If God, Why the Coronavirus? …And Your Other Tough Questions about Faith

Abdu:

I wasn’t afraid of Y2K but distracted by Y2K… we want to live spiritually ready no matter what.

Will coronavirus knock us off our true purpose and keep us from living for what we were made for?

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Why are we so keen to associate Covid19 with God? Couldn’t this current challenge simply be a product man’s fallenness- even caused by man’s own hand? Thinking God should prevent this virus seems kin to thinking God should prevent all of the challenges we are confronted with.

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Jo:

When we’re starting to pray, perhaps start by remembering that we’re not in control. We never were.

That can be a perspective we ignore or push aside in our daily lives. But isn’t it true and inescapably true right now?

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@Bhooper01 I wrote a post about this recently. I agree with you that this is a result of the fall. Here is the post: What is the "correct" Christian answer to a pandemic

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Just as Christians are resting on Jesus at this time of pandemic, those in other faiths are getting more serious about their religious practices. As Christians we believe in Jesus as He rose from the dead. How do we share Jesus to those who dont see the need for resurrection of the body?

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Abdu:

Maybe the vast universe doesn’t disprove God’s existence but reveals God’s generosity!

What a beautiful and encouraging perspective.

Sometimes this comes down, perhaps, to whether we are optimists or pessimists? But is pessimism more rational than optimism?

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Jo:

Before the US appointed a woman to the Supreme Court, the Bible says that Deborah was the judge of Israel.

Pretty amazing! For me, stories like this make it hard to say the Bible is anti-woman.

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WOW Jo is powerful speaking on this topic :facepunch:

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A certain lady in Mozambique who I dare not mention here :joy: :smiley: :joy:, ended that debate for me long ago @CarsonWeitnauer!

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Vince brings up Robert Nozick’s ‘experience machine’ idea.

Would you want to plug into the experience machine? And have all the positive, happy experiences that you’ve ever wanted - but they are all simulated, and not real?

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Vince:

The idea that happiness is the most important thing in the world is a very exclusive worldview… the reality is that there are a lot of people in the world who are not happy. All of us will face a time that we are not happy. I personally want my worldview to be much more inclusive than that. I am attracted to Christianity because it is based on the unconditional love of God for every single person.

Interesting twist to see that ‘happiness’ as a primary value turns out to be exclusive.

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Late to the party, but so pleased to catch the tail end of this event! :heart:

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I learned this in the Why Suffering module:

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. Luke 6:24-26

Suffering is a part of the Christian walk!

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Welcome @Lizibeth :handshake:

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Hey @Lizibeth! Just able to join in as well - excited to be here!

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@Abdu_Murray is profound. Incredible insight into the trinity. I need to ponder this :thinking:

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I really appreciate Abdu’s enthusiasm for the Trinity; like the questioner, the doctrine of the Trinity used to feel like a liability to me. But now, as for Abdu, it has become a theological gift to me, fortifiying my faith and continually showing new angles of the beauty of God.

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Here is a very interesting view on the subject. Thought ya’ll might enjoy.
Clipped from: http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/sbath_18_Abu_al-Khayr_ibn_al-Tayyib.htm
Composed by the excellent father and scholar, the priest Abū al-Khayr ibn al-Ṭayyib
[Translated by Sam Noble]

Some of the Muslims say, “Christ said to the apostles, ‘Go forth and make apostles of all the nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,’[1] so here it is said openly that you believe in three gods!”
We respond to them: There is no doubt that the sciences of the Christian Law are the fruits of three things—the glorious Gospel, the letters of the Apostle Paul, and the stories of the pure apostles and disciples. These three books testify in all the corners of existence that God is one god, and that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are attributes of His one essence. All the writings of their scholars in the four corners of the inhabited world testify to this. If not for fear of it taking too long, I would recount their beliefs in detail, but I will be brief here and summarize their statements as will become clear, and I will say:
The Christians say that the Creator, may he be exalted, is one substance endowed with the attributes of perfection and that He is endowed with three eternal essential attributes which the Lawgiver has commanded, and they are the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. They indicate by “the Father” the name of the substance which they call the Creator, who possesses pure intellect. By “the Son” they indicate the aforementioned substance which possesses an intellect that intelligizes itself. By “the Holy Spirit” they indicate the aforementioned substance which possesses an intellect that is intelligible in itself. Here they indicate the substance that is subsistent in itself and is free of […] The Christian Law only permitted Him, may He be exalted, to be described in this way in order to speak to the peoples in a way they understand.
The scholar and imam Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī gave this opinion about them in his book known as al-Radd al-Jamīl: “The Christians believe that the essence of the Creator, may He be exalted, is objectively one and that it has aspects. If it is regarded with relation to an attribute whose existence does not depend on an attribute prior to it, such as existence, then they call this the hypostasis of the Father. If it is regarded in relation to an attribute whose existence depends on the existence of a prior attribute, such as knowledge, since the essence’s having attributes depends on its having the attribute of existence, then they call it the hypostasis of the Son and the Word. If it is regarded with relation to its essence being intelligible to itself, then they call this the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit, because the essence of the Creator is intelligible to Himself. This usage of terminology means that the divine essence is objectively one and is characterized by each of these hypostases.
Some of them say that the essence qua essence without regard to attribute is an expression for the intellect and they call this the hypostasis of the Father. If it is regarded from the perspective of it intelligizing itself, then this perspective expresses for them the intelligizer, which they call the hypostasis of the Son or the Word. If it is regarded with relation to it being itself, then this perspective is for them an expression of the intelligible, which they call the Holy Spirit. According to this usage of terminology, ‘the intellect’ only expresses the essence of God and the Father is synonymous with it. ‘The intelligizer’ expresses of His essence with regard to its intelligizing itself, and the Son or the Word is synonymous with it. ‘The intelligible’ expresses the God whose essence is intelligible to Himself, and the Holy Spirit is synonymous with it.” Then he says, with reference to the above, “If these meanings are true, then the terms are indisputable, as are the technical terms that those who set them down agree upon.”
The shaykh Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, may God be pleased with him, recounted the belief of the Christians about Christ with regard to His being the human taken from Mary in his previously mentioned book. He said, “They believe that the Creator, may He be exalted, created the human nature of Jesus, peace be upon him, then He appeared united in him. They mean by this the union that He became in him by this in the way the soul is attached to the body.” By making these two statements openly, he, may God have mercy on him, made clear the truth of their belief to those who attempt to gain knowledge of the sciences of wisdom.

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Jo:

Jesus was not only ahead of his time but he’s ahead of our time! That’s how relevant he is.

Often people think that the Bible is quite regressive morally. But when we get into the details, we can find that it offers us a moral challenge that stretches us to consider our need for grace.

I am really starting to appreciate the different areas of speciality the different RZIM speakers have. Jo on the value of women in scripture and Abdu on the Trinity, Vince on suffering. It is great to know who to look up for questions on these topics.

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