I’m a simple-minded chap. I like pretending like I’m a deep thinker when I’m in group discussion, but my day-to-day life hardly reflects that false reality. Most of the time I appreciate the simplest and quickest answer to questions that trouble me.
Unfortunately, a majority of the world isn’t like me. Most people are unsatisfied with the quick and easy answer—and rightly so. Knowing this, it amazes me how Christians can claim to have the truth to some of life’s biggest questions and then recite tired, old, shallow answers.
The big questions are quite legitimate. However, the answers I’ve received to some of those questions over the course of my life—while simple—don’t even satisfy me!
Here’s two examples and the problems I have with the rote answer:
Q: Why do bad things happen to good people?
A: Because it’s all a part of God’s plan.
Problem: What kind of god would allow his/her followers to suffer terrible calamities, particularly when you claim that your god is all-powerful? How could this “good” god have a plan that involves innocent children dying?
Q: How could a loving and all-powerful God create a place of eternal torment for those who choose not to commit their lives to him?
A: It’s not for us to know. Our job is to obey. There’s nothing we can do about it anyway, just follow God.
Problem: God created the system! He chose to create a place of fire and wailing and gnashing teeth. While he may not send people there (thanks to their free will), He didn’t have to make a place where people suffered for eternity.
So, what answer would you give to those (and other, if you’d like) big questions? How can we start equipping our churches to tackle these big questions in relevant and helpful ways?