Updated: Mar 20, 2022
Last week, Russia carried out an airstrike on a maternity and children's hospital in Ukraine. Seventeen people were injured, including children, women, and doctors. Three people died, among them a young girl. When heinous events or tragedies of war happen, the principle that "God is good" is considered suspect at best, an outright delusional belief at worst. After all, if God is good, how could God allow such afflictions to happen to innocent people?
I remember a discussion in a college religious philosophy class that revolved around the statement presented by my professor. We were asked to share our thoughts. The phrase was, "If God is good, then God is not God. And if God is God, then God is not good". Essentially, the idea is that if one claims that God is in fact good, then God can't be all-powerful. If, on the other hand, God is almighty, then it stands to reason that God cannot be good because bad things happen to innocent people, like those injured or killed at the hospital in Ukraine.
Moreover, because the bombing of that hospital that caused the death of an innocent child came at the behest of another human being, it also challenges the notion that people are inherently good, or that the Universe is intrinsically friendly. As a Unity Minister, people ask me about these seemingly conflicting and contradictory ideas. The questions are particularly prevalent when a fellow human being causes abhorrent acts to happen to blameless victims.
So how can we explain these conflicting ideas? It starts by asking, "What does it mean to say, ‘God is Good’?". Unity detractors sometimes criticize those who believe that God is absolutely good. Others claim such adherents to the tenants that affirm the goodness of God and people, are nothing more than followers of a cult (by the way, a cult is a group of people who follow, and refuse to go beyond, the thinking of the leadership, and refuse to do their spiritual work). Consequently, when anyone proclaims, "God is good," the detractors will say, "You people don't know what you're talking about! You people think everyone can be happy and joyous all the time. But that's not real life".
But here's the thing. We understand life doesn't always go as planned, there are ups and downs in the human experience, and life doesn't always go our way. In life, there is constant movement; it's never static. We know this. However, when we say, "God is good," it does not mean that life is good when the facts of life are not to our liking. We say "God is good" because God is changeless and there is nothing that can alter the eternal nature of God.
Each of us is how God's good manifests in our world. We are offspring of the divine. Consequently, it is our job to raise our consciousness (thoughts, feelings, and beliefs) to be in alignment with this changeless presence, so that the qualities of God are active in, through, and as us.
God's presence does not and cannot force human beings to do anything. We are not robots. We have the freedom to choose the direction our life will take. And sometimes (well, many times), human beings forget who they are, make cruel, destructive choices, and do not reflect the highest and best of who we are. When we make such decisions, war, conflicts, and inhuman acts, such as bombing the hospital in Ukraine, happen. Such inhumane behavior has nothing to do with God, but has everything to do with us. The outer world reflects our group's soul. So if we want to see a world that reflects the goodness of God, we must have a changed consciousness.
This teaching is part of the body of Thought known as the Mature Teachings. It's for those who realize we must change, and not God. With a changed consciousness, we can then weave ourselves into the fabric of the world. As we do, the goodness of God, from which we all have sprung, shows up. Nothing and no one is coming back to save us. As always, the choice is ours.
Peace and Blessings,