Irreconcilable and not worth reconciling

ImageI challenge you to do a web search on “reconciling tragedy with God” and find one search result that adequately does that.

Find one blog post or book excerpt that explains, to your satisfaction (not its author’s satisfaction), why the suffering that humans experience every day — not just in Connecticut last Friday but everywhere all the time — is a necessary part of the “perfect will” of a god who “is love.”

Looking on the bright side is not enough. The challenge is to explain why there has to be a dark side in the first place.

The best anyone can do in this regard is to say “We can’t know God’s purpose in allowing [or, rather, designing!]  this kind of suffering.” This is a non-explanation. If a god is so sovereign and mysterious that nothing he does ever has to make sense to us, then “reconciling tragedy with God” is a pointless exercise.

Bizarrely, belief in this kind of god is no more consoling than believing in no god. Either way, there is no guarantee that you or someone you care about won’t be the next to experience unspeakable fear or pain. So what does it mean when you assert that God is “good” and “in control” and “merciful” and “never gives you more than you can handle” and “answers prayer” and “cares about his children”? The only way for these things to be true of God is for us to strip them of the meanings that they have for everyone else.

Please, for your own peace of mind, admit (or at least consider the possibility) that all the senseless anguish in the world is really senseless, that there is no divine plan that it all ties into, and that it really is completely on us to watch out for each other.


Posted on December 17, 2012, in Better explanations, Christian truisms, Logic, Problem of Evil (Problem of Suffering). Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Roger here, AKA Pop. Loving every word I read here-abouts. Not at all threatened, disappointed, or saddened – more accurately, my responses are the opposite of these three results.
    For me, at this point in my journey, God and his creation are “good.” God is “in control” in the sense that the watchmaker’s product is still ticking as he designed it. God is “merciful” in the sense that the spiritual resources he makes available to me are beneficial. For me it is not true that God “never gives you more than you can handle” because what life gives folks is random, not God-sent. In my view, God “answers prayer” not in changed outward circumstances, but only in personal, internal, spiritual growth. Because I believe that God is a sentient being with a personal love for all humanity, I would agree that he “cares about his children”

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