The Spirit Child

I began writing this article as a standard apologetic, but then I realized I wanted it to be personal and actually reach into the heart of everyone (including the atheist) who reads it. What came out was a series of questions.

Why do people become angry with God for the pain and tragedy in their lives?

How is it that people who believe God is essentially good blame him for their misfortunes (it isn’t as though there is a rule, written or otherwise, that says God is on the hook to provide each of us with stability and happiness in our lives)? How can other people who believe in a detached, remote Supreme Being still find fault with him when by their own admissions they believe he is distant and unconcerned about their suffering? Even more mysteriously, why is it that people who do not even acknowledge that there is a God usually exhibit some degree of anger when they deny his existence, as though leaving unspoken the declaration, “There is no God, and if there is, I’m good and angry at him”?

Most atheists I have spoken with, upon explaining their lack of belief in a Creator, speak with rancor about the putrid mess the world has become. The general consensus is that someone ought to be on the hook for the suffering of innocents, the pervasive ugliness in the world, the savagery so often displayed by earth’s most intelligent inhabitants. People are accountable for their own actions, but there are still hard questions about the origins of evil and the overarching force of wickedness that has been allowed to run its course. The government can shoulder only so much of the blame, and there is no sense blaming “Mother Nature.” When people express their displeasure at the ongoing state of affairs, it is usually not a simple pain-based anger response; much more often it is moral outrage that could only proceed from the strong sense that someone has been asleep at the switch. 

So how is it that so many who supposedly do not believe in God, or do not believe he cares about our suffering, or do not believe he can eliminate evil, still view the disaster of this world with an anger that seems to be directed toward someone who could and should do something about it?

I suspect that everyone starts out believing there is a God and that he has charge over everything. How many children have you met who said they didn’t believe in God? I’m sure they’re out there, but they are probably parroting their atheist parents. Many of us drift into adulthood trying to ignore the broken child inside of us, the little person who weeps over hurts and warms to trusted friends and cries tears of anger and frustration when he feels his heavenly Father has let him down. If the child is ignored long enough, faith is left to dessicate in the moral vacuum of unfulfilled longing that has turned into apathy.

Jesus & ChildrenThere are no atheists, only people who have smothered the child inside them with bitterness and intellectualism, the voice within who would otherwise continue believing through everything the world throws at it. It is this child who must be given a voice in the matter of what to make of Jesus and the Gospel story. Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3) Perhaps it was another way of telling us to start listening again to the child that is already within us.

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About Douglas Abbott

I am a freelance writer by trade, philosopher and comedian by accident of birth. I am an assiduous observer of humanity and endlessly fascinated with people, the common elements that make us human, what motivates people and the fingerprint of God in all of us. I enjoy exploring the universe in my search for meaning, beauty and friendship. My writing is an extension of all these things and something I did for fun long before I ever got paid. My hope is that the reader will find in this portfolio a pleasing and inspiring literary hodgepodge. Good reading!
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2 Responses to The Spirit Child

  1. Don says:

    Amen to that brother! Yeah, I am tired of trying to be a big boy and just eat my hurts and pains. I want to let it out and be a child and display my childlike emotions of pain. I need to bring them to the light, to the cross, to Jesus for healing. But you are right, if I don’t think God is there, or that he loves, then I am reluctant to trust my heart out in the open like that. OMG! I just realized that I have often been an athiest of sorts on the inside, because I did not believe God was there, or that he could or would help me, so I hid from him. The fool says in his heart that there is no God. How many times have I been a fool when I said out loud that I believed but in my heart I held back, because in my heart, I really did not believe it that much. Wow, I think you just shined a light on my problem. Thanks a lot! No really, thanks!

  2. Robin says:

    Of the atheists I’ve known (admittedly, only a few), there is neither assignment of blame or credit for blessings. As stated to me verbatim, they “just don’t consider HIM at all”. Of believers, it’s no mystery to me humans would be without understanding of how/why their loving God would allow suffering.

    As for children and “childlike faith” – they’re far more perceptive than we tend to give them credit for in their younger years. Once age of reason has been reached, gone is innocent acceptance.

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