People complain about the commercialization of Christmas; maybe we should think more about the way our culture sentimentalizes and trivializes this event. The holiday isn’t just about a red-nosed reindeer’s quest for social acceptance; it is about streets red with the blood of slaughtered innocents while the Holy Family flees into exile.Via A Conservative Blog for Peace. Share
Get away from Christmas card sentimentality and some troubling questions come up. What kind of a God would get his own kid out of harm’s way while leaving so many other children so exposed? Why didn’t God give all the parents dreams? Or, more elegantly, why didn’t he send Herod a nice heart attack? On reflection, that turns out to be a new and very sharp way of asking one of the most basic questions that people quite justifiably ask about God: what kind of God could allow such evil and catastrophic things to happen? Why are innocents slaughtered and oppressed anywhere? If God is so powerful and he loves us so much, why are the historical records, and our daily newspapers, so full of violence, evil and oppression?
The classic Christian answer to this question, and here again standard Christianity makes a lot of sense to me personally, has two parts. The first is that God made us free; he did not want a universe of sock puppets praising and obeying him. He wanted a world, not a computer simulation.
God is serious. When he made us, he meant it. We are real, and what we do counts. He has given us the freedom to be co-creators with him of the world we live in. But having given us real freedom, he and we are stuck with the consequences. Our choices are real, and they have real consequences for ourselves and for those around us. If the Germans vote for Hitler, Hitler is who they and their neighbors will get. If God is serious about our freedom, he must abide by the choices we make.
God could have made a world without Herods — if he had made a world without real moral actors and autonomous beings. He could have made a G-rated, namby pamby world like “Teletubbies” where nothing really bad ever happens. But it would be a toy world, not a real place with real people in it. God chose to make us real, we use our freedom as we do, and the result is the history we all read about and the cruelties, hypocrisies and moral failures that we all see and know. (Read more.)