Where is God as the world grows more evil in spite of your prayers? What is God doing in answer to your prayers?
After reading this news article from the Associated Press, God appears conspicuously absent from their plight. Also, I found that article after reading about how Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey abdicated the fight to preserve marriage in New Jersey. The latter comes after repeated prayers of Christians to protect religious liberty and preserve founding principles of the USA, and I’m sure the Copts have been praying, and before creating this thread I searched ‘Egypt’ and found others praying for Egypt here, too, since July 3rd. So you’ve been praying for Egypt since July, and three months later (15 minutes ago) we hear of 21 being injured at a wedding, four of which have died. Is this what comes of your prayers for Egypt?
In other words, it appears from this cursory inspection that prayer is negatively correlated with good in the world: The more you pray, the more evil the world becomes. Where are the positive results of your prayer? Just yesterday we heard Jesus telling us that God will render us just decisions even more quickly than the corrupt judges of this world: [BIBLEDRB]Luke 18:1-8[/BIBLEDRB] Yet people have been praying for conscience rights protections from the U.S. Health and Human Services mandate for years now, and no change has occurred, and on every other count the situation appears to be worsening, as exemplified by those two cases above.
So is Jesus lying? If the answer to that is ‘Yes,’ then all of Christianity is undone. But how else can we understand this passage? St. Peter tells us about time, as Jesus uses the word “quickly”: [BIBLEDRB]2 Peter 3:3-15[/BIBLEDRB] Note particularly verse 8. So it appears that Jesus is not saying that God will render us just decisions more quickly than the corrupt judges of this earth: He is using the word “quickly” as only heaven can understand it. He is telling us that we must be patient, and that because God is good, we have all the more reason to be patient in our sufferings – i.e., endure them with thanksgiving – even unto death – as St. Paul says: [BIBLEDRB]Col 4:2[/BIBLEDRB]
This satisfies the intellect, but emotion remains raw: [BIBLEDRB]Rev 6:9-10[/BIBLEDRB] So I am sorely tempted to lose heart and to lose faith, and I cannot understand calling God “Father” when He lets His children be persecuted and beaten to death on His playground, watching but not intervening. “Oh, but He does intervene: Jesus on the Cross, so we might not truly die (i.e. go to hell).” This response answers that objection only to raise another: We don’t understand what hell is. This life is all we know. It’s like a financial advisor helping you with your taxes, charging you a lifetime of wages but telling you he’s saved you from some terrible tax burden. It seems to be the logical fallacy of moving the goalposts: “Yes, God has intervened and saved you, but not in a way that you’ll understand or realize until after you’re dead.” Are you not praying for an intervention in Egypt now, for an end to the conflict and persecution? If you’re praying for an end to the conflict, the opposite seems to be occurring – but more to the point, since God is sovereign, since “He’s got the whole world / in His hands,” God’s will is occurring there anyway, right? [BIBLEDRB]Matthew 5:39[/BIBLEDRB] But this seems absurd: God wants the best for you, and this means he wants people to die at your wedding?
And so, as Trent Horn has challenged the atheist or agnostic to provide supporting evidence for answering the question, “Does God exist?” with “No,” this suffering, this worsening of the world even in the face of steadfast, faithful prayer, is such evidence: Evil is only a mystery or problem for the theist who believes in a loving, omnipotent God, whereas it is to be expected under atheistic materialism. I would like to see Trent Horn’s response, and yours.
To be clear, my intention is not to destroy faith or to cause people to fall away; my intention is to seek truth, to seek answers, and to cry out to God. [BIBLEDRB]Gen 4:10[/BIBLEDRB] I would love to know that God exists and to see Him right these wrongs, but all I see is misery.