Hello, everyone! Following is a list of general questions I’ve had brewing for quite a few years. This forum was suggested to me as the most appropriate place for this post, so I’m placing this here. If it’s not the right place after all, I apologize - the forums here are staggeringly enormous, and more than a little confusing to me. Eek.
I truly mean no offense whatsoever by any of this, so please let me know if I’m out of line/offensive in anything I’ve written. I’m here to find understanding.
I know I must not be understanding several things about Christianity right; after all, I was all of what, twelve? when thanks to life experiences I became an outspoken atheist. There must be an adult/more mature understanding of the questions I outline below that I missed due to my young age and also due to not having ever been around any actually adult-behaving adults in my young life. Since I’m 36 now, I’m interested in hearing the real answers.
OK, let’s jump in.
Getting Saved: As I understand it, ‘getting saved’, when boiled down to it, is in Christian belief a choice between life or death, right? It’s a decision made of free will, and if you choose to not be saved, you are choosing death. My issue with that is, though, is that that is not much of a choice; … is free will really so free when God is holding a gun to your head if you make the wrong decision?
(Later: It occurred to me that part of the reason this is so mystifying to me may be that we percieve God differently. Christians see God as transcendent, ie a seperate Being outside of this world and universe, apart from it. In Christian theology, we have a Potter and the pot, and the two are forever seperate and distinct things, the pot forever inferior to the Potter. In some other world beliefs, though, God is within and/or through everything, an immanent deity. To someone who experiences God as immanent, the idea of having to get saved seems rather absurd, since you can’t get away from God anyway (since there is nowhere and nothing that isn’t an emanation/manifestation of the dreams of/the dance of/the mind of God.) To someone who sees God as transcendent, though, with the universe delineated into two parts - God over -here- and absence-of-God over -there- - the choice would be necessary, right?)
Omniscient being creates the damned-to-be anyway, knowing their fates?: Something that ties into my question about getting saved is as follows:
Christians hold God to be absolutely 100% omniscient. God knows -absolutely everything-, full stop. However…
Why would God even create people who he knows from aeons before he even creates them are going to make the wrong choice about getting saved, and wind up in literally eternal torment in hell?
I know this sounds flip, but it’s not. … but… would a limited, mortal human being create something knowing it will suffer endless pain for eternity? (let’s ignore the sadist crazies out there, lol, I mean the ordinary, decent human being.) It seems vastly kinder to never create the wrongdoer at all…
What’s the point of prayer, especially… : I have also often wondered what the point of prayer is. God knows everything already, right? Why do people pray for anything, in that case?
I know a family where the twelve-year-old child, who was a sweetheart, died of bone cancer. All during that ordeal before he eventually died, I heard many, many people say to the sick child and his family “I will pray for you.” What specifically are you praying for? Is the person doing the praying trying to change God’s mind about the boy’s illness? If not, what is being prayed for? I am assuming here that something/some change is being asked for - if I’m wrong about that, that’d explain a lot.
One other thing that really -really- mystifies me is when I hear Christians say “bless God”. What do they mean by that?
Thank you for reading this longwinded post. I really look forward to reading replies.