a combination of an unusually busy schedule and computer crashes have kept me from posting lately, and my mind is full of thoughts about many things. one of the things that has been occupying my mind during my limited "think" time in the last several days is the random events that make up our lives. having been raised a calvinist, my natural tendency is think of everything that happens as being "willed" by God. that point-of-view leads to some unfortunate, and i've come to conclude, erroneous conclusions.
one of the chief of these is the idea that the wonderful circumstances of my life are due to God's blessing me. if that is the case, doesn't that mean that God has chosen not to bless others who live in unbelievably unfortunate situations? for instance, i am fortunate to live where i live, to enjoy many rights and freedoms, to have lived my entire life without having to worry about the necessities of life, to have never experienced any prolonged periods of unemployment, to have a supportive, loving family. i didn't earn any of this, but do i enjoy all of these things because God has chosen to bless me, or was it pure chance that i am who, what, & where i am?
the deist position that God is the Creator, "nature's God," if you will, who created all that is and set the natural laws in motion and continues, for the most part, as a benign observer may be closer to the truth that we want to acknowledge. regardless of what right-wing politicians posit, this philosophy was a motivating force in the establishment of our country, and as i age, i am drawn more and more to that philosophy. if God is a good God, then it follows that, since "the rain falls on the good and evil alike," the circumstances of our lives in general, and in particular, are random.
the atheist perspective that, if there is a good God, the great evils that take place in the world--the ruthlessness of dictators, the death of innocents, the destructive force of natural disasters--would not be allowed: a "good" God would not allow humanity to suffer so. there is some merit in that perspective, and it is hard to imagine that God allows such horrible suffering. yet, in my inner being, i continue to believe in a good God that wishes only good for God's creation.
how, then, can we explain the suffering that exists for so many in the world, or the great blessings that exist for some? it must be that God wills it, but only in the sense that God allows both the suffering and the blessing, and both occur as random events that have no relationship to the moral quality of either those who suffer or those who are blessed. the question then becomes, "why try to live a 'good' life?" for me, the answer is that there is an inner voice that God has planted there that compels us in that direction. we may choose to ignore that voice, but i believe that it is still there.
my thinking on this subject is far from conclusive for me at this point, and i continue to seek understanding of how God works in the world. i can only say that this is where i am at this moment. my prayer is that we are all open to the still small voice and that we can discern the path along which that voice is leading us.