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Reform Magazine | October 19, 2017

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Editorial: Why do we stick with God?

steve_tomkinsI know a couple who didn’t split up. It seemed for a while like they would. It was a familiar enough story: Tough times, a valuable friendship that got out of hand, infidelity, recrimination, shame, hurt, anger. When it came to it though – to put someone else’s feelings in my own words – they found that quitting each other wasn’t the answer, that life made more sense and worked better with the other person in it; that, despite everything that had gone wrong, living with it and making it better was a better idea than giving up on the other.

This story came back to mind for me, improbably enough, when I heard Stephen Fry’s much discussed recent comments about God. “How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault?” he demanded of God, in a clip released on the internet from the Irish TV show The Meaning of Life. “Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain?”

What struck me is that these questions are ones that I reckon every adult Christian ever has wrestled with. It is an ancient argument against God, and as strong as it is old. So, if that’s the case, why do all these millions of Christians carry on being Christians? It’s not because they find a knock-down theological argument that makes the problem disappear. Neither is it because they don’t get the problem.

It seems to me that Christians are people who, after they’ve railed against God for the injustice of the world, after they’ve been disappointed in God because of the pain, after they’ve asked for explanations and got no satisfaction, they found that giving up on their relationship with God wasn’t the answer, that life made more sense and worked better with God in it; that, despite all that seems wrong with the world, living with it and making it better was a better idea than giving up on the Other.

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For all those who have asked over the last couple of years about when there will be a digital version of Reform for tablets and smartphones, we will have exciting news in the next edition of the magazine. If you want to jump the digital news queue, follow us on Twitter: @Reform_Mag.

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This article was published in the March 2015 edition of  Reform.

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