Did the Coronavirus Prove that God does not Exist? هل أثبت فايروس كورونا عدم وجود الله؟

الترجمة العربية لهذه المدونة تلي النسخة الإنكليزية

It is quite the time to be alive. We are living in a global pandemic. This is not an apocalyptic movie, video game, or board game. This is real life. We sit huddled in the safety of our homes, and thousands of medical workers and other vital parts of society brave the outdoors.

But in the online world no one is staying inside. On the contrary, old wars have been renewed, and new wars are being waged. The most prominent being between atheists and believers.

The main argument used by atheists can be paraphrased by the following statement: God is imaginary. When real danger struck, all religious places of worship were closed. Religious leaders are unable to find a solution. All eyes turn now to science. Religion is useless.

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Pope Francis delivers his weekly blessing to an empty St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, March 15, 2020 (source: CNN)

I will attempt to reply to this accusation. I will state from the onset that I do not care for defending religion in general. In fact, I do not care for defending Christianity, or at least all that Christianity has become. I will be defending my personal faith in Jesus Christ.

First of all, yes, atheists are right. A magical god who protects believers from all dangers and intervenes to solve all their problems does not exist (see my take on praying for protection in my previous blog). I don’t care what bible passages you can quote (que psalm 91), the current crisis, for all intents and purposes, has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that such a god does not exist.

Second, the New Testament never claims that it’s the church’s job to heal diseases. Yes, God has intervened in scriptures, history, and with people I know personally to heal in a supernatural way. But that has never been the purpose of faith in Jesus. You see, the bible places the problems of this world firmly on sin and not sickness. This world is broken. Humanity is broken. If anything, the current coronavirus crisis has proven that. Prices have gone up and people are panic-buying all the resources. The issue of sin, be it selfishness, hate, or general evil, will not be resolved by science. A thousand years more of scientific research will not make us better people. Science can and does provide solutions to most of the problems of this world. Science allows me to write this blog and post it online. Science will hopefully soon provide a vaccine for Covid-19. But it can’t devise a solution for the problem of sin. This is the gospel. This is the message of Jesus. Perhaps it is too simple that it will be laughable for some. But it is what it is. Jesus, by his life, death, and resurrection, was victorious over sin and death. We can join in his victory if we choose to follow him.

Third, the Christian faith hinges on one fact. Not on miracles. Not on supernatural happenings. The Christian faith hinges on the death and resurrection of Christ. Prove those wrong and yes, you have proven that my faith in Jesus is wishful thinking.

Fourth, and finally, there are brilliant scientists who follow Jesus. There are brilliant scientists who are atheists. A Christian worldview sees the hand of God behind and through all that is good in this world, including scientific advancements and discoveries. Faith in Jesus does not oppose science. Yes, the church has stood in the face of science multiple times across history. Those events are deplorable. But the church has also stood with science and enhanced scientific discovery in other places and times across history.

I join my voice to that of my atheist friends in asking my fellow followers of Jesus, and all believers in general, to take a moment to reconsider our theology in light of what is happening.

I am aware that this blog does not answer all the thoughts and questions of my atheist friends. I am aware that the problem of evil (how does a good God allow evil in the world?) is wider than the above discussion. I hope that, at the very least, this blog pushes my atheist friends to reconsider their attacks on religion. I also hope that this blog pushes my fellow believers to reconsider their views about God.

Allow me to end with a salute to all the scientists, nurses, doctors, cleaners, workers in the food industry, and security forces working tirelessly day and night in the face of danger to help bring an end to this nightmare.

Let us stand in prayer

Lord,

The earth is under water.

Would you stop the rain?

Amen

 

مدونة #103

هل أثبت فايروس كورونا عدم وجود الله؟

إنه لوقت مميّز في تاريخ البشرية! ها نحن نعيش  وسط وباء عالمي! لسنا نشاهد فيلمًا أو نلعب لعبة إلكترونيّة، أو ثقافيّة عن نهاية العالم، بل هذه حقيقة واقعة. نحن نجلس مختبئين في بيوتنا بينما يواجه آلاف العاملين في قطاعات الصحّة والطعام وغيرها العالم الخارجي الخطير

ولكن عبر الإنترنت الصورة تختلف تمامًا، لا أحد “يقبع في منزله” بل تم إحياء حروب قديمة، واندلعت أخرى جديدة. وأهم تلك الصراعات هو الصراع بين الملحدين والمؤمنين

الحجة الأساسيّة التي يلجأ إليها الملحدون هي التالية: الله خرافة. عندما دق ناقوس الخطر الحقيقيّ أُغلقت دور العبادة أبوابها وعجز رجال الدين عن إيجاد الحلول. والآن كل العيون شخصت نحو العلم، والدين أصبح بلا منفعة

200315135039-01-pope-francis-coronavirus-0315-exlarge-169

يقدم البابا فرنسيس البركة الأسبوعية لساحة القديس بطرس الخالية في 15 آذار، 2020

سأحاول الردّ على هذا الإتّهام ولكن دعوني أوضّح أنه بدايةً  لا يهمّني الدفاع عن الأديان بشكل عام، ولا حتى يهمّني الدفاع عن المسيحيّة، أو أقلّه ما آلت إليه المسيحيّة في يومنا هذا، في المقابل، سأدافع عن إيماني الشخصي بيسوع المسيح

أولًا، الملحدون على حق. لا يوجد إله خرافي يحمي المؤمنين من كل المصائب ويتدخل دائًما لحل مشاكلهم (أنظر رأيي بالصلاة من أجل حماية إلهيّة في المدوّنة الماضية). لا يهمني إن استطعت أن تقتبس آيات كتابيّة حول هذا الموضوع (مثال مزمور 91)، فواقع الأمر أنّ هذه الأزمة أثبتت بما لا يقبل الشك بأن إله مماثل غير موجود

ثانياً، لا يدّعي العهد الجديد بأنّ دور الكنيسة هو الشفاء من الأمراض. نعم، تدخّل الله في الكتاب المقدس وعبرالتاريخ وحتّى مع أناس أعرفهم شخصياً بالشفاء بطرقٍ تفوق الطبيعة، غير أنّ هذا الأمر لم يكن يومًا هدف الإيمان بيسوع. الكتاب المقدس يحدّد مشكلة البشرية، ألا وهي الخطية وليس المرض. عالمنا فاسد والبشرية فاسدة، وأزمة فايروس كورونا هذه تذكّرنا بتلك الحقيقة المرّة، فالأسعار في غلاء مستمر والناس تشتري الأغراض بهلع وبدون التفكير بغيرها. ليس بمقدور العلم أن يجد الحلّ لمشكلة الخطيّة، أو سمّها الأنانية أو الكراهية أو الشرّ بشكل عام، ولو استمرّت الأبحاث العلميّة لألف سنة، فلن نصبح أناسًا أفضل. يقدّم العلم الحلول لمعظم مشاكل الأرض؛ فالعلم يتيح لي كتابة هذه المدوّنة ويتيح لي الوسيلة لتحميلها عبر الشبكة الإلكترونيّة، وأرجو أن يكتشف العلم الحل عمّا قريب لفايروس كورونا، ولكنّ العلم عاجز أمام مشكلة الخطيّة. وهذا هو الإنجيل؛ هذه هي رسالة يسوع! قد تبدو بسيطة لدرجة السخافة، ولكن هذه هي ببساطة ولا أمتلك غيرها: فيسوع من خلال حياته وموته وقيامته انتصر على الخطيئة والموت، وننضم نحن لهذا الإنتصار إن اخترنا اتباع المسيح

ثالثاً، الإيمان المسيح لا يرتبط بالعجائب أو الأمور الفائقة للطبيعة، غير أنّه يرتبط بحقيقة واحدة، وهي موت يسوع وقيامته. إن استطعت أن تبرهن أنّ المسيح لم يمت ولم يقم من الأموات فعندئذٍ تكون قد برهنت أن إيماني بيسوع مجرد خرافات وأوهام

رابعاً وأخيراً، في عالمنا علماء بارعون وهم من أتباع المسيح، وعلماء آخرون بارعون وهم ملحدون. المنظار المسيحي للعالم يرى يد الله في كل أمر صالح في الكون، بما في ذلك الإنجازات والإكتشافات العلميّة. فالإيمان بيسوع لا يتعارض مع العلم. نعم، للأسف وقفت الكنيسة عبر التاريخ عدة مرات في وجه العلم، وهذه أحداث مشينة في تاريخنا، ولكنّها وقفت أيضا في عدّة مراحل وأماكن في التاريخ مع التقدّم العلمي وساهمت به

أضمّ صوتي لأصوات أصدقائي الملحدين في الطّلب من أتباع يسوع والمؤمنين بشكل عام بأن يستغلّوا الفرصة للتفكير في لاهوتنا على ضوء ما يحدث اليوم

هذه المدونة لا تجيب كل أفكار أصدقائي الملحدين وأسئلتهم، وهي لا تناقش الموضوع الأوسع وهو مشكلة الشر (كيف يسمح إله صالح بحدوث الشر؟)، ولكن رجائي أن تدفع أصدقائي الملحدين على الأقل لإعادة التفكير بهجومهم على الدين. وأصلّي أن تدفع زملائي المؤمنين بإعادة التفكير بنظرتهم لله

دعوني أختم بتحيّة لكل العلماء والممّرضين والأطباء والعاملين في قطاعات التنظيف والطعام ولقوات حفظ الأمن من أجل تعبهم صباحاً ومساءاً في وجه الخطر لإنهاء هذا الكابوس

دعونا نقف لنصلي

يا رب

لقد غرقت الأرض

هلّا أوقفت المطر؟

آمين

8 thoughts on “Did the Coronavirus Prove that God does not Exist? هل أثبت فايروس كورونا عدم وجود الله؟

  1. Pingback: هل يحمي الصليب المناطق المسيحية من كورونا؟ Does the Cross Protect Christian Areas from Covid-19? – My WordPress

  2. Pingback: هل يحمي الصليب المناطق المسيحية من كورونا؟ Does the Cross Protect Christian Areas from Covid-19? | wherethevulturesgather

  3. ‘I will attempt to reply to this accusation. I will state from the onset that I do not care for defending religion in general. In fact, I do not care for defending Christianity, or at least all that Christianity has become. I will be defending my personal faith in Jesus Christ.”

    That’s called Christianity. Christians are in one of two camps: admiting that their god can do nothing or lying and claiming they can heal the virus. They cannot and they are going to hurt people by their false claims.

    ” I don’t care what bible passages you can quote (que psalm 91), the current crisis, for all intents and purposes, has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that such a god does not exist.”

    It’s always good to see Christians claim each other are wrong but have no evidence that they are right. You ignore your bible to come to this conclusion. the bible says that *all* prayers will be answered. No exception. Why do you choose to lie about what is in the bible?

    “Third, the Christian faith hinges on one fact. Not on miracles. Not on supernatural happenings. ”

    That’s not what your bible says. Christ himself supposedly said that one is to believe the miracles to have faith in him and who he claims he is.

    “Second, the New Testament never claims that it’s the church’s job to heal diseases.”

    Yes, it does, James 5

    All you have done is create the usual excuses a Christian invents to excuse their god for its impotence and evident absence. This is nothing new and what happens every single time this god fails.

    Like

    • I found the claim that “Christians are in one of two camps: admiting that their god can do nothing or lying and claiming they can heal the virus“ quite substantial and yet totally unfounded. I am a Christian and deny the claim that “God can do nothing” while I also find nowhere in scripture the thought that God desires to or needs to heal any sort of physical disease like Covid-19. Could He do it if He so chooses? Yes, I believe so. But what we need to understand is that God is interested in our spiritual well-being. He wants to heal us of the real disease at the root of all our problems, the disease of sin. What’s more, He desires the best for us from His eternal perspective, not from our own temporal perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “quite substantial and yet totally unfounded”. That’s an oxymoron, Adonis. It can’t be both.

        This god shows nothing that is it only interested in “spiritual wellbeing”. That is something invented by Christians who realize that this god does nothing, and have to rely on claims that it takes care of “invisible” problems to cling to the belief it exists.

        All you are making are excuses, trying claim a “real” disease of “sin” which Christians can’t agree on what that even is.

        Like

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. Thank you also for your insight. Allow me to reply.

      1- I don’t know where you got this idea from. I would really like to hear more about the source of this idea. I can tell you (as a person who has been in the church and studies and lectures on the church and theology) that this is not true. In the same church you will have multiple views on sickness and disease. It is a spectrum (like most things in life) and not a binary pair. My opinion is proof. I don’t believe God can do nothing. On the contrary. I also don’t believe that the church’s job is to heal all diseases.

      2- I don’t know where you got the idea that the Bible says all prayers will be answered. Again, I would love to know (for real). Jesus encourages us to preserve in prayer. The Bible is made up of 66 books (sorry if you already know this). Each book has myriad perspectives on things. There are thousands of unanswered prayers in the books of the Bible. Jesus himself prayed for “this cup” to pass from him before the cross. It did not. I am critiquing cherry-picking verses from the Bible to suit one’s own ideas. You kind of did it too in answering me. When looking at these old books, we read them carefully and try to understand the general principles and over-arching themes. In the end, Jesus is our main example and the object of our adoration.

      3- Again, I have read the New Testament tens of times. I never got the impression that Jesus said miracles lead us to him. If anything, towards the end of John, he encourages us to believe without seeing any miracles (in the story of doubting Thomas). The gospels and Paul (see for example Romans 1-8) are clear in stating time and again that the main Christian story is that of Christ’s death and resurrection.
      That being said, I have personally experienced supernatural happenings. My own wife would not be alive if it weren’t for a miracle (a clear one – not God removing a headache). But our faith does not hinge on miracles. I encourage you to look further into the main Christian claims (Jesus died and rose from the dead). You might already have done that.

      4- James 5 describes how the church should react if one its members asks for a prayer of healing. It does not in any way state that the job of the church is to fight sickness in society. That being said, Christians across history have opened hospitals, schools, and orphanages to take care of the sick and weak. The Gospel does transform all of society in love. But, the church’s job is not to do scientific research and find vaccines. That being said, I am personally an advocate of the church giving towards scientific research.

      I respect your opinion and thank you again for taking the time to comment.

      Like

      • I get the concept of there being two camps of Christians from their actions. We have Christians who cancel gatherings acknowledging that their god has no power over a virus, from Catholics who close down *healing* sites, to the evangelicals who close their churches or practice social distancing. Then we have Christians who claim that their god can heal them, even through the tv. Who are the ones who aren’t doing either of these? There is only this binary choice demonstrated, but if you think so, tell me what it is between them?

        Your opinion is opinion, not proof of anything other than what you think.

        You of course don’t think that the church is to heal all diseases. Unfortunately for you, your god supposedly does James 5 – “14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.”

        It always baffles me how a Christian can think they can lie about what is in the bible.

        We have you again trying to claim that your bible doesn’t say thing it does. Here is where it says all prayers are answered:
        “7 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7

        “18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” – Matthew 18

        No exceptions, no modern Christian excuses of this god saying “no” or “wait”. The bible does have a myriad of contradictions, and no “truth”. Yep, there are plenty of unanswered prayers in the bible, showing that JC lied in the verses above.

        Yep, in one gospel JC asks for the cup to pass. In another, John, JC doesn’t ask for that at all, and is perfectly fine with going to the cross. The scene in Gethsemane doesn’t appear at all, just like if someone made all of this up. You cherry pick yourself, so your protests about it do ring false.

        I’ve read the bible lots of times too. So what? You seem to ignore what the bible says when it isn’t convenient. Again, we have you either intentionally ignoring verses or trying to ly about what is in the bible.

        “6 But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” – John 5

        “25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.”

        “37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand[e] that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”” – John 10

        “11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me[e] for anything, I will do it.” – John 14

        which also begs the question why do Christians fail at these “greater works”?
        Yep, in John, JC talks to Thomas. And says that it is better to believe without evidence but it’s fine to request it. This matches fine with what JC says repeatedly in John. Paul tries to get away from the miracles since unsurprisingly, we have none from him, except what was mentioned in Acts. Paul never himself doing miracles at all. Not once.

        You have presented no evidence for your supposed miracle, so I have no reason to believe you. Your claim also begs the question of all of the other prayers that never result in miracles. You appear to have gotten lucky and then try to claim a miracle, all the while ignoring those people who pray just like you and never get anything. It’s common to see this nonsense after a tornado, praise god but oh just ignore that dead family down the road.

        There is no evidence for a dead and rising man or man/god. Christians don’t even know where the supposed “empty” tomb is. We also have all of the contradictions in the stories about this. How many people saw Christ risen? Could he be touched or not?

        no, James does not say what you claim. You have to ignore basic grammar to make it say that it’s only about how church members should “react”. It says for them to directly act and how to heal. You have to lie and try to claim that the job of the church isn’t to heal people to excuse your god because you can’t.

        The reason that the bible has nothing about research and vaccines is because its writers had no idea these things could exist. It says magic works and prayer works; nothing else needed.

        Your attempt to claim your god has no responsibility is amazing but expected. You have no other recourse. You want to claim your god is the source of the inspiration of research and vaccines but funny how your god delays such information for no reason. It must really hate amputees since it allowed them to suffer for thousands of years and still can’t do anything about them. We need human invention on a human timescale. Your god also evidently hated people in pain or dying from infection since it didn’t get around to “allowing’ humans to get anesthetic, or antibiotics or hey, chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer patients.

        it would be nice if churches helped anyone but themselves with the money they rake in from the flock. High end sound systems, gold leaf, designer shoes, are all quite the evidence Christians take care of themselves first.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for taking the time to write this long comment.

          You present some strong arguments.

          1- On the issue of binary choice or spectrum: We closed down our church. It is part of our social responsibility. This does not mean we do not believe God can and does heal.

          2- On miracles and answered prayers: you present a series of verse and short passages. That is not how the Bible works. That is not how we interpret verses. Incidentally, this is how Christian fundamentalists read and use the Bible. I would be willing, if you want, to go through each of these verses on their own. We can look at the wider context, compare them with other stories and passages in the same book and different books, and look at the cultural and historical background of the text. There is a gap of roughly 2000 years between us and the books of the New Testament. If you want, let me know, and I would be willing to go through each of those with you. Perhaps on another platform. I live in Lebanon. If you do live here, I would also be ready to meet up and discuss those verses more.

          3- On Jesus’ resurrection: The evidence is from the eyewitnesses. Yes, there are differences in minor details among the stories (we have 4 accounts in the gospels and the words of Paul, the earliest texts, and other mentions in the other epistles). But the core story is the same. Jesus died and rose again. He appeared to the disciples and 500 more. How would you account for the disciples and the early church choosing to die for their faith? Why would you disregard their testimony? before the NT (New Testament) was officially pronounced as canon, the books were simply documents from the 1st century. They state, all 27 of them and in various ways, that they experienced and saw the risen Christ. History shows the appearance of the Christian movement (which began as as Jewish sect) and its great growth even under persecution (roughly the first 320 years). Why would all these thousands believe in a messiah who died on a cross (the height of shame in the Roman world)?

          4- A Christian worldview pins the responsibility of the suffering in this world on the fallen nature of creation and humans. Would you agree with me that the world we live in is messed up? I don’t know where you live, but over here in Beirut we have seen and continue to experience an enormous amount of suffering. Our churches (I am talking about the Evangelical churches) are mostly not big. We do not have “High end sound systems, gold leaf, designer shoes.” We spend most of our resources on education and caring for the marginalized (refugees…etc.). We see the evil in this world. Our response is to do what we can to alleviate it. We also respond by praying and asking God to intervene. We also believe that God is actively at work in creation to restore it. What hope does your worldview give you?

          I could add that I get my “anger” towards the evil in this world from my faith in Christ. The world is not as it should be. From where do you get your anger towards the evil in this world?

          Liked by 1 person

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