The question why God allows suffering is difficult enough. Why God in some cases even seems to order suffering, brings us from the question of an almighty God to the question of a brutal God.
In the Old Testament God commands the killing of entire nations and challenges our understanding of faith-love-hope. Is God a moral monster? This is how neo-atheist Richard Dawkins describes him. In his workshop, Barna Magyarosi tries to approach this accusation and offers explanation attempts, the result of years of research. Some of the most important findings are: 1. It was never part of the original plan of God to have Israel participate in warfare. Instead, God Himself wanted to fight for His people, and His people were meant to remain still and trust Him in faith (Ex 14,14). 2. Originally, the plan for other people was not annihilation, but merely dispossession. 3. Where a nation was meant to be extinct, it had reached a degree of evil to such an extent that God had to find a way to protect His people from that evil. 4. Evil defends itself and does not give up willingly. Whoever therefore fights evil, will find that using violence in unavoidable. 5. God-demanded violence is, as a kind of protection and education mechanism, ultimately a sign for His love towards those He wants to protect from evil.
This Easter weekend, the journalist Heribert Prantl threw a provocative question on us: “How dead is God?” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 25th, 2016) He links the existence of God to the behaviour of those who claim to act in His name. Leaning on Nietzsches statement “God is dead – and we have killed him!” Prantl assumes that our behaviour will become God’s survival question.
We are part of a play, and essential participants in a great controversy. Our behaviour does not make God more alive than He already is, but it determines how alive, and how good God will be perceived in a society that does not know His name.Written by Janet Reznicek on Monday, 28 March 2016.