Wednesday, September 10, 2008

No Thanks, God

A blog reader wrote the following comment to me. I thought I should post my answer here to share with others so that those of you who are still talking to me about God saving me will see where I stand on this issue.

Shin-
I don't get that question often but when I do I try to offer insight from other's words.
"Think about the life of Jesus. He did nothing but good for people. He healed the sick and cast out demon spirits who tormented the thoughts of people. Yet no matter how much good He did in His life He was still crucified. Jesus came so we would have the Holy Spirit in our lives. A good Spirit that tells us the truth about our present situation. A Holy Spirit that is our guide so that in everything we go through we might gain understanding through our ability to believe that God can and will help us no matter what cancer might do to destroy our lives.

Why does God allow cancer? God hates cancer! Cancer is the result of Satan's power to hurt people in the world. God is ready and able to help us fight. Even if the fight leads us to death, God promises us that He will reward us in Heaven for the pain we have endured. We are His Christian soldiers. Soldiers who fight against Satan and this evil world. God takes the evil of cancer and He shows how our determination through everything we suffer is an example to others what God can do in our lives even when the prognosis is bad. God changes the lives of our friends and family when they see that we will not let go of our faith no matter what happens to us."

I pray this encourages you. Please know that if you believe in Him, he will give you everlasting life. This world is not your home. God is able, stephanie

Here is my answer:

Stephanie,

Jesus might have been a good guy but there have been many, many good people throughout history who have sacrificed far more than he. He wasn't given a choice. Nelson Mandela, Xanana Gusmao, Mother Theresa, even people I personally know who are not famous have sacrificed a lot more than Jesus - with choice, unlike Jesus. So I have to say I'm not that impressed with Jesus or what he did for anybody under duress, without choice.

If God hates cancer and cancer is Satan's power, then if follows logically that Satan is more powerful than God since cancer exists. Hmmm.

God will let Satan's cancer kill us but that's okay because he will reward us in heaven for the pain we suffered. Sorry. Not good enough. I don't want any rewards in heaven. I want to be with my husband and my kids here on Earth. There is absolutely nothing, nothing that God can offer me in heaven that I'd prefer to being with my family here on Earth. So I resent that this supreme being is telling me what I should want.

I don't want everlasting life. That's greedy and selfish, vague and obscure. What IS everlasting life anyway? What do you do with it? This world IS my home. It's a beautiful world, despite all the problems. I don't want something else.

I think people want something else, seek something else, when they're not happy with what they have in front of them. Well, I'm quite happy with what I have in front of me, even with cancer. So I'm not asking for anything else. I don't need God to be happy or strong. I have the love of family and friends to help me through this, but most of all, I have me. I believe I have inner strength that no God, friend, or family member can give me. I believe I have it within myself.

You say that God "shows how our determination through everything we suffer is an example to others what God can do in our lives even when the prognosis is bad." I think I'm an example of what the strength of the human spirit and love can do, without God. I don't need to give credit to something external to me or lean on something outside of myself.

I understand that some people think they need God. But I wonder if some of these people could find strength within themselves instead. I wonder if God is just a crutch.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shin -
You asked me to respond to why I close all of my posts with "God is able". I respect where you are in your journey and it is just that... your journey. First and foremost, I am very happy with the crutch Christ left me; FAITH. You compared three people who in your opinion suffered more than Christ. I find it ironic that all 3 were either Christian or Catholic. Their faith is their legacy.

Shin, I don't visit your blog to try to convert you or offend you. What ever spirit or inner strength that helps you continue to fight for your gift of life I pray that it will continue to give you peace and strength to continue to fight against this beast breast cancer. I repect you as a mother, and breast cancer survivor and I repect your opinion even in contrast to my beliefs. I admit that I do need God and boy I am weak! Most Christians believe in heaven and that's why I said this place is not my home. I'm not happy with what's in front of me and that's why I believe in eternal life; a world better than what we have now. The three "good people" you referred to believed as I do. I don't visit your site to defend my faith; but I will. If you don't want me to come here anymore I'll respect that too. For me... God is able, stephanie

Anonymous said...

Shin,

Do you have any side effects from whole brain radiation?

MAM

Shin said...

MAM,

Luckily, I have felt no side-effects from my whole brain radiation, other than hair loss.

I've been a bit tired lately but I think that's due to the insomnia caused by the anti-convulsant drugs and steroids I've been put on since I had my seizures on August 17.

And you?

Shin said...

Stephanie,

Hey, it didn't even occur to me that the three people I mentioned were Christians! I guess that's a pretty good argument for people finding strength through God.

I'm honored that you visit my blog and I don't feel at all offended or feel that you're trying to convert me. Even if you WERE trying to convert me, I wouldn't find it offensive as some anti-religion people do. I have many friends who are Christian, plus three family members who are ordained pastors. I know they want what they think is best for me. How can I be angry about that?

Please continue to visit my blog. Please continue to share your faith and defend your faith. I probably have more friends and family who agree with you than with me.

And by the way, you've earned my respect by being steadfast to your own faith without denigrating my very different views. Some Christians are not as... "Christian" when faced with differing opinions.

Anonymous said...

Shin, I certainly don't have enough knowledge on religion to give an educated reply to this blog entry. But what I do find ironic is that the amount of times I have heard "It is God's will" in response to something happening...from children getting cancer to freak weather causing deaths. But then there is also the Satan camp who put the blame of these things on him.........
Lovely to have seen you today honey.
Sasha xxx

Doubting Thomas Tang said...

Hi Shin,

Thomas Aquinas provides sustained philosophical elaboration and defence of the belief that there exists a God who is simple, omnipotent, omniscient and eternal. Taken as a whole, his writings cover all major topics commonly thought of as belonging to philosophy of religion.

Let's begin by understanding some aspects of his thinking.

The first is his general approach to the topic of human knowledge. Since Aquinas takes God to be non-material, he therefore concludes that all human knowledge of God must be indirect and based on arguments starting from our knowledge of the material things.

The second is Aquinas 'theistic agnosticism' In many of his writings, he insists that we cannot know what God is.Since God is immaterial, we are unable to have the sort of knowledge of God which we seek to have as we develop a scientific understanding of things in the world. As Aquinas often puts it, we cannot know God's 'essence'. When we know how to talk about God, it is not because of any understanding of God, but only because of what we know about his creatures.

Third is Aquinas's understanding of the terms belief and knowledge and corresponding understanding of the terms faith and reason. By reason we can know that God exists and that various propositions of the form 'God is...' are true. But we cannot, he argues, know that such teachings as that of the doctrine of the Trinity or the doctrine of the Incarnation are true. He holds that we can point to things which gives us grounds for accepting them. He holds that we can defend them in the light of arguments brought against them. But we cannot know them to be true. These are the matters of faith.

From me, Faith is worth having~

Anonymous said...

Shin,

I have not undergone whole brain radiation.

MAM

Shin said...

Doubting Thomas,

I was hoping to hear from you on this post.

I've been reading your blog:

http://doubtingthomastang.blogspot.com/

I disagree that "by reason we can know that God exists". I don't see how any rational person could believe in God.

But I do agree with you that true belief is a matter of faith. Trying to prove or disprove the existence of God is just plain silly. Okay, it makes for good intellectual exercise and I have read pretty much every major theologian and philosopher in the Western world so I can appreciate the cerebral challenge.

But in the end, as you say, these are matters of faith. And I agree with you that faith is worth having. It's just that for me, faith lies in myself and my belief in the human spirit, in human compassion, in love.

Shin said...

Sasha,

Whenever I hear somebody say "It is God's will" in response to a sad or tragic event, I think it's an insult to God.

How can you believe in a loving, omnipotent God and then say it's his will when a child gets cancer or a tsunami wipes out an entire village? I don't even believe in God but I'm willing to give him more credit than that!

Thomas Tang said...

Dear Shin,

It's nice to know you have read my blog. I would like to recommend http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/ if you are interested in reading philosopher's blog. Stephen is quite an interesting guy. Until now I still can't figure out if he believes in the existence of a God or not.

If you have read most of the philosopher's argument on the existence of God, I guess majority of them philosophises that He does. Pardon if I am wrong I have not read all of their work but that's the impression that I get somehow :)

My definition of Faith stems from the formal usage in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith
of course it can still be used in the broad sense of the faith in yourself, your belief in the human spirit, in human compassion, in love. But where does these come from? Faith originating from yourself, is it really faith?

I pray that you will live life to the fullest everyday and that you will never have any regrets.

Shin said...

MAM,

I'm sorry but I cannot remember the details of your diagnosis and treatment. Would you mind refreshing my memory so I can know what you're going through?

Thanks.

Shin said...

Thomas Tang,

Thanks for recommending Stephen Law's blog to me. I'm reading "The God Delusion" now, as well as "The Case for Faith". I find them both a bit lacking in intelligent argument so far, but I'm just starting off, so I'll keep reading.

I looked at the definition of "faith" in the Wikipedia link you sent me. That's not the definition I'm thinking of when I use that word. My definition is the more general one, based on "fidere", the Latin word for "to trust". To me, faith means trusting and believing without proof.

I don't think you need to prove the existence of God to believe in him. I don't think you need to prove the existence of love to believe in love.

If scientists were to prove that God does NOT exist, the way that they proved the existence of gravity, that the world was round and not flat, that the Sun and not the Earth was the center of the universe... I would hope that you and other Christians would still believe in your God.

Dawkins ridicules people who would still believe in God in the face of incontrovertible proof of his non-existence, but I think that's where Dawkins's weakness lies. He doesn't allow for true faith, without proof.

Think of it this way: how hard is it to believe and trust in something that's already been proven? It doesn't take any faith or strength of spirit. It's easy.

And yes, I believe faith in the human spirit, compassion, love... faith originating from myself is really faith. Again, in the sense that I trust in these things, I have faith.

Anonymous said...

Why look for God outside ourselves.

Shin said...

Anonymous,

I agree. I think any God we need lives within us.

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