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Do You Think God "Plays Favorites"?


Anguish
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Frankly, I do. He definitely seems to have His Favorites and His Non-Favorites. And I'm not sure it has anything at all to do with how dedicated they are to HIM. It all seems pretty arbitrary to me. The people God favored in the Bible (with rare exceptions) never seemed to me to be any more pious or devout or "worthy" than the ones God treated like crap. And as someone brought up in an evangelical, fundamentalist "Bible-reading" church, I know quite a bit about it.

I never did understand God, and not because God is so much smarter than me. He's just a hell of a lot more arbitrary in the way he treats people. NOT the best way to build up a fan-club.

As St. Teresa of Avila once told God: "It's no wonder you have so few friends, if this is the way you treat them!"

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Guest GingerSnap

I am going to say that God doesn't play favorites. Understand that while I follow the laws of God to the best of my abilities (8 major religions have in their doctrine, the Golden Rule), I am not a fan of "religion" in general and believe that the Bible is a collection of stories passed down - the oral word eventually written and, well, as in translation....... You, of course, know about the tug of war between good and evil and of freewill. My concern and basically why I am sharing my thoughts here was to ask if you felt that God was playing favorites and that you were not one of them and wondering why you felt that way, in case you wanted to share that or maybe someone else that you are seeing and thinking that God is maybe not favoring them? Just my thoughts.:)

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Hi Anguish, I think you what you said is one of the reasons why people reject the concept of God in fact. In Buddhist tradition, one of the universal concepts is that life is suffering, no getting around it. So although some people suffer more than others, none of us escape suffering.

I am older and wiser now (at least in theory :() and I have seen that that is much growth and learning to be had in suffering. I'm not even sure that one can grow spiritually until one suffers. One example I can give is watching my daughter's growth. She was always a very self-absorbed and selfish person when she was young. Little consideration for others, would throw temper tantrums to get what she wanted even as a young adult, it was all about her needs. Then she went through a relationship that challenged her a lot from a patience perspective. She then did a lot of travelling all over the world and lived many difficult situations and saw a lot of life changing things. She ended up in Australia where she split with her fiancee, ended up alone, little money, etc. This was about a 4 year process and it completely transformed her. She developed empathy, compassion, an understanding of what other's pain feels like, what loneliness felt like. She is such a more complete human being now because of her suffering.... I have seen this in others and myself as well.

Are you living a period of suffering that is making life difficult for you?

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Everyone,

Someone named Harold Kushner, a Rabbi, wrote a wonderful book ten or fifteen or more years ago entitled, When Bad Things Happen To Good People

The book is not written for Jews or any one religion. It addresses all of us who believe. He asks the very types of questions that are being asked in this forum.

He provides some answers that may not please and with which you may disagree. Essentially, he argues that G-D has the big things too give attention to and does not try to control the "small" daily things, including tragedies, that we experience. Fundamentally, we mere mortals cannot and will not understand the way G-D functions and we will never understand what is really happening and what it means.

I happen to agree with this. My life, like everyones, has not been free of tragedy, loss and grief. I just do not believe that G-D is punishing me or treating me unfairly (Well, maybe sometimes:) ).

I also do not believe that G-D does not give us more than we can handle. First, I do not believe that G-d doles out burdens. We do that to ourselves as a human race. Second, many people end up with more than they can handle. Just think of all the deaths in the flooding in Pakistan that has killed thousands including children. Think of the Holocaust, and that killed millions of people, many of them other than Jews. Sometimes the burdens do feel like too much and are too much.

However, people keep their faith through the most trying of times. Just think of Job.

Your thoughts and opinions?

Allan

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Absolutely. If he didn't, why would he let terrible things like neuromuscular disease happen? Why would he put me in the position of knowing that, at some point, I'm going to have to bury my child? And there are people out there that drink to excess, beat their spouses, and break all of "The Commandments", and they get off scott free. Absolutely God plays favorties, the day my son was diagnosed, I became a doubter, the way life has turned out for me has made me Agnostic, and if things continue the way the are, I may go full blown Atheist.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Luna, Misr and all,

Hey, wait up, guys:) I am no defender of religion or God.

Luna, to answer your question, I used G-d instead of God because there are some who find the full spelling offensive. I was attempting to watch out for the sensibilities of others.

Misr, I am not religious at all. I just tend to think that there is more that happens in the world that is random. While not being religious, I lean toward what Kushner says about "Bad things happening to good people." In other words, we do not live in a planned universe under the control of an omnipotent being who controls all that happens. If there is an omnipotent and conscious force (God) things happen randomly anyway. Its not fair, its just life.

What do you think?

Allan:)

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Everyone,

Hey listen, I am only being the messenger. I had complaints about using God instead of G-D. It hard to try to be thoughtful of everyone's sensibilities. I also cannot explain the why of this but can only report it. Anyway, I will use God.

I also have a problem with the idea of a "man in the sky."

What do you think???

Allan

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

I understand so many of the posts made. Why do good people suffer?

I ask myself the same question often why me? I was in a car wreck with a drunk driver killed most of my family and started a cascade of events over the years that ruined my entire life. I should be married with a family right now. Instead I'm a 31 year old virgin with few hopes trying to pick up the pieces of a life shattered by pains others have caused. I doubted God after high school myself.

Asked the same questions with no answers.

Then more tragedy happened that forced me to re examine my life look inward. I started to study and do deep thinking on the topic. I realized organized church can send a different message to people, it can be confusing.

Through everything I found faith. Looking back I see even through all the pain through the hardest times I had miracles happen. The wreck was 75 mph head on, I survived with no permanent disabilities. Mom said she even saw the tunnel and light, she was clinically dead for awhile during the wreck said she was told she was still needed and sent back.

Through the most difficult times I feel God brought people to me right when I was about to give up. And I have grown from it and from my pain I was able to help others. I helped a friend out in Vegas that from my help earlier in his life was able to do a fundraiser that in turn helped thousands just this month.

My life has been non stop pain.. people say the trials will end but it hasn't for over 30 years it has been one challenge, one tragedy after another. Most caused by deliberate evils from others, not random events caused by God. But the pain has brought me closer to my faith. Because I see the small miracles, I see the blessings that happen in everyday life that so many miss.

With pain comes growth, with grief comes understanding, with sadness comes love and compassion.

The people in this forum are some of the nicest people I have met.

Yet we all suffer more than many. I said at one time this forum helped me feel more normal one kind member said we understand because we have all suffered and "normal" people don't understand that you have to go through the pain to understand to truly be able to sympathize. Made me realize some of the greatest, strongest, kindest people are the ones that life has treated unfair but rose above it and stayed true to their character.

I won't pretend to know the ways of the universe. I don't know why I have suffered, why my mother suffered.. when or if things will change. If I am just not getting something and that is why my life is so different from most. But I have at times felt the difference after I gained a true knowledge in what I believe. It has made all the difference and saved me over and over through all of the tremendous pain I have went through, still go through.

To me my faith brings hope and love.. without which what is the point to life?

Edited by randomperson
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Personally, I prefer the non-denominational "Unity" approach. That we all have "Christ" within, ie: we can all be Christ like, or in my understanding of it, achieve the highest purpose for which we were put on earth. I totally got why Allan spelled it G-D. I do have a problem with the word. Perhaps because it makes no sense that there is a "man in the sky".

Lately, I've been reading about beliefs and how if a belief is harmful to you, then make one up that is empowering. I like the idea that God is "Love" and love within us empowers us to achieve our purpose. I recently experienced the power of intense unconditional love toward somebody. Over the next few days, the negative stuff that had been swirling in my head went away, more positive stuff popped into my head and I was energized to take action on things I'd been putting off. Around the same time, I was reading how Cocaine, Mania and Love all have the same physiological effect on the brain, raising the "Happiness set point", which just simply causes us to focus on more positive things automatically. Since I don't particularly need a cocaine addiction to add to my list of issues, and since I don't know how to become "Manic", Love would seem to be a pretty good option to focus on, especially since I have experienced its power first hand.

Oh, and since this thread started with the concept of suffering, I asked "God" a year ago "have I suffered enough?" and he said "NO!" I asked again in the summer, and the answer was "YES!" I think it was really myself saying that things had got so bad that I felt I'd hit bottom and there was really only one way to go and that was - UP. And I am finally focussed on at least not being the cause of additional suffering. I can choose to react to a bad situation in ways that will help me learn and move on or in ways that will make me suffer. I am starting to choose the former. And that's not to say I don't have major crises right now. It's just that I don't want to make the problems worse by choosing somehow to suffer.

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  • 3 weeks later...

For those not aware, "G-d" is a traditional Jewish approach to spelling the word "god", as there's actually a biblical prohibition against it. Judaism is very legalistic, so there's always a way around things like... not raising pigs in Israel for example. The biblical verse says something about "not touching the soil" so they raise them in an elevated barn. Judaism tends to be about the letter of the law, and not so much about the spirit. Just so people have a perspective on that part of it. Religion can work in all kinds of ways for people.

I'm not a believer in a "man in the sky" either, but I do feel there's more to the universe than we understand. My mother was crazy about Astrology when I was a kid, so I often think of "Lucky Stars". Some people seem to have been born under them, and I know quite a few people who have very much the opposite problem.

I like astrology because it's kind of this Classical proto-science. It's also funny when I'm looked down at for 'believing in it'. People who believe in a "man in the sky" look askance at me for something actually somewhat less hocus-pocus?

I don't really Believe in astrology, I consider it more a behavioral influence, ie; if you're raised with a certain set of expectations for your behavior based on your birth date, then you're more likely to behave along those lines. However, if I happen to meet another conversant in the subject then I have all kinds of fun discussing signs and planetary influences and so forth. Haha...!

But yeah. Lucky stars for some, perhaps!

Jane

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