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Eric Write wrote:

Hi, guys —

Good evening,

I recently found myself in a debate with someone online who seemed to be angry with God and claimed that He simply did not exist because He allows millions of children to suffer and die every day. I told him it was childish to ask the question:

  • If God exists why do bad things happen?

He went as far to say if God does exist then He is an Immense Murderer and a Vacant Landlord.
I felt so sad for someone with so much hatred for someone, who in his mind, supposedly does not exist.

I do not doubt that there is an existence of a Divine Creator of the universe, and I want to reason with him to loosen some of the aggression he has. I turned to search online to better help me understand the exact question at issue. Understanding God's will may always be a mystery, but surely there is someone with better advice or understanding concerning the subject. It is a tragedy to me when anyone dies, especially a child, and since children do indeed die every day, I know I am not the first one to ask this question. I found this web site below, thinking it would help me find a good Christian spiritual answer and all it did was ask even more of the same questions I had. I looked toward the comment sections and I found more angry people. Although they had no answers, they were eager to place the blame on God and then dispel claims of His existence.

[web site address suppressed]

I really appreciate your time and any knowledge you can give to me. I enjoy sharing everything I've learned in life with others. One day I might have a better answer I can share with them so they might change the way they think.

Most people abandon others who don't agree with them, but I go out of my way to pursue them and share with them my heart in order to help them. I wouldn't continue to do it unless I wasn't so successful. In the process, it helps me better understand my own spiritual questions.

Thank you again!

Love,

Eric

  { How do I reply in a Christian manner to someone who is angry with God saying He doesn't exist? }

Mike replied:

Hi Eric,

Thanks for the question.

You have a very good attitude for a faith-sharer.

The question your friend is asking:

  • If God exists, why do bad things happen?, or
  • Why does He allow millions of children to suffer and die every day?

Are not childish questions, but very good ones.

We find the answer in understanding the distinction between:

  • His Divine Will, and
  • His Permissive Will

and the distinction between freedom and license.

  • Freedom is the freedom will to do what we should do in life.
  • License is the formal permission to do something by a constituted authority for the common good of our country.

    Like:
    • Police officers using guns
    • Firemen using axes, or
    • Soldiers using explosives

These vocations have a license to use these deadly weapons for the common good of society.
If they are not licensed to use them, they don't have the freedom to use them, unless they are regulated at the federal or state level.

For example:

  • No one has the freedom to run a red light while driving.
  • No one has the freedom to yell "FIRE" in a theater, when there is no fire.
  • No one has the freedom to kill anyone.
  • No one has the freedom to get an abortion.

One of the most important things the Church cherishes is an individual's free will to make:

  • good, moral, holy choices for society or
  • dumb, stupid, immoral choices in society.

Our Lord will never force someone to do something against their own free will.

That's why the Church has always taught that God never sends people to Hell, but people, by their own choices, send themselves to Hell.

  • But what are the differences between God's Divine will and His Permissive will?

Whether we are talking about:

  • parents
  • teenagers
  • students
  • teachers
  • politicians, or
  • who ever

if people make bad choices that hurt other people, the Lord's permissive will allow it:

  • because he respects each individual's free will to do dumb things, but
  • will always pull a greater good out of our dumb, immoral choices.

We may not immediately see the greater good being pulled out of our poor choices, but it will happen over time.

Unlike God's permissive will, God's divine will happens when we follow His internal calling within us. This is sometimes called the nature law. It's that thing that tells us what is right or wrong, from within us, without anyone telling us. For those who are unsure of what God's divine will is for their life, the best way to discover it is by having a daily prayer life and living the sacramental life of the Church.

It's good that you want to share the faith with others. I would just warn you that some people, who have been hurt by one or more parents, or even by someone in the Church, may have a bitterness in their personality that will cause them not be open to any other views or opinions. You have to personally discern whether you are using your time well, or just wasting your time with someone who is not open to other views.

In my opinion, many times especially atheists, will hold a grudge for a long time, and not even be aware how their internal grudge is effecting their close-minded opinion or view of life.

  • If you have a long time friendship with an atheist and see this possibly in their life, it may be helpful to ask them if their is a possible bad relationship with a family member or a former Catholic clergyman that could be effecting their views of life, and if so, should it, now that it is in the past?

Here are some related postings from our knowledge base.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't suggest to Google:

I hope this helps,

Mike

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
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