Three Strange But True Ways Christians Justify Starving Children – A Response Post

Every once in a while a post or a tweet grabs my attention and I simply cannot contain my response to 140 characters. This was one of them: “3 Strange But True Reasons Why God Doesn’t Feed All the Starving Children in the World” from the apologetics website “Not Ashamed of the Gospel”. This should be good, I thought. “Strange”, so they probably won’t be reasons I’ve heard before, and “true” so there must be some pretty good evidence to back these reasons up! Sigh. Wrong on both counts. And thus we have my second response post.

So, what are the strange but true reasons God doesn’t feed all the starving children?

Reason #1 : It’s Not God’s Responsibility to Feed the Starving Children of the World

Of all the times that I have read the Bible from cover to cover, I can’t think of a single Bible verse in which God makes a promise to feed all the starving children in the world.

So when somebody accuses God of being unjust because He has the capability to feed starving children, and He doesn’t, then it’s that person that has a misunderstanding of God.

All right, let me stop you right there, because I can think of two Bible verses off the top of my head that contradict this line of thinking. The first being…

birds

Pretty. It continues:

 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:26-33

This sounds suspiciously like, “God will feed all the starving children”, doesn’t it? Especially if they earnestly pray and seek God. I hardly doubt the author can say that those children must not have prayed hard enough or believed firmly enough.

This brings me to the second verse which contradicts Reason #1. Jesus himself promises to grant whatever prayers we ask for:

10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” – Luke 11:10-13

That sounds pretty conclusive to me. Of course it doesn’t use the exact words, “God promises to feed all the starving children in the world”, but it’s extremely close. How about one more, for good measure? Okay 🙂

21 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” – Matthew 21:21-22

How many Christians pray every day for the poor? Yet nothing happens.

terms

I can’t move on to the second reason without addressing this:

If God Isn’t Responsible For Feeding Starving Children, Then Who Is?
The answer is you and me. I can think of numerous Bible verses in which God instructs His children to feed the poor people of the world.

Of course he goes on to list said Bible verses. Here’s the thing — God is all-powerful. We are not. God has unlimited resources. We do not. Why in the world would he entrust the well-being of his children to his other children who can barely take care of themselves?! That would be like an absentee parent expecting the oldest child to take care of all the younger ones — I mean, they’ll do it cause they have to, cause they love their siblings and want the best for them, but it’s gonna be hellish, to say the least. Instead of ALL of the children being taken care of equally well by a responsible parent, each child will suffer to varying degrees.

This “reason” – that we are responsible, not God – is not answering the “why” here.

Q: “Why doesn’t God feed all the starving children in the world?”
A: “Because it’s our responsibility!”

But why is it our responsibility? It’s not answering the question. It’s shifting the blame and not giving a reason. It’s saying, because I said so. In this case, because the Bible says so. You will not get very far using the Bible to prove the Bible with an atheist.

Reason #2: God Isn’t Like Humans

Atheists make a mistake when they say things like, “If I saw a starving child and had the power to feed him and I don’t, then I am evil. That’s the same thing with God, He is evil because He has the power to feed starving children and He doesn’t.”

First of all, an atheist would never capitalize “He” for God. Blech. 😉 Secondly, I pretty much already addressed this when the author asserted it was somehow our responsibility, but I’ll repeat: the God you assert exists has the motive (all-loving), means (all-powerful), and opportunity (all-knowing/all-present) to feed all the starving children of the world. We do not. It’s not that atheists think God is evil. It’s just that this issue makes more sense if he didn’t exist, because the properties you assign to God do not jive with life as we know it.

God’s goals are different than our goals. His purposes are different than our purposes. His way of justice is different than the human way of justice.

Ahh, the “mysterious ways”. *Insert Twilight Zone theme music here*

Once again, this is not answering the question. This is wishful thinking. Cognitive dissonance. Mental gymnastics. The world doesn’t jive with the properties you assign to God, so there must be an explanation! Yet once again, you fail to give one.

Reason #3: God’s Justice is Coming Soon For All

While God does see hate crimes, rapes, and murders as sins, He also sees lying, cheating, and hating people as sins too.

So since God is a just God, then He’s going to have to give justice to all if He were to judge the world today.

That means that there would be a lot of people who would receive punishment for eternity for breaking God’s standards.

So instead, God is saving His judgment for Judgment Day. That’s when everyone is going to get judged for what they did on earth.

Okay, I think we went a biiiiit off topic with this last reason. We were talking about feeding starving children, remember? But I’ll bite – This is a cop-out.

There are plenty of instances where God delivers “justice” immediately in the Bible. Just off the top of my head, God smites: Noah’s contemporaries, Oman for spilling his seed, 42 children mauled by bears for making fun of a prophet, Sodom and Gomorrah. I could go on, but you get the idea. There are also plenty of examples in the Bible where God helps people immediately – all of Jesus’ miracles (including feeding and healing people), parting the Red Sea, manna from heaven, etc. Come on, don’t play coy – we all know that God intervenes heavily in people’s lives in the Bible.

So this “you have to wait til after death” thing is crap. Jesus didn’t say, “Ask and ye shall receive in heaven”.

Here’s the thing though, maybe we wouldn’t expect God to feed all the starving children if believers weren’t constantly thanking him for mundane shit like finding their keys, getting a promotion, or putting food on their table. Isn’t it weird how God always seems to “bless” people in first world countries more? Why can he feed us but not the people who need it most?

MICHAELONGOD
So many questions.

All of these (now debunked) reasons apply not only to starving children, but the problem of evil / suffering as a whole. You can try to apply these to someone being raped, or murdered, or tortured, or all three. Why doesn’t God help them? Any of us would immediately rush to someone else’s aid if we had the means and opportunity.

This blog post (3 Strange But True Reasons…), while it does include questioning Christians in its target audience, seems to assume these explanations have never occured to atheists before. On the contrary. Especially for ex-believers like myself who had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into non-belief by our own brains, we have wrestled with these questions and even accepted these answers at some point.

Where we start to slide into non-belief is when these reasons no longer satisfy us. They no longer satisfy the cognitive dissonance ringing in our brains saying, This doesn’t make sense!

We come to realize it makes far more sense not to twist ourselves into a pretzel for these half-assed rationalizations, and that the far simpler answer is… it’s just us out here. We do have to take care of each other because we are the only ones who can.

Update: The author of the original post responded to my critiques. Check out my response to a response to a response… Oh my! 

To make a real difference in others’ lives, click here and donate, in honor of the one-year anniversary of Robin Williams’ passing, to one of his favorite charities.

Hat tip to GodSwill Ministries (website, Twitter) who posted the original article on their Facebook today. Go check ’em out! 

For my first response post, check out It’s Not “The Message” We Object To, Trust Me… – A Response to Ken Ham.

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30 thoughts on “Three Strange But True Ways Christians Justify Starving Children – A Response Post

  1. ah yes, yes of course when a starving child dies on the other side of the world its our fault for not doing something to stop it, because after all, God foreknew that child into existence and foreknew the child’s death because he also foreknew we wouldn’t feed them….that’s messed up

    Liked by 3 people

  2. 100% yes. It’s no wonder christians fear ‘the world’ so much, because access to other people who have the same questions and have come to rational conclusions would not validate their belief. It would rightly draw them away from faith. I wish I had found you YEARS ago.

    Thank you SO much for writing this out and expressing what so many of us are reconciling as we pull ourselves away from the herd.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was still a Christian just a few years ago! Haha. I’m so glad you find this page helpful. That means so much to me and it’s such encouragement for me to keep writing. I’m glad you made your way out and we can keep each other grounded. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter any time! We are in this together 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another excellent article, lady. This is a great, reasoned series of points against an irrational argument. If I might point one thing out, the second verse you use as an example for God feeding the chitlins, does not clearly define the terms as ‘God will provide food for you to eat.’ It’s saying ‘God will provide food for your soul to eat, in the form of the Holy Spirit.’ Like metaphorical potato chips. You’ll still be starving to death, but you’ll be happy that at least he loves you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha, “metaphorical potato chips”. Love it. I suppose any of the verses could really be ret-conned into “Oh, it’s a spiritual meaning” but it doesn’t read that way to me at all. It says “whatever you ask for in prayer God will give you”. Especially for biblical literalists, I think they’d have a hard time justifying that.

      Thank you so much for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent rebuttal.

    I think these excuses made for their god are partly because they live in a bubble and hardly see the suffering that many humans go through on a daily basis. They sit in their comfy, heated, furnished homes and think they’re blessed. The suffering of others is too far away to really consider. It must be their fault that they’re in that predicament.

    Those excuses don’t hold water.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I agree with your comment… Although even those Christians who get deep into the trenches, like Mother Theresa, have awful justifications for suffering too. I think it comes down to cognitive dissonance. They find an answer that suits their biases and stop there.

      Thanks for reading and following!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent post. I remember one time when our Satellite feed went for a burton for a while and I sat there staring at a blank screen mesmerized waiting for the start of the football without so much as a coffee or a cheese sandwich. Obviously, I couldn’t leave in case it came back on and I missed a second of the game, but no matter how much I yelled, ”Jesus Christ!” and shook my fist at the TV no cheese sandwich was forthcoming.

    It was at that very moment I had an epiphany and fully realised the christian god did not feed the poor or starving and was probably not a Liverpool supporter either – miserable sod!

    I am currently busy investigating Buddhism on the subject of cheese sandwiches upon request.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am partial to Cheddar but if I get Emmental I won’t complain.
        I shall let you know.
        Meanwhile it will have to be a wish sandwich.
        That’s two slices of bread wishing they had a bit of cheese to put between them. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Nancy, thank you very much for your post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I welcome all comments, and I am delighted when I read comments that have perspectives that are different from my own.

    I want to say right off the bat that I respect your point of view, and that I’d like to respond to your article in this comment. I’ll also copy and paste my response and put it on your blog so that your visitors can see what I have to say about the things that you wrote.

    1. Your Interpretation of Mathew 6:26 is Inaccurate

    In your response, you said that Matthew 6:26 is a Bible verse that supports the claim that God says that He is going to feed everyone, or at least starving children. However, that is not the correct interpretation of the Bible verse.

    Instead of writing the correct interpretation here since I have a lot of ground to cover, I’m going to link to Orthodox Biblical commentaries that do show the correct interpretation of Mathew 6:26.

    A. http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/smith_chuck/SermonNotes_Mat/Mat_112.cfm?a=935026
    B. http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Mat/Mat_006.cfm?a=935026

    This then brings up the point, what makes these author’s interpretation of the Bible correct, and yours incorrect?

    The answer lies in how you interpret the Bible. The Bible itself tells us that the only correct way to interpret the Bible is to have God reveal to you what it means.

    1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But the natural man (i.e. unbeliever) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

    This verse implies that one has to be a born-again Christian to correctly understand the things of God.

    Does that mean that unbelievers should not read the Bible? Of course they should read the Bible. However, unbelievers have two choices if they want to read and interpret the Bible correctly:

    1. Either they can pray and ask God to help them understand what the Bible means
    2. Or they can rely on a reliable Orthodox Bible commentary to help them

    If they don’t do one of these two things, and they read Bible passages the way that you do, then they will make common mistakes. These are mistakes like taking things out of context, and not understanding the rules that govern the interpretation of Scripture.

    There’s a whole department of Christianity known as Systematic Theology that is dedicated to the correct interpretation of the Bible.

    2. Your Interpretation of Mathew 21:2 is Inaccurate

    Again, you misinterpret Mathew 21:2 in your article. I think it’s sufficient to say that if your interpretation were true, then Christians would be asking God for millions of dollars in their bank accounts every day.

    But any Christian worth his or her salt knows that that is not the case, and that’s not what the Bible advocates.

    3. You Are Making Up a God in Your Own Image

    In your response, you wrote, “God is all-powerful. We are not. God has unlimited resources. We do not. Why in the world would he entrust the well-being of his children to his other children who can barely take care of themselves?”

    The mistake that you’re making here Nancy is that you are dictating to God the way that you think He should act. Anytime that you do that, then you are making up an idol in your own image, which is exactly what point number two of my article is talking about.

    This is the number one mistake that atheists make when it comes to God. They have problems with the way the Christian God behaves. I can say that because as a former atheist, this is what made me leave the Christian faith to begin with.

    I left Christianity because God didn’t behave the way that I thought He was supposed to behave. When He didn’t come through for me during some difficult family circumstances, I felt like He failed me. Then I thought that everything I was taught in the Bible and church was false. That’s why I became an atheist. But it was years later that I became a Christian again.

    Here’s a link to my story. Just make sure that you copy and paste it so that you don’t navigate away from this comment when you click on it http://atheisttochristian.com.

    4. Atheists Don’t Capitalize “He” When Referring to God

    I know that. As I was writing the article, all references that I made about atheists and them referring to God, were always written with a lowercase “g” for “God”, and a lowercase “h” for “He.”

    But then I changed my mind. I said to myself, “This is my blog and on my blog I want to respect and revere God.” So that’s why I changed all of my casings for the words “God” and “He” to be capitalized.

    5. One of God’s Attributes is Missing

    You wrote, “the God you assert exists has the motive (all-loving), means (all-powerful), and opportunity (all-knowing/all-present) to feed all the starving children of the world. We do not. It’s not that atheists think God is evil. It’s just that this issue makes more sense if he didn’t exist, because the properties you assign to God do not jive with life as we know it.”

    While yes God is all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing, there is one at attribute of God that you didn’t mention, and that most people don’t talk about. That attribute is that God also has all-freedom.

    What does that mean? It means that He has the freedom to make whatever choices He wants to make that fit His purposes, and that are often based on His knowledge of the future. Knowledge of the future is something that you and I don’t have, but God does. So in my opinion, it’s sufficient to say that God makes His own choices based on His own reasons and purposes.

    That doesn’t mean that we will always agree with God’s reasons. But what I am saying is that God not behaving according to your standards does not negate His existence either.

    6. God Delivers Justice in this World and in the Afterlife

    You wrote, “There are plenty of instances where God delivers ‘justice’ immediately in the Bible.” Then you go on to cite some examples.

    Yes, God did deliver justice instantaneously in some parts of the Bible. Then there are also parts in which He granted people an opportunity to repent before implementing His justice. Again, this is to some extent based on God’s knowledge of the future. So God can choose to deliver justice instantaneously or at a later time.

    Additionally, there was one huge thing that was never mentioned in your article. Of course, it makes sense that you wouldn’t mention such a thing since you’re an atheist.

    But what about those children who do pray to God and do get fed? How about those children whose prayers are answered? I’m pretty sure that to it would be an impossibility for you since you wrongfully assume that God doesn’t exist.

    Conclusion

    These are some of my thoughts about the points that you brought up in your article. Of course, I couldn’t write up a response to everything that you wrote. However, I know that you will not like these answers and you probably won’t agree with most of them. Nevertheless, at least you also see the “the side of the coin”.

    Please also note that when I pointed out the errors in your article, I don’t do it maliciously or because I want to prove you wrong. It is my sincerest desire to see you come back to Christianity and to give your heart to Jesus.

    I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and I know what it’s like to live with God and to live without Him. You can imagine which side of the fence I think is the best.

    I wish you all the best Nancy 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m sure Nancy is going to address some of your points here and it will be interesting to see how she responds. I’m more interested in the notion you have of the Christian Gods “freedom”. If God is Omni- benevolent, then any action (or inaction) of God would be “good”. When “evil” occurs God will do something or do nothing to prevent it and by your own definition either action or inaction means he does “good.” Now, if a child was being raped and we as adults stood by watching doing nothing our act of “freewill” is a mark against us (its even called “sin” by Christians). However if God is there and does nothing to prevent it…its somehow still “good”. Yes some people even believes God grieves and might be sorrowful about the hideous action but for a adult bystander to feel sad and do nothing still leaves him guilty of “the sin of omission” I believe this is the Christian term? How is God free if everything he does, even turning his back and/or a deaf ear to a suffering child (or millions of children) is still considered good?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Please also note that when I pointed out the errors in your article, I don’t do it maliciously or because I want to prove you wrong. It is my sincerest desire to see you come back to Christianity and to give your heart to Jesus.

      I suspect Nancy’s answer might contain something along these lines: ‘Why the bloody hell would I give my heart to a smelly, somewhat delusional and more than likely legendary first century eschatological preacher?’
      or ‘ When Hell freezes over! ‘.
      However, as I suspect Nancy does not believe in the christian-fabricated hell or any other for that matter, then maybe the first answer might be more appropriate, Peter?

      Like

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