It occurred to me the attitude of a person asking a question and framing the question correctly has a great deal to do with whether an answer comes and when it does whether the answer will really be heard.
If for example a question is raised with the intention of fueling a debate or showing the weakness of someone’s position, then any answer will probably be ignored or unheard. This happened often to Jesus when He was questioned by the scribes and Pharisees concerning His teachings. Their motive, and those like them, is not to gain perspective or knowledge but to defeat an opponent or bolster their own views. The issue of truth or whether a position is right or wrong is simply lost.
So with regard to the Christian faith, for every answer it gives to questions raised by people living in a messed up world there are many counterpoints form a myriad sources and many of them can raise doubt as to the veracity of Christianity. What we must understand is that the attitude of the questioner is as important as the question being asked. If a question comes from an attitude of arrogance and seeks only to critique Christianity any response we give is simply going to be ignored. If, on the other hand, the attitude is sincere and humble and the question an honest one concerning the Christian faith, then answers will likely be heard. And a question must be properly framed in order to receive an appropriate answer; if you want an answer about God it’s no use asking about the train schedule.
Ok, so here’s a question many people have been asking-why didn’t God do something to prevent the massacre in Colorado? I read one answer from a pastor who said “I don’t know why God allowed this”. Now, for some, any answer like this reinforces the conviction there is no God or, if there is one, He is pretty nasty and unpredictable. For others, it only increases the despair. But what if the question itself is based on a faulty premise, namely that God should, if He is God, go about preventing disasters from happening. And is there human culpability here and shouldn’t that be part of the question; i.e. what of the moral issue involved?
On the largest scale, God has already done something by providing salvation to sinful humanity but people don’t seem interested in the large-scale, just isolated incidents like horrendous, tragic events. Here’s the point: God can stop evil acts by changing evil hearts and evil hearts are changed when they yield to God, not before. So the elimination of evil incidents (like the one in Colorado), wherever in the world they might occur, the ones everybody talks about, depend on human beings participating in the large-scale intervention of God, the one people aren’t so interested in because that would acknowledge God’s claim on them.
Understand this; God is not about micromanaging the universe and turning freeways into foam rubber before accidents occur or removing alcohol out of booze before someone drinks himself to death, or turning bullets into confetti before they harm someone. And if He did no doubt people would complain about God violating a person’s right to drink themselves into oblivion or the insurance companies would complain that Deity is interfering with their bottom line by putting them out of business or someone would sue an ammunition company for faulty products. The simple fact is as long as human beings have free moral agency (and we believe they do otherwise laws, courts and prison time would be pointless) there will be evil in the world until their freedom turns to God and His redemption.
I’m not trying to be callous, but I’m slightly irritated with people questioning God, demanding some sort of explanation from Him, or about His intentions and capabilities in times of crisis and never giving Him a second thought the rest of the time. Besides, no matter what we say to such people, there never will be an answer that will satisfy every man’s itch for clarity especially when their questions aren’t even framed properly to begin with.
However, if the question and the seeker are sincere, then every attempt should be made to help them find answers. We just have to be smart enough to know what the right questions are and whether people really want answers.