The Non-Answers: God, Satan, and Sin
A while ago, when I was reading up on the atheist / theist debate, I remember coming across multiple instances where an atheist would say:
“God is a non-answer.”
As a Christian I remember going “what? That’s a clever ruse. Just say it isn’t an answer and dismiss it off-hand?” I honestly thought it was a stupid, clever trick to dismiss God.
But then I’ve been thinking about it. “God did everything” or “God allowed everything” or “God made everything” or “God is everywhere” or “God designed everything” or “God has every answer” or “God knows” are not very useful statements. They are just as useful as “Satan is the source of all lies” or “sin is the source of all suffering” or “government corruption is caused by greed”. For, if we were to honestly apply those answers in our daily lives, they would get us no where.
For each question below, consider the usefulness of the answers “God”, “Satan”, or “Sin”. Then consider the usefulness of the other answers. Then ask yourself: would ignoring the answers “God”, “Satan”, and “Sin” make any difference in my life?
Q1: Where do babies come from?
Q2: What causes earthquakes?
A3: Natural causes that can be studied to help us avoid earthquake prone areas.
Note: if you answer A1 or A2, what method are you going to use to determine which one is the correct answer?
Q3: Where does lightning come from?
A3: Built up electric charges between two large bodies, like a cloud and the earth.
Note: if you answer A1 or A2, what method are you going to use to determine which one is the correct answer? Also note that (A1) and (A2) are polar opposites, so saying “it could be either one” is quite a difference.
Q4: What causes illnesses?
A1: Satan (attack)
A2: God (testing)
A3: Sin (punishment)
A4: Bacteria and viruses that can be avoided by limited contact with the sick, regular washing of the hands, and medicinal treatments.
Note: if you answer A1, A2, or A3, what method are you going to use to determine which one is the correct answer? Keep in mind that A1, A2, and A3 are radically different answers… it would be best to have a method to determine which one is accurate!
Q5: Why is my marriage falling apart?
A1: Satan is attacking us
A2: My spouse is sinning
A3: I am sinning
A4: I am having an affair
A5: I am lying about my affair and my spouse is catching on…
Out of all these answer, the most practical one is (A5), all the other answers are pretty meaningless, even if they could be said to be “true”. And keep in mind, that saying “having an affair is sinful” is a completely meaningless statement. It doesn’t matter whether having an affair is sinful or not, what matters is that having the affair and lying about it are the cause of the marriage falling apart. We are assuming here that a marriage falling apart is a bad thing. (A5) is the only meaningful and useful answer out of all of them – and it says nothing about whether Satan or sin is involved! (A5) just says “having an affair and lying about it is causing your marriage to fall apart”. End of story. There is no need to insert a spiritual commentary at all and the answer reveals itself without any reference to sin or Satan. The solution? Stop having the affair if you want your marriage to stop falling apart!
Answering “God”, “Sin”, or “Satan” to everyday questions may be convenient by categorizing an item as caused by something benevolent (God), caused by ourselves (Sin), or caused by something malevolent (Satan). However, beyond that the answers are completely meaningless. These answers simply give us a way to categorize and personify the source of an item in question. But that is all these answers do.
“God”, “Satan”, and “Sin” are useless non-answers that are completely subjective depending on the mood, the neuroticism, and the doctrinal standing of the individual throwing them around as answers. They are completely useless answers in our daily lives, which is why non-theists can get along just fine without them.
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