Jeff---I read with interest your "rebuttal," if you will, and once again, tell you that the problem is that you are making this decision to not believe in God or His creation of our Universe and people, way too complicated.....God made it all so simple, SIMPLY because HE IS: He calls Himself the Great "I AM!" That is very simple, to me, and explains it all....it is all about HIM because He IS the "I AM!!" He is everything, and everything is come from and ends up with Him. That is what I believe, and what gives me peace, knowing in my heart that He is there also, in my heart...........as far as other religions: the Bible says that Jesus will not come "Until the Gospel has been preached to every country in the world." And for those who STILL haven't heard? Jesus has that covered also; Muslims are reporting that Jesus is coming to many of them in their dreams, and they are accepting Him as their Saviour because of that.....He will NOT leave anyone out, without them being presented as their Saviour. The Gospel is certainly being presented to everyone, whether by another person, media, or by whatever means is necessary: Jesus will come to them Himself; the man, Balaam, in II Peter 2:16, wouldn't listen to the Lord, so his DONKEY spoke the words from God to him!! I have no doubt in my mind that God will find a way, (and is not limited in ANY way!) to speak to every single human being on the face of this earth to give them the choice. I have NO doubt about that.
And even tho I have not the impressive education you have, I most certainly have challenged the ability of God, or the INability of God, to make things right. Believe me, there aren't too many circumstances that are much more powerful to challenge your faith, that doesn't make you shake your fist at God, than the death of your own precious child, esp. after you have gone through 19 yrs. of raising him or her from birth to death!! Tanya had only just left our home a month before her death, because she had quit business school, and had come back to live here and work in the hospital office in Audubon. So here were all of her things; many of her clothes, with her smell and her words still hanging in the air, and her belongings everywhere, still in our home, with her only gone for 4 weeks from them. That caused me, and several others in our family, to question God's love, judgment, cruelty, even tho I never questioned His existence. I knew where our sweet daughter was, and that we would see her again, but it still hurt so badly that there was physical pain in our chests!! A "broken heart" isn't just a cliche'! I tell you that not for the purpose of generating your pity,(!!), but to tell you how strongly I challenged God to prove to me SOMETHING!! Two days after her death, He graciously gave me a vision (I was not sleeping), of Tanya in Heaven: she had long, brown hair; was a beautiful young woman, by everyone's opinion.....God showed her to me, on the other side of a river, but not so far across but what I could see every detail; she was running along that river, with the wind blowing in her beautiful hair, as it streamed out behind her; then she stopped and stood just in front of a VERY close friend of mine who had just died 11 mo. before; there was other family behind her, but vividly I saw her and "Donella," my friend, smiling with great joy and waving to me!! It was as clear to me as is my husband now sitting in the living room chair near me......it gave me such reassurance and hope and help to get through the funeral and the days to come that were unbearable otherwise. THEN, after telling Rich that, of course, he told me the night after the funeral that he wished God would show him something like that;I told him to just "ask" for that from God; it was late August, and the head of our bed was against an open window, with no headboard; Rich told me the next morning that altho he hadn't heard an owl all that summer yet, that night an owl sat in the tree outside our window and hooted all night long, and in the morning, he told me he felt such a peace and reassurance from his God that his little girl was fine!! That was what he needed then-- and in the months and years after, whenever we have gone through an especially tough, stressful, or challenging time, we have always heard at least one owl outside, and have felt reassured of God's Presence and nearness......we do live on a farm, and so it is very quiet at night except for sounds like that: owls, coyotes, crickets, and other "night sounds." So, when you hint that you might view God (if you believe there is one) as a mean, heartless, uncaring God that you wouldn't want to have anything to do with, I DO feel sad for you, because I know of Joy and Peace and Anticipation for what He is providing and will continue to provide.....and I certainly don't see Him as leaving anyone out....He leaves it entirely up to the individual to choose or reject Him. In referring to a child as not full of great intelligence and potential, I must not have explained myself well at all concerning that.........I just mean by their innocence that they will believe without the education that you have, they will believe with simple' Childlike faith.....and in that they are fortunate, because they don't have all the entanglements in their minds that we get in a few short years..........
Also, the judgment of God: in deciding whether someone is "good enough" for Heaven: there was a point I was trying to make that was so intrinsically important to this whole conversation: The point is that NONE of us can be "good enough" or do enough "good works" or live pure enough to be given admittance to Heaven. That was the WHOLE purpose in Jesus' coming, because they knew there would NEVER be anyone sinless, pure enough, perfect enough, generous enough, or whatever, to gain Heaven.....JESUS' death and resurrection gave that to ANY of us who CHOOSE (by our free will) to accept Him, to ask Him to be in our lives, to forgive us of our sins, and eventually welcome us into Heaven!! He gave everything for us so that we could be forgiven of our sins and accepted into eternal life with Him!!
I guess I'll quit now, but I just have to tell you what I believe and what I REST in.....not worrying about my death, or what is to come in the ages to come....I believe these things of which I speak with every fiber of my being.
God Bless, Jeff!! Nadine