God is good! A different perspective.

God is good!

The ornery me just chuckled at the prospect of someone reading and responding to that opening sentence with an “Amen!”

There’s irony in that I’m writing this on a Sunday morning, when once upon a time I’d have been heading to mass, and might have strongly agreed with someone expressing that sentiment. I like to think that I’ve grown spiritually over the years (although some (including the younger version of myself) might argue that I ‘lost my way’ when I ‘turned away from the church’).

In either case, something that’s gnaws at my core (shenpa, is that you?) is when I hear people exclaim, “God is good!” Usually, it’s not accompanied with things that make people sad.

He lost his battle to cancer today. God is good!
The fire took our house, barn and our son. God is good!
I lost my job today. God is good!
After 6 months of pregnancy she lost the baby. God is good!

No, I’ve only heard or seen this proclaimed when someone is pleased with what they consider a positive outcome, apparently the one also set forth by God, since s/he’s getting the credit for it.

He won his battle with cancer. God is good!
The fire took our house, barn but not our son. God is good!
I lost my job today, but got a new job offer on the same day. God is good!
They were able to put the baby on life support. God is good!

I’m not sure if it annoys me more because it feels like those saying it are saying “I win! I win! I win!” or because they are sucking up to the always listening deity and they want to make sure they’re on his good side, else they see a less desirable outcome next time – devotion built on fear.

What I would like to say to these people:

You actually really don’t get what it means.
If you are a “God is good” proclaimer, consider reasons why one might actually say this. If you are Christian, you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins. Wow, that’s pretty amazing – God is good! You might also believe that he is merciful and forgiving; that through him you learn empathy; that he’s always with you, good times and bad; that he loves you. For those reasons, for God’s sake (pun intended), if you want to proclaim and exclaim God’s goodness, understand what you’re saying and use it in the appropriate situation.

Don’t abandon logic.
I doubt you think that people who die of cancer, or get into accidents, etc., etc., etc. are deserving of those things. If they’re not, but those things happen, then how does God being good have anything to do with your fortune or their misfortune? If you believe that God does good things for good people, does God make/let bad things happen to bad people? How many people do you know in power who are bad people? Have you heard of nasty people that live into their 90s, but sweet young hearts that are lost as infants?

Science really does play a large part in (almost?) everything that happens.
For example, when your chicken coop and chickens didn’t burn down during the fire, even though your garage right next to it did, it’s likely the reason is literally because of the direction the wind was blowing – not because God is good.

Cancer beat that person in your family because your family carries the gene for it and their body couldn’t overcome it, not because they deserved it. That person in your family that beat cancer beat it because something in their biology worked out that way, not because God is good.

God probably isn’t stupid.
If you think that saying it is some kind of a protection against evil, think about it for a minute. God is probably way smart, and “all-knowing” probably means s/he knows your true self, and so s/he knows if you’re just saying it because you fear not saying it means you’ll fall out of favor.

Is the world a coincidence?
Maybe there is a God, or some great intelligence that has set this all in motion. The universe, all it’s perfections and imperfections, and in it the world, down to a quark — everything we have conceptualized is wonderful and often amazingly intricate. I have a hard time believing that everything that is, is the result of a long chain of accidents. I guess it’s possible, but I highly doubt it. On the other hand, when good or bad things happen to good or bad people, I’m sure there’s not a deity pressing a good person/bad person button.