God allows trials in our lives to teach us lessons we need to learn

I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter, arguing theology, passing ideas around and occasionally promoting a new article from this blog. Twitter is a very useful tool for connecting with people, sharing ideas and keeping up to date on current events. But the thing that makes Twitter so useful, is also its Achilles Heel.

“Tweets” are limited to 140 characters, so it is vitally important that you can get your point across as succintly as possible. For someone like me, who tends towards more verbosity than Twitter allows, this can be quite a challenge! However, the bigger issue for me is the preponderance of trite, sickly, feel-good quotes that serve only to bring a warm glow to the numerous people that subscribe to both the account and the associated theology.

One such example of this was a tweet that I have used as the title of this article:

God allows trials in our lives to teach us lessons we need to learn“.

From the theists point of view, this is probably a wonderful, deep, meaningful quote that stirs all sorts of positive emotions. The hardships you endure every day, from running late to work to being unable to find your car keys, or frustration with a colleague to a dressing down by your boss – all of these trials can be viewed as lessons to make us stronger. What a wonderful notion! God is there, watching out for us, sending trials our way to strengthen our resolve and make us into better humans. What a truly loving Father He really is! Of course, the obvious problem with this can be summed up in my simple reply:

Those starving African kids sure need a lot of lessons

Suddenly, the context has changed completely. God is no longer a wonderful, loving Father watching over us as we hunt for our car keys, but a tyrant that wilfully ignores obscene amounts of suffering and pain. Every excuse for God allowing such suffering is exactly that: a weak excuse. After all, is He not supposed to be omnipotent?

What sort of being permits endless suffering and misery, while simultaneously enjoying heaps of praise from well-to-do Americans with what can only be described as minor inconveniences in the face of the atrocities taking place every single day in other countries? It makes no sense at all.

However, what really angers me about this, is that the original message was retweeted over 50 times the last time I checked. This means that at least 50 other people have agreed that God watches over them personally (occasionally strengthening their character through the use of specially chosen lessons) while wilfully ignoring starving children and the horrors of an existence in war-torn, famine-stricken, disease-ridden Africa. Who knows how many hundreds of other people have agreed with this quote but not forwarded it on?

It makes me sick. Self-righteous, deluded idiots, wilfully ignoring every single non-sensical premise, contradiction and baseless assertion that religion provides, simply to ease their minds and pretend that God loves them as they live every day fearing for the salvation of their immortal soul. While simultaneously, children starve to death and fear for their very lives – Which, incidentally, lives we know are real, unlike the complete lack of evidence for any kind of soul.

How about you get off your sanctimonious ass, quit praying and thanking God for minor miracles coincidences and actually do something to help? Because if any God at all exists, I would like to believe that He rewards positive action over self-pity and undignified grovelling.

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