Friday, April 13, 2012

God Burns My Kids to Show Himself?

A week ago, my 1 year old daughter dumped a scalding hot thermos of coffee down the front of her shirt.  It was entirely my fault and I was devastated.  Luckily, her burns were only minor with two small spots where it burned through to the fourth dermis layer.  It has healed quickly and she is on the fast track to recovery.  Unfortunately, the lasting effect is that we have to monitor the worst areas for the next two years so they don't get sunburned.  Then, we're home free.  The doctors do not expect any scarring, which is the most important factor to me.

The outpouring of support we received was phenomenal.  Relatives called from all over the country, friends contacted us from overseas.  Inquiries were made to relatives of our relatives to check up on their little granddaughter.  It warmed me from the ends of my rarely clipped toenails to the tips of my graying locks.

But, my wife did receive one letter that made me fall out of my chair.  I do not hold this person accountable for these words because it is a mainstream Christian concept that they parroted.  I also must say that it did not affect me at all, emotionally.  I have very thick skin and, frankly, arguments like this are so easy to logically see through to the other side, rendering them utter foolishness.

At first, the letter started out with concern about my daughter and was very warm and loving.  Then, it turned weird.  I quote:

"I am praying that God will work through this tragedy to help you feel His comfort, and realize how much He truly loves you all and longs to have a relationship with you if you'll let Him!"

Really?!  So, God caused a scalding hot thermos of coffee to tip off a table onto my daughter, giving her second degree burns and two years of therapy just so he could save me?  I'm not buying it.  Now, since I rejected that little nudge from God, is he going to throw one of my kids over the second floor banister?  If I still don't love him, will he then maim a few more of my little children, whom I love dearly?  Maybe he'll take away my wife next time.  Maybe she'll get cancer or multiple sclerosis.  Or, worse yet, I'll get the dreaded and incurable ALS.  Any way you cut it, God is perfectly happy hurting my child to get himself a believer.

Here is my deepest question:

Why the hell would ANYONE want to believe in a selfish, immature, narcissistic, hateful, murderous, and unloving god like that?!!!  And how is my kid being burned by god "comfort"!!?  That god is not a loving god and I will never even give him a thought.  I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself.  My daughter is already well aware of the pain a thermos of coffee can cause and won't even go near an empty one, let alone anything that we tell her is hot.  We have implemented other safety measures throughout the years to keep our children safe and healthy.  We can do it by ourselves. 

Finally, I do not blame the writer of this letter.  I really don't.  If you believe in the god of the Bible, it is imperative to think this way.

"The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." - Numbers 14:18

No amount of pretzelified theology can escape this one.  God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.  His character and sense of justice do not change.

Stand by while I go hug my kids and tell them I love them.  They will never have to fear a non-existent being that hates them for my sins.


  1. Exactly! If "god" causes us to suffer for our purifications blah blah blah (sing it with me, Refiner's Fireeeee) then why in the hell would anyone want to sign up for that? Sure, let's voluntarily agree to suffer. I'm so sick of hearing how everything bad is god testing us and everything good is god's blessing. Umm, when I had a 4.0 GPA it was *NOT* god doing my homework for me and studying all hours of the night.

    If god really has that much control then somebody explain why my much loved 3-month old son passed away (1996) while other kids are left to be beaten, starved, and raped by parents who don't want them. If one more person smiles and quotes that "it rains on the just and the unjust" crap I am just going to tell them to their face to go biblically consummate themselves.

  2. Yes! The fear of this god kept me crippled for so long. One of my dad's favorite phrases was that god would "beat us over the head with a 2x4 until we get the message" The message that he loves us of course, that's why he consistantly will take away everything good in our lives until we realize how much we need him. WTF?

  3. I can not picture Jesus every burning a child. Ever. If He came to show us the Father, then God does not torture people. There is no record of Jesus ever committing a violent act on another human.

    The religion that bears His name is so effed up.

  4. Joe - so sorry to hear about your daughter's burn!! When my oldest son was 17 months old, he pulled a cup of scalding coffee off a table onto his face and chest - he had 3rd degree burns over 25% of his body - it was horrible!! At the time, we were fully-convinced fundamentalist Christians and we just thanked the Lord for "protecting" our son - at least he didn't die, right? That must've been God blessing us.

    I have also been on the receiving end of "intercession" from my Christian friends who believed God would punish me to bring me back into the fold: - ugh!! When things are not going well for unbelievers - the idea that God is causing our misery in order to show us His great love does not make us desperately want to worship The Big Guy.

  5. When I first started reading this post, my thought was, "they can't help it." Then I saw you'd come to the same conclusion. I continued reading, and then I got mad.

    People postulate a mean, psycho god, then they wonder why people like you and me don't believe. Then they say our unbelief will heap more abuse and punishment...

    F... 'em all.

    Don't let yourself go there for a fraction of a second, IC!

  6. Just a little push-back: I know that kind of religion and I know it sucks. But in point of fact (at least from what you quoted of the letter), the writer didn't say s/he thought God had caused this accident. All the letter expresses is a hope that God would show you love and compassion through the situation. Other people showed you love and compassion in a special way at this time, because they cared about the horrible thing that happened. Is it wrong to hope that God would do the same?

    In short, I'm as angry at that "God hurts your kids in order to save you" mentality as you are; I'm just not sure that the writer of the letter was actually espousing that view.

    Maybe the rest of the letter makes it clear that that is what the writer meant. In which case, I'm wrong. But I'm just sayin'.

  7. Kristen,

    Carry that logic all the way through. If God is all powerful, he could have prevented the thermos from falling and burning my kid. So, to let it fall and them warmly love me is an epic fail.

    1. I don't want to get into a discussion on the possibility of the coexistence of suffering with a loving God. I simply wanted to point out that this writer may not have meant what you thought she meant.

      I wish you well.

    2. It reminds me of a scene from "Saved!" where Roland who is in the wheelchair talks to Cassandra about how his sister, Hillary Fay considers is a miracle that she happened to have found him on the ground after he fell out of a tree"

      Roland: I fell out of a tree when I was nine. Hilary Faye found me. She calls it the miracle that saved my life.

      Cassandra: The miracle you could've used would've been not falling out of the tree in the first place.

  8. IC;

    i greatly enjoy your posts on NLQ [which is why i came to visit], and in a weird fit of synchronosity, i decided that you'd probably LOVE the blog that is the direct cause of me becoming a follower of NLQ: - so i came to preach the word of PF :D

    Personal Faith - the runner of that blog - has written almost this same story more than once [different precipitators, of course; like myself, PF has a genetic disease that makes pregnancy a literal - in the dictionary's definition, at that - death sentence. though, also like me, she raised a young neice for many years. we decided a loooooong time ago that we are twins and one of us had been chrononapped [by which i mean kidnapped and sent thru time, as she's 13 months older than i] and etc. down to similar history. the main difference is that she is an atheist and i'm pagan. oh, and she can actually garden whereas i've got a thumb so black i kill kudzu. a direct hit with a KEW wouldn't kill kudzu!!!

    anywhoo... if you get a chance, mosy on over. you'll find *MOST* of the regulars to be awesome people of many, many creeds - we even have some Christians [the only regular "bad" commenter is Lance, and he mostly just pisses everyone off, but we've been ignoring him more lately] i haven't been on as often as i used to be, but i still endeavor to make it several times a week...

    as for the post itself - i've NEVER taken any view that God/ess(es) directly intervein in people's lives, for various not-important-right-now-reasons - but i absolutely agree with you. it's one thing to spank a child to prevent the child from doing something that endangers the child [before the child is old enough to understand WHY to not, say, cross a busy street] but with adults, this is almost uniformly counter-productive in the long wrong - sure, you can teach a person to not do X, but they generally don't learn WHY X is bad...
    and any Deity worthy of title is NOT stupid. most of the evil in the world is caused by Man [not MEN. humans]. most of the horrible accidents, likewise. to attribute such to any Deity that one claims is Good is merely to demean both the Deity and the concept of Good. just my opinion, of course - but i have to live with myself, you know? so my opinions are *important*, at least to me :D

  9. Is God responsible to prevent any suffering? Let's carry it through.

    1. Is the all powerful God who creates suffering able to prevent suffering? Why would he create it in the first place? Sort of takes the "responsibility" question and turns it on its head.

    2. Notice the assumption is that he creates suffering. Does he? Or is that a remnant of your religious training. Need a fresh start?

    3. You are 100% correct on that front. Everything about God is an assumption. So, I can create one that DOESN'T create suffering, aside from what the Bible dictates, which is where most people get their assumptions from.

      But, I would much rather worry about that which I can empirically understand. If the God of the Bible is anything close to what the real God actually is, I'll pass.

      If not, I'd be happy to assume away with you. But then, we would be no better than the 30,000+ denominations already existing. If nobody has the right answer, why worry about the foundation at all, when that correct answer cannot

      It's pointless, really.

    4. I thought we were talking about the Bible God and so I was continuing... not just making assumptions about any god-construct. So, about the Bible God, the assumption that he creates suffering may be misguided by previous indoctrination and needs a fresh look.

      And all the denominations have something in common, so starting from that core and seeing where the more divergent details come from would be a scholarly way of proceeding, if you care.

      Not pointless, really.

  10. Another thought I have is why don't these same people ever say that god can uae good things to bring us closer? You know, a substantial raise, climbing the corporate ladder qickly, being published...etc etc etc?

    Why do they only show up when it's bad stuff to proclaim god's love for us?

  11. So, what's your take on Job? God let his family be wiped out and subjected Job to horrible sickness to win a bet with the devil.

    Paul A

  12. I'll have to look it up; but there's also a verse somewhere in the prophets that goes something like: "No longer will they say, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.'" Christ made a new covenant. All these people living so firmly in the Old Testament are just a strange sort of Jewish/Protestant hybrid.