letters to surfers

Question: I see such terrible injustice and suffering in our world that I can no longer believe in a loving God. Have you anything to suggest before I give up on faith?
by Robert Brow   (www.brow.on.ca)

This web site is called Model Theology, and it explores the alternative answers which are given by religions and ideologies - I work with 24 alternatives, of which several such as Original Buddhism, Nazism, Marxism, and Existentialism are atheistic (see God of Many Names). Obviously the terrible wrongs and suffering which you point out are not escaped by any of these.

In rejecting Creative Love Theism (the model which I live by) you would have to sink into life as totally meaningless or adopt one of the other religions and ideologies. There is no proof that God is loving, but in deciding to live as if love is the supreme value of life (which you seem to begin with) you immediately put yourself into giving your own life a meaning. Say you were wrong, and God is really a monster, what would you lose? It is when you commit yourself to love and loving regardless of any proof that God is love that you can begin to do something worthwhile. And if you turned out to be more loving than God, what difference would that make? (that is a form of Pascal's wager).

Of course, anyone who loves gets hurt. Parents hurt their children, children hurt their parents, lovers hurt each other, and we get hurt more than anywhere in a church community. I define love as caring about the freedom of the other. And when you start caring about that you will get hurt a lot, as Jesus was, and anyone else who has done anything worthwhile. No one takes that route with an assured logical faith. But it is when you settle that it is OK to be hurt in loving, and you commit yourself to the freedom of others, that life begins to make sense. And it is at that point that faith in a loving God becomes a possibility. That is certainly not a proof, but it does give a direction for exploration. Anguish about the world's suffering does no good to anyone, reduces you to being a basket case, and it will quickly destroy you. Care about the freedom of one other, and as Solzhenitsin said "the slow upward spiral begins."

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