The Lottery – of Birth

I’m lucky.  You who read this post are probably lucky.  You were born into a relatively stable environment. To decent parents. You have an education.  Job.  Family.   Friends.  A religious tradition.  You can travel. And if you get sick, there are doctors to take care of you. The twinkling spark that suddenly became YOU arrived just in the right place.  At the right time.  It was a lottery.  Of birth. 

What if that spark had come to life a hundred years ago. A thousand. For many in those times, they just endured.  Day by day.  Struggling with the things we take for granted today.  Yet even now there are those who are born into a life of abysmal poverty, suffocating hunger and crippling disease.  Raised in countries ravaged by violence, hatred and injustice.  Where every single day may be an arduous, painful and frightening saga.   Do you ever think — that could’ve been me.   

While I go to church on Sunday, I scratch my head over those faith traditions which deny salvation to those not exactly like them.  Can a little boy help if he is born in Totonicapan, Guatemala?  Or to a Hindu family in Rajahmundry, India?  Can we help that we are born Jewish?  Lutheran?  Buddhist?  And if the little girl in Zimbabwe never hears the message of [pick your faith tradition] what does that mean for her eternity?  Her hope of salvation? Is it a closed door?   I wonder how Gabriel might answer that question (see post of 8/25/16).       


I suspect that most who receive my blog posts have roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition. As do I.  Fallen Lutheran.  Now – good Episcopalian.  I have previously discussed my journeys through the Old Testament (June 11, 2012) and the New Testament (November 10, 2013).  

But being a “believer” does not absolve one of questions on matters of faith.  I have them as I’m sure you do.  Some might ask if there is baseball in heaven (see 4/12/12).  Answer?  Yes – you’re pitching tomorrow.  I’ve wondered about golf in heaven . . . .  But seriously – my questions may have answers but I’ve never seen (or understood) them.  

Why is there so much inequity, violence and pain in the world?  We have the desperately poor, persecuted, disabled and troubled.  Yet we also have folks on the other end of the spectrum.  And many in between.   I am aware of Matthew 5:45.   But why? 

Do the poor and downtrodden find any favor with God even when they may have no – or shaky – belief?   Are we frail humans “graded” on a curve? 

Are those who find religion on their deathbed truly forgiven of murderous crime or hateful behavior?

God is Divine – yet He changes His mind (e.g. Exodus 32:7-14).  Why? 

With so many religions, how can (and why do) some claim they are right and the rest of the world is wrong on matters of faith?  It seems that the only reason we each believe as we do is that fickle “lottery of birth” (see 4/9/15).  We had no choice. . . . . 

I would be interested in your questions.  Comments.  Or answers.