Saturday, December 10, 2011

A boy's doubts on his faith

Being born to pious parents from a predominantly Catholic area, I was made to believe everything the Church taught. Everyone spoke about God's love but I could find only suffering all around me. The poor suffered more although they prayed and obeyed His laws more.  A few friends of mine died when they were 10 or12 and I began to wonder why did God create them at all. How could they know, love or follow his commandments if they died before they could use their free will? If God took them to heaven why doesn't He take all of us without any test? Why should there be a hell with all the fire, dragons and snakes? How can He give eternal punishment for a sin done in this short life? Could God be unjust or even like a demon? My imagination was running wild. By the time I was in grade X I knew more children who died before the age of 10 than those who survived. In the 19th and 20th centuries more children survived infancy and childhood due to man's advancement in medicine and science. Natural calamities, plagues, famines, hurricanes were all making man's life miserable especially in the poor regions. Was God partial or does He not care at all?  Knowing that the First Parents would fail, why did God permit that foolish test?  To put us all in pain and misery? How can He punish us for the sins of our fore-fathers? How can we be responsible for what was done by those who lived 4000 years back? None could give me proper answers to these questions.
Jesus Was born a Jew, lived a Jew and died a Jew. Even now Jews live with the expectation of the God-promised redeemer-king. But this new religion turned against them and  he cursed them and prophesied the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem! A pious Jew would never do that.  Did someone else put words into his mouth? If God loved the world so much why did he make the first parents commit that blunder? Why did God make his poor son suffer ignominiously? One word of His was enough. If He is pure act and there is nothing in potency in Him, everything is predetermined and there is no use in trying to avoid sin or in trying to do good. He knows from all eternity whether you and I will go to heaven or hell and things would happen as He knows them. It was then obvious that Judas was a pawn in His hands who did what was determined in God. Why should we detest him? If anyone goes to hell (all the billions who died  before Jesus redeemed us through his death on the cross, were thrown into hell, we were told) it happens so because God wants it.  I used to raise these questions in the catechism classes and one day a very learned priest, as he could not answer me properly, replied quoting St. Augustine: "God has prepared a place in hell for those who want to know more."  'Then I will have to be there in any case,' I replied and sat down.        

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