Christians view the entire world as a test--not that the Bible really lays it out that way. If God sees every single one of his children all the time, and cares about them so much that he pays attention to everything that happens, then it follows that nothing, absolutely nothing, that happens to a Christian is really random. That means that when bad things happen, there must be some cosmic purpose for it. It can't possibly be that God would just do bad things to his children on a lark, or to win a bet, so clearly these bad things happen to teach his children something, or to test them somehow.
This idea can't possibly be true at all. Even the simplest logical examination of this concept makes it fail on every single level possible. It isn't even Biblical, because in the Bible God definitely did allow one of his chosen people to undergo horrific experiences purely to win a bet, and he's tortured and killed--and allowed to be tortured and killed--millions of people in a snit. Even Jesus cursed a tree for being barren; it wasn't even the fruit's season, but he was just feeling grouchy (funny how this throwaway story caused such a meltdown in my own faith when I read about it; I wonder if anybody else has faltered over the idea of Jesus cursing a tree for doing exactly what he, as God, had designed it to do? Hm, where else do we see that dick move in Christianity?).
But let's just say for the sake of argument that God does use bad fortune to test people. Let's just say that a Christian's young son is diagnosed with a truly dreadful disease. The kid won't live to see preschool.
First, how do we know this disease is a test from God? Maybe it's a ploy of Satan's to remove his parents from the gentle arms of the Savior. For people who believe they are utterly in the hands of their shepherd, Christians whine a lot about Satan molesting them. But if God doesn't directly cause absolutely everything, that leads one down the primrose path of "what if there IS true randomness to what happens to me?"
I despise ideas like "God's tests" because "his" methods are completely ambiguous. It's not like the test has a header block, nor does the testing occur in a classroom. The proctor is quiet during the test itself, but she does give instructions before the test, answer questions of protocol during the test, and take the papers up afterward. She grades the test and returns it with a score clearly laid out on the front page. She has constructive criticism that is specifically targeted for helping you understand how you did and how to do better next time, and uses a score to clearly communicate how you're progressing in your class/seminar/course/whatever.
NONE of that occurs in a Christian's "test." If the son's disease is a test, then who is it testing? You? The other parent? The grandparents? The kid himself? His teachers? What is it testing exactly? Spiritual fortitude? Financial solvency? The parents' romantic bonds? How do you get the "proctor's" feedback? If the child dies, then does that mean you failed? Or passed? And how is this test supposed to improve my relationship with the deity in question? Am I supposed to learn that he's capricious and beyond inhuman? Or am I supposed to hope against all hope that I wasn't the punchline of a bet with a demon? I sure as hell won't be learning about how loving he is, because a loving parent would be lending me money and bringing over casseroles if she learned of a sick grandchild, not raining abuse on my head.
Or maybe it is a punishment, not a test; in the Middle East's early history, the gods of Yahweh's original pantheon were punitive, paternalistic and authoritarian. Punishment is a huge part of the Old Testament, after all, and even Jesus punished those with whom he disagreed. The problem there is that our sick boy's parents have no idea what they did. Is it because daddy looked at porn that one time? Or because he and his partner cheated on their taxes? Punishment's efficacy is debated pretty hotly to begin with, but I'm willing to bet that whatever usefulness it might have in parenting is lost when the reason for it isn't clearly communicated beforehand. So it isn't surprising to me that Christians go with "tests" rather than "punishments" when awful things happen to them. Punishments under such circumstances are even more horrific than tests would be.
And let's not forget the ruthless cruelty of using disease as a test at all. What kind of horrific, cruel god would murder a little child to "teach" anybody ANYTHING when it's so much easier to just tell the person in question what he or she needs to do, like he apparently did thousands of years ago? Is it so much harder to make an angel drop by with a quick message (I mean, their very name means "messenger", WTF) than it is to rearrange a body's molecules in such a way that cancer begins to eat his bones and marrow? It's hard to fathom how a supposedly omniscient god could be so limited and forgetful.
The very idea of a loving, omni-everything God who allows such ambiguous tests/punishments to occur and causes so much suffering without clear communication is so outrageous to the dignity of the human spirit that I am astonished that anybody could ever have fallen for the cruelty and obvious falseness of the entire Judaic religion.
I'll leave the other big issues--namely that of a supposed omnipotent God causing "tests" destroys the entire concept of free will, and more importantly DUDE SERIOUSLY, "TESTS" LIKE THAT ARE SO FUCKING HIGH SCHOOL IT IS UNBELIEVABLE THAT PEOPLE FALL FOR THAT CRAPfor next time.
That's all the time I had today. I have to get back to English class--God's being a douche and not returning my texts again. I'm not sure, but I think he's doing it to see if I "really" love him enough to throw a fit about it. I'll show him. I'm going out with Lucifer tomorrow to the Steak Hut and I know his pal Azrael will be working there that night. If God doesn't figure out that it means I'm mad at him and apologize, then LEMME TELL YA, his ass is dumped!