Religious faith. That is certainly a subject that can polarise and divide opinion between different people!
We live in a world where it seems as though the more committed someone is to their particular faith view, then the more certain they seem to be about life and what others should or should not do. That is often the impression that comes through much of the popular media's analysis of faith and life issues. But does that really help to make sense of life in all its mystery and complexity?
Why do terrible things happen in our world and why does it so often appear God is silent and not involved?
Chris Wright is a scholar of the Old Testament of the Bible who has written a number of books on knowing and understanding God. He is someone who has a life long passion for knowing God through the Bible scriptures and communicating that clearly to others.
It is somewhat surprising then that Chris has also written a book called "The God I Don't Understand". Here is what he writes in the introduction:
"It seems to me that the older I get the less I think I really understand God. Which is not to say that I don't love and trust Him. On the contrary, as life goes on my love and trust grow deeper, but my struggle with what God does or allows grows deeper too."
On this podcast we have the privilege of interviewing Chris about the book he has written and exploring this tension between living a life of faith, loving and trusting God, while at the same time being honest enough to admit there is often mystery and much we do not understand about life.
Do join us in this fascinating conversation as we explore:
How anger and frustration with what God allows and does not allow in our world is nothing new. Indeed an author like Richard Dawkins writes in his book 'The God Delusion':
"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filiacidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
How Psalm 73 written 2,700 years ago by someone called Asaph dealt with similar anger and frustration with God's dealings with the world, but came to a very different conclusion.
Why the question of evil and suffering is a specific problem for people who have a Biblical faith, compared to those of other religions.
Why the Bible says we should not bottle up our feelings and be stoical when suffering and evil comes into our lives, but actually to be angry, lament and protest.
Why Chris surprisingly says, "Of all the things that lead me to speak of the God I don't understand, the cross is top of the list."
Why was the death of Christ necessary?
What did God actually accomplish through the death of His Son?
How did it all work? Or to be even more specific: How did one man's bleeding body stretched on two pieces of wood for six hours of torture and death on a particular Friday one spring outside a city in a remote province of the Roman Empire change everything in the universe?
How can it be possible for God to be both loving and angry?
What comments and questions does this discussion raise for you?
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