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Friday, September 28, 2012

Why Didn't You Make It Stop?

It's one of the eternal questions.

God? Why didn't You, who made the world in a week, make my hurt stop?

It's also the most vexing theological question there is, because there's no answer that's completely satisfactory, and some of the usual answers are completely unsatisfactory...and scary:

  1. Because He isn't there - there's enough evidence of some sort of divine spark in the world that this one's a non-starter.
  2. Because He doesn't care - if He didn't care, we'd never have the feeling of Him comforting our wounded hearts. Most people have experienced this in some way or another...enough that I think 'self-hypnosis' can be ruled out. Self-hypnosis is tough, and most people, especially in emotional straits, aren't that skilled.
  3.  Because He can't - Yikes. This would be like being wheeled into surgery and the doctor saying to you, "Could you please tell me how to do this?"
  4. Because He's busy somewhere else - Double Yikes, because this means we have a local deity who travels from village to village...if you're in the wrong place on the route of this circuit rider, too bad.
  5. Because He set the universe in motion, and He won't interfere - This is better, and if I understand him correctly, it's what Thomas Jefferson believed. It's a call to courage to see us through...but it ignores the existence of miracles. There are enough 'documented miracles' that, statistically, we have to at least allow the presence of Divine Intervention as the root cause.
  6. He does, but we can't see it because we don't have the big picture - Also better...our lives interact and intersect on so many levels that we can't see Him working, and see that what we perceive as a horrible situation would have been far worse without His intervention.
I'll toss is another one...Number 7..."Why didn't YOU?" asked God.

Look at the world I've given you...look at the homeless, and the marginalized elderly. Look at the countries whose agonies you ignore, turning the dial past Rwanda to watch "The Simpsons". Look at the animals you torture to test your cosmetics and deodorants. Look at the casual cruelty you mete out as an individual, in gossip over the phone, or in Internet forums.

Why didn't you stop it?

I've shown you the way, with miracles. I've given you My Son, to torture and kill, and so spend your destructive energy.

Why didn't you stop it?

There are holes in this one, too..it implies either specific guilt, which may be untrue, or collective guilt, which we see as unfair. But if one does accept the premise of collective guilt, it does become better.

And we do admit collective guilt. All the time. Osama bin Laden's wife was killed when he was. Did you mourn her? If not, if your response, deep in your own heart, was "Too bad, lady, you should have kept better company", then you've bought into collective guilt. Completely.

And, as for Job, all of your arguments...and mine...fade away leaving us naked to God's judgement.

And, I hope, His mercy.


  1. If I had the choice between getting my sister back and saving you, which do you think I'd choose? You're wrong if you picked her.

  2. SHE chose her path, you didn't choose pain. She walked away from suffering. You walked into the fire. SHE has the power to fix things. You don't.

    Don't argue with me.

  3. God hasn't stopped your pain, but you are surrounded by people who'll pick up a sword and fight for you.

    Mercy comes in many forms.

  4. Thanks, Jennifer - I do know that, and realize that indeed, mercy comes in many forms, and God's grace is most often given through human hands.