Defending the Faith: Defending the Faith: Natural disasters test our faith and trust

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • JSPOG Brigham City, UT
    March 19, 2011 7:01 p.m.

    You can't blame religion for all of mans problems in the Mao era between 1958-62 45 million were killed
    no religion involved here.

    The burden of figuring out morality and peaceful coexistence with others, now and into the future, rests squarely on the shoulders of each individual member of the human race;

    I do like that comments of yours

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    March 19, 2011 2:30 p.m.

    Alberta Reader,

    The beauty and preciousness of life inheres in the fact that it is temporary. That there is no god or afterlife does not mean there is no future. Our hope for the future is in our children. They will continue the human race and improve societies in ways we cannot imagine. But they will only be able to do so if they are not indoctrinated with superstitious religious prejudices, in the blindness of which they discriminate against and persecute those who do not "believe" the same way they do.

    The burden of figuring out morality and peaceful coexistence with others, now and into the future, rests squarely on the shoulders of each individual member of the human race; NOT on the shoulders of some "almighty" creature with magical powers and a mysterious ethical standard that turns death into a virtue, pain into alms, wrong into right, bad into good, and suffering into glory.

    As such, we have a moral, human obligation to care for those in Japan who, through no fault of their own, have fallen victim to a random, senseless atrocity that might otherwise have afflicted us.

    Because nature is indifferent, we must never be.

  • Alberta Reader magrath, ab
    March 19, 2011 12:52 p.m.

    Glad you read my comments through time and comments you intrigue me sincerely would love to meet you some day.
    For an atheist life is all about now as then there is nothing else, so yes the things you mention have merit if that is what you believe and yes I acknowledge bad things happen I guess from God to "good People" your are right.
    Look what happened to Abinadi your point is made.
    I see life as a continuation after this life. We all die at some point, in retrospect it will all make sense as why things happened. We like Moses will say now I know that man is nothing after seeing the things of God(Moses 1:10)
    I have the faith to wait for these answers.

    You made points against most of what I said I accept that but you did leave out one thing.
    As a father that must love his family you prefer your belief that death ends all of this? Again every day I prefer my belief my family can be eternal
    I know you must be a good person you do give me interesting things to think about thanks

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    March 19, 2011 11:58 a.m.

    Alberta Reader,

    Are you seriously going to try to tell us the hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children murdered in the Miyagi 9.0 earthquake and the 2004 tsunami (just to name two) were sacrificed to God's so-called "justice"?

    I rest my case on that point alone. That is sick and insane thinking.

    Then you try to tell us I "have also ignored the multitude of scriptures that show God is loving as well."

    So does a bi-polar God seem more rational and benevolent to you?

    Your feeble attempts at justifying such a twisted and horrible deity is the poorest failed theodicy I can imagine. Unfortunately, you only prove my point.

    Wishful thinking and vain hopes may be comforting, but that doesn't make them true.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    March 19, 2011 11:57 a.m.

    Alberta Reader,

    I am saddened to read that you think the death and destruction of innocent human lives is simply "God's justice" at work.

    My Korean friends work for a Japanese man who lost many of his extended family in this horrible catastrophe. They were all Christians. They were believers. By all accounts, they were "good" people.

    But your claimed doctrine would have us believe they "deserved" their destruction somehow, and it is "justice" that they were murdered by your god?

    More importantly, your claimed doctrine, if taken seriously, would forbid anyone from sending help or aid to these people God is trying to "punish". If God is unleashing his wrath and indignation against these unworthy creatures, in the name of his "justice", why on earth would anyone try to "fight against god"? (Acts 5:39; Moses 7:15)

    As I have said, that is a twisted and sick view of morality. I cannot - I refuse - to have any respect for such a god and such a morality. It is inhuman and inhumane.

    As for your "comfort" in believing in a life after death? Santa and the Easter Bunny are also comforting thoughts. But not real or true.

  • Alberta Reader magrath, ab
    March 19, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    Any thought on the city of Enoch?
    How did God treat these people? For God so bloved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting ilife.
    As I mentioned you know the scriptures would you have like to live in the time of fourth Nephi
    And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.

    And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.(4Nephi 2,3)

    The key is they were all converted to the Lord and obeyed God's commandments
    I for one would love to live in this society.
    I will admit I am imperfect and not living the gospel like I know I should at times to live in this society likely it will never be repeated until the second coming

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 19, 2011 8:51 a.m.

    Sometimes we reject a god created in our own image, choosing to adore a lifeless, cruel, meaningless bloodthirsty cosmos, misunderstanding our Loving mutual Parent. Religious and non alike reject the centrality of Jesus message, which is love(last Century, atheist regimes reportedly killed 40 million of their own). Atheism must reject both good and evil, with our eternal moral compasses, but, as I explained above, there is no problem of evil in LDS theology. We fully understood there would be pain here, and we rejoiced knowing this would bring ultimate joy (see Guessing posts).

    @theAtheist, 2Nephi6 etc specifically speaks against the great Church, those refusing to believe love AND attacking others, including those seeking to destroy covenant peoples (Jews, Indigenous Peoples) and probably apostates who burned others for faith in Christs love, sacrificed children, etc, and any who will commit similar deeds. God destroys these from mercy, knowing they live forever and are only helpfully changing states. ...that the cry and blood shall cease to come up from the earthDC87. DC43 mercifully warns us and DC88 is endtime, stars, earth, seas, etc, testifying doesnt always mean God is causing it. See my previous post, Enochetc earth is sick from us..

  • Alberta Reader magrath, ab
    March 18, 2011 11:23 p.m.

    I have read your posts where you have mentioned your family I am sure you love them as a parent.
    So as an atheist(one I might add knows a lot of scriptures and is obviously intelligent) you give up all hope on your family after this life as death must be the end of it all. You think that gives me any comfort at all? No that is so bleak, give me my religion and the belief families are eternal I will take that every minute of every hour of every day any time over a belief there is nothing after death

  • Alberta Reader magrath, ab
    March 18, 2011 11:15 p.m.

    God has to be just as well a merciful. As a just God if a law is broken a penalty must be paid. You cannot have a God that varies and is "wishy washy" making up the rules for the day at hand. It is my opinion the things you note above in your post from scripture is God being a just God nothing more nothing less. I am certain if you were to believe in a God you would want one that is a just God wouldn't you?
    You have pointed out scriptures that look like God is mean you have also ignored the multitude of scriptures that show God is loving as well. Always best to see the whole picture not just one side of the story

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 18, 2011 10:31 p.m.

    Some hate a god created in their own image, choosing to adore a lifeless, cruel, meaningless bloodthirsty cosmos, because they wont understand our Loving mutual Parent. The centrality of Jesus message is kindness. As I explained above, there is no problem of evil in LDS theology, but atheism rejects our eternal moral compass. (And last Century, atheist regimes killed 40 million of their own (if Tolle and historians are right), so youre doing worse.) We fully understood there would be pain here, and we rejoiced knowing this would bring ultimate joy (see Guessing communion posts).

    @theAtheist, 2Nephi6 etc speak of the great Church, those refusing to believe AND attacking Zion (2Nephi6 specifically speaks against those destroying Jews, believers, etc). This includes those who burned others for their faith in Christs love, sacrificed children, etc, and who will commit similar deeds. God destroys these from mercy, knowing they live forever and are only helpfully changing states. ...that the cry and blood shall cease to come up from the earthDC97. DC43 mercifully warns us and DC88 is endtime, stars, earth, seas, etc, testifying doesnt necessarily mean God is causing it. Also see my previous post, Enoch etc, earth is sick from us. : )

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    March 18, 2011 6:34 p.m.

    Scriptures say:

    "none will he destroy that believe in him... they that believe not in him shall be destroyed, both by fire and by tempest and by earthquake" (2Nephi6:14-15).

    "And thus...with famine and plague and earthquake...shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God" (D&C87:6).

    "How oft have I called upon the voice of earthquakes...and ye would not" (D&C43:25).

    "the testimony of earthquakes...the testimony of...the voice of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds" (D&C88:89-90).

    Is this the kind of God you believe in? A merciless, tyrannical, vicious, monster and bully who threatens people with destruction if they dont believe in him?

    And you wonder why atheism is the fastest growing religious affiliation in the world? With a god like that, who needs enemies? Who needs a devil? It is impossible to judge between such a god and a devil.

    Your god and beliefs are morally offensive and ethically bankrupt. I do not believe in such a monster, and I question the morality and sanity of anyone who does.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    March 18, 2011 6:33 p.m.

    After reading Peterson's non-answer to the problem of evil, is it any wonder this irrationality and moral absurdity in religion leads to terrorism, religious persecution, exploitation, and abuse? When in the name of defending your blood-thirsty deity, you have to twist morality around so that death, destruction, and horror are trivial matters, then you are on the fast track to insanity and social chaos.

    2 Nephi 6:14-15; 26:5-6
    D&C 87:6; 43:25; 88:89-90
    Isaiah 29:6

    These scriptures say your god is using earthquakes and "waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds" to destroy those who do not believe; to "testify" and demonstrate the "wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God".

    Such a god is not worthy of worship. Such a being is a monster, not a god. Any sentient being who has to threaten and coerce and inflict violence on others in order to intimidate them into "believing" in him and "worshiping" him is a terrorist, not a righteous god.

    Peterson's excuse-making and justifying such a horrible being is the most powerful reason I am an atheist.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 18, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    QuickRe: Thanks for compliments again : )
    Truly, the singularity and similar neoplatonic deity are loveless, but if we studied LDS theology as intently as anti-LDS, wed understand that our true loving Father is all loving. Our intelligence, light and truth (law) are eternal, not created. Even God is subject to these independent laws. This is self evident. None can make a perfectly round square, or be destructively hateful and full of most joyous love- the love of Christ, which atonement makes us one with. All other laws are probably appendages, sometimes changing, but obedience is growing, changing, communion. (Sabbath etc).
    If we reject our feelings, the eternal love of Christ, the law, we will be miserable. If we choose "basic societal rules" we are swept by every societal wind: Hitlers unnatural selection, agnostic regimes (which take more life and freedom than others), etc.

    We chose to come here, knowing that, according to our eternal natures (light and truth-the law), we find joy only after painful struggling, searching, and communing. Thus, God doesnt cause our sufferings. We cause. But sometimes God mercifully stops our destructive sliding. Still, I feel most natural disasters are natural.

    Earth is also sick, from us.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    March 18, 2011 10:26 a.m.

    When a man begins to think he is soon to die, fear invades him, and concern about things which had never before entered his head. And those stories about what goes on in Hades, which tell us that the man who has here been unjust must there be punished, though formerly ridiculed, now torment his soul with apprehensions that they may be true. And he, either through the feebleness of age, or even because he is now nearer to the things of the other world, views them more attentively. He becomes, therefore, full of apprehension and dread, and begins to call himself to account and to consider whether he has done any one an injury. And that man who finds in his life many iniquities, and who continually starts from his sleep as children do, lives in terror, and with a forlorn prospect." -Pindar, Greek poet, 5th cent B.C.

    My point is twofold:
    1) Atheists, investigate while time remains. At the last hour you will wish you had. Think ahead.
    2) We all have a great amount of iniquity, so without atonement, we will all feel this way at death.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    March 18, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    First, to Dr. Peterson, how is it that I can only be genuinely free if I can choose to do evil? If this is so, is God genuinely free? Could he choose to do evil if he wanted to? What about other glorified people? It is surely better to understand the "ability" to choose evil as an impairment of genuine freedom. This is what it means to be set free from sin.

    Second, to all Mormons, and as mormoncowboy has already pointed out, on what do you found your morality so that it cannot change? There seems to me to be no substantial reason why good can't randomly become evil and vice versa in the Mormon worldview. Your father cannot found morality; he was once a man, and thus once did not exist at all. He cannot found morality any better than any other man can-- no matter how much power he has.

    Third, to many atheists who say God will accept them for doing good, what if salvation isn't based on doing good independent of God? What if being independent (and thus rebellious) is the whole reason mankind is judged?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    March 18, 2011 9:15 a.m.


    It's a matter of perspective. I appreciate your honest perspective, that for you the Gospel concepts provide comfort in the face of uncertainty. If I understand, you have hope in an afterlife, though you can't truly be certain of such a thing.

    Compared to many "atheists", your principle of hope is not all that unique. I would not describe myself as an atheist, as much as an agnostic, in the sense that I don't know that God does not exist or is improbable. Rather, I doubt the theological assertions of those religionists who claim to have breached the Eternal divide. For the sake of argument, the atheist is going to claim that "if" this life is all there is, then despite of some element of hope, religion ultimately coercively robs you of your most precious resource - freedom to live life as you choose. Interestingly, from the atheists point of view, the principle of free-agency which Mormons ardently cling to is the one thing that is lost through religious adherence. Rather than being accountable to an illusion, they are accountable to themselves and society, contrary to your assertion that there is no accounatability at all.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    March 18, 2011 5:58 a.m.

    You dont have to be a believer to " knows there is good at all? By what do you measure?"

    Basic societal rules tell us that stealing is wrong. Killing is wrong. Lying is wrong.

    These things cause trouble in a society whether one believes in a higher power or not.

    Playing golf on Sunday or drinking coffee are some peoples religious rules that have nothing to do with morals and ethics.

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    March 18, 2011 3:51 a.m.

    you should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting that god causes natural disasters to test people. what a ridiculous god you believe in. devastating natural disasters actually reinforce the idea that god doesnt exist.

  • mickeymouse Yakima, WA
    March 17, 2011 8:18 p.m.

    the gospel definitely does provide comfort and even sometimes a reason or explanation for bad things that happen in life. i've always thought that athiesm is a dark and dreary philosophy. they believe they can do whatever they want without any accountability,true. that may seem liberating to a lot of people, but they also have no hope of anything more. to them this life is it and that is a sad philosophy as far as i'm concerned. i'm sure when their loved ones die they don't think they'll ever see them again. that idea just makes life seem so pointless. it's not for me. i'll stick with the gospel.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    March 17, 2011 8:17 p.m.

    "I'm curious as to how an atheist knows there is good at all?"


    I am surprised by the end of the road logic here. Assuming that God is the source of morals and ethics, for the sake of your argument, you are still left with the same question you pose to atheists. How does God determine "good". Why are souls precious? Mormons sometimes take it a step further by referring to concepts such as "Eternal laws", or "laws decreed in heaven". Unless there is a God above God, whom are God is inferior to, taking it upstream doesn't work. Your still left with a group of beings who will ultimately have to decide among themselves what their "values" are. And if the "Gods" can decide, why not man? Perhaps just because the divine beaureaucracy doesn't allow it?

    On a side note, I read your comments on the other post. I'm not sure really what to say to you. You speak as though Mormonism were self-evident, but seem to be on an island with that view. Few of the recognized Church scholars be so bold as to say the things you do?????

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 17, 2011 7:42 p.m.

    I made some comments to our atheist anti-Mormon on another article (In the Village).

    I'm curious as to how an atheist knows there is good at all? By what do you measure?
    And how would you ever prove such a thing to someone else?

    And, Joe, I think the bad things are only caused by a lower being... but that's just me.

    The others aren't necessarily so bad, at least we chose to come here, and knew we would need some pain and suffering to find ultimate happiness.

    (Oh and pickle, you gave some advice on my poor confusing comment skills, saying none of my references supported my comments or something, if you wish to continue doing good and to help me, as you do, please point out which references don't support my position and why, that way I will be enlightened, thanks ; ) luvya.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    March 17, 2011 5:04 p.m.

    Truth said, All those that do good, or live a good life, will get their reward.
    Jesus said, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Mt 22: 37-39). These are the two greatest commandments ,therefore to not do them is the greatest sin.

    Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (gehenna). (Mt 10:28 )

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    March 17, 2011 4:48 p.m.

    Good things happen and bad things happen. And there is no rhyme or reason for who they happen to.

    You cant thank a higher being for your good fortunes without blaming that same power for the bad.

    I do neither.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    March 17, 2011 3:36 p.m.

    "In drawing this conclusion, though, [atheists] also surrender any hope of ultimate redemption or a happy ending."

    I completely disagree with Peterson here. I consider myself an atheist in that I don't currently believe in God, but I certainly still hope for "a happy ending" as he puts it. I hope there is something more after this life. I hope those that go on living when I die live peaceful and fulfilling lives, especially my children. I hope that if there is a God that he is peaceful and benevolent and can explain his treatment of humans in a satisfactory way. I certainly do not lack hope, quite the opposite of what Peterson would lead you to believe.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 17, 2011 3:17 p.m.

    RE: Pickle Juice

    All those that do good, or live a good life, will get thier reward.

    But why stop there, when there is Greater reward to be had?

    But, greater the reward, greater the requirement.

    No one said mortal probation would be easy, nor haing faith, repentance, and following all God commands,

    which are given us, not to make miserable, but to maximize our joy,

    being good is just a start, and all temporal things are fleeting.

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    March 17, 2011 9:54 a.m.

    Peterson didn't say anything about the basis of morality. That's not what his column was about.

  • Pickle Juice, The Key to a BCS Clinton, UT
    March 17, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    Daniel Peterson wrote:
    "Some atheists seek to solve the problem of evil by dissolving it. There is no God, they say, no purpose in the universe, no meaning to the deaths of those killed by child rapists, plague viruses and earthquakes and, thus, no theological "problem." In drawing this conclusion, though, they also surrender any hope of ultimate redemption or a happy ending."

    It's clear that Mr. Peterson doesn't understand most atheists' view of life. Most atheist will say that morality does not need religion and that religion is not the source of moral principles or happiness. Humans discovered long ago that following certain rules makes life more productive, happy, peaceful, and pleasurable. Morality derives from human nature, not divine guidance. If one wishes to live a virtuous and happy life, it's better to do so because they want to rather than the fear of eternal punishment. Unlike a theist, an atheist knows that one life is all he has, and will try to live each day to the fullest.

    An atheist will also tell you that if there is a God, then they will be rewarded for living a good honest life.