having a tough time and I don't have any easy answers for you. We live in a fallen world and it is really messed up.
It wasn't supposed to be like this, but God had a plan to fix it. What amazes me is not that God allows bad things to happen in
this world, but that he has put up with us for this long. If it was me I would have burned this rock clean a long time ago. Thank God
for his grace and mercy.

Jhn 3:16- "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jhn 3:17- "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Jhn 3:18- "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Jhn 3:19- "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Jhn 3:20- "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
Jhn 3:21- "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 7:24:23 PM EDT
This may seem odd, but it's OK to pray for yourself first. It's not selfish.
Some, if not many, people who are the type that are 'first-line' find it extremely difficult to let others take the burden, even for Christ to take it for them.
But, that's what He said He'd do.

Maybe you could ask Him to do that for you.
Then ask to be led to a church.

A Christian counselor might also be of help.

God is there.
Christ is ready to take your burden.
The Holy Spirit will affirm all this and give you the Peace you seek.

Link Posted: 9/15/2010 3:27:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2010 3:30:51 PM EDT by 4runner4]
Also, you may want to consider your perspective on a more macro or eternal level. Not trying to minimize death and suffering - but in perspective of eternity this life is less than a blink in our eternal existence. Bad things happen to us on earth because we are cursed and we chose man's path and not God's in the beginning. We had it our way and it stinks.

But the good news is we are headed for death to release us from the suffering and usher us into a new existence where the tears will be gone. Remember Paul said he was longing to die and to be with the Lord and instead of putting up with all of this life's trash.

Pastor Ed Lutzer is doing a sermon on the radio this week regarding going to heaven. He's also written a book called One Minute After We Die. I've read it and this sounds like what everyone really wanted from the beginning. Love and no suffering. Death is portal to a new beginning, not an ending!

Remember: We are Spiritual Beings with Bodies; not just Bodies with Spirits.

Also remember that our current bodies are sinful and cursed - these bodies are not worthy of an eternal existence. They got to go. And older you get the more you will agree. I'm excited about 4runner4 Part Deux

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