Does God Give no Great Gifts?

That title is a bit of a challenge, of course, and I am sorry if you got here due to its inflammatory nature–but it is always something I have wondered. Why is everything powerful in the world considered by many pious Christians to be of the Devil?

The Devil put Obama at the head of the United States. The Devil gave the witches of Salem their power. The Devil makes the rich man rich. Why is it that the Devil seems to put so much more effort in our plane of existence to win people to his side than God does? Perhaps you don’t believe me, and that’s OK, too. It is just something that has always bothered me.

If God wants us all to go to Heaven, if God loves all of us, why are the gifts from the Heavenly Father so seemingly insignificant to those offered by Satan? If witchcraft and magic are of the Devil, why are we to fight it with piety from God? If Satan gives the wicked power, why are we supposed to fight them via being humble? If Satan makes an evil man rich, why are we supposed to fight it by giving all that we own to charity?

The battle seems so lopsided to me. Do we suffer in this world for glory and paradise in the next? Do the wicked prosper in this world to balance the suffering of the next? Let me put it another way.

If God is our Father, a parent then, let’s use metaphor. There are bullies at the school, and they are constantly beating us. Every day, they are beating us. The teachers don’t like us, so Satan gives them baseball bats so they can beat us more fully. God, our father who loves us, tells us when we arrive home, pious and humble, that “Their beating you is making you stronger, testing you. When you get out of school, those bullies will all be in jail and you can have any job you want!”

That’s great, Dad, but that does me no good now.

Tell me the parent who loves their kid that would let this happen. Show me the parent who wouldn’t step up to the school board, take it to the media, fight the bullies themselves, try to get the parents fired? Show me the parent, who failing all of the above, would not move their child.

And yet God asks us (and please forgive the colloquialism here) to bend over and take it, and don’t worry, it’ll all be over soon.

Satan, however, has a kid that is bullied at the same school. He sends the kid to school with a baseball bat, then shows up at the school to make a stink about it. Satan protects his children. If things continue to escalate, it seems, Satan continues to escalate with them, protecting his kids.

And yet God loves us? And Satan doesn’t? This isn’t a battle of souls, it is God testing us at best, and leaving us to the wolves at worst–it is an uneven playing field, a soul destroying wasteland where only the strong survive. If God was infinitely loving, and if God is infinitely powerful, and if God wants every soul to go to Heaven, why does he leave us with no tools save a book and our own fortitude to defend ourselves with while Satan gives weapons and wealth and power?

I have to clarify at this point that I don’t really believe in either God or Satan, and all of the above was written from the standpoint I held during my crisis of faith. The above were questions, only a small number of them, that swirled through my head at the time. They were things that made no sense to me. They are things that still make no sense to me; how can the faithful sit there and take it like that? How can they suffer so badly at the hands of so many, and yet believe that their God loves and protects and shelters them? He shelters them from nothing; he doesn’t even give them canvas to make a net out of. He just says “Hey, you are doing a great job!” if you are doing well, or “To the pit of hell with you for eternity,” if you stumble.

I have stumbled. I have fallen. I have railed against God in my rage. The world is actually easier for me to accept when I think of it as a human construct with flaws than when I think of it as a construct created by someone who loves us, but leaves us to suffer. Leaves many to suffer for eternity, if the strict rules for getting into heaven are to be believed.

If the Word of God is a defense, walk up to someone in a war-ravaged country, and use your words against them. I’ll wait.

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