An Opinion on Searching For God
I recently read George Yancy’s article, “Dear God, Are You There?” and it made me feel inclined to revisit my childhood as a “hopeful Christian theist.” His article was primarily a message of hope; hope that some god can explain all of the problems in our world. While I commend Yancy for being more open-minded than most of the Christians I’ve observed over the years, there was one important thing I took away from his editorial: the man is in denial and refuses to believe his ears.
In my middle and high school years, I was in rough mental and emotional shape. I had few to no friends and was bullied by neglection. In my darkest times, I turned to God, hoping he would be my one true friend and make the world around me a better place. After convincing myself He was talking to me, I became a more devout Catholic. When I realized I wasn’t becoming any happier afterwards, I prayed and finally opened up my ears, listening. The response was simple and underwhelming: “. . .”
There are a lot of sentiments in which having faith in the face of hopelessness is reasonable, even when the positive outcome seems unlikely. But the belief that a god will be the answer to our world’s biggest problems is, unfortunately, not one of them. Is Yancy not aware that close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year? that horrible diseases like cancer kill millions? Can Yancy have God explain why countless newborns die within minutes, crushing the hearts of families who “prayed” for a healthy baby? And for what?
Let no one forget the Holocaust, which resulted in the deaths of over six million Jewish people over seventy years ago. The prayers of innocent Jewish men, women, and children as they marched toward Adolf Hitler’s wrath fell on deaf ears. If that wasn’t enough for God to do something, recall the Darfur genocide of the twenty-first century, during which more than one million innocent children were raped, killed, traumatized, and orphanized. That’s not just neglection on “God’s” part. That’s a slap in the face.
Yancy is kidding himself. There’s merit in discussing the possibility of a god’s existence, but if the examples mentioned earlier aren’t collectively a clear indication to him that a god who responds to prayer probably doesn’t exist, I don’t know what is. Whether a god exists or not, we’re on our own. Yancy and other Christians like him would be better off dropping the “thoughts and prayers” mentality and pondering the ways in which we can improve the state of our broken world by ourselves, even if they don’t deconvert. Vote for the right President. Help in the effort to combat climate change. It’s time for people to give their own effort in making positive changes in the world because the silence from “God” is deafening, and it speaks volumes.