Once again, in the wake of a horrific crime, believers around the country are asking the question, “Where was God when this was going on?” That they’d be doing so — yet again — is not really unusual or strange. It’s an old trope within the Abrahamic religious tradition. CNN is asking it (cached), and so is Hartford FAVS (cached) … among many others. I blogged on this very issue after the Aurora, CO massacre.
Part of my remarks back in July were:
The question, “Where God was during the Aurora massacre?” is a direct consequence of “the problem of evil” which lies at the philosophical heart of the Abrahamic faiths.
Elsewhere I’ve devoted an entire Web page to this particular dilemma. To keep it brief, the problem lies in the fact that the Abrahamic faiths believe in a creator deity which is simultaneously omnipotent (i.e. having the power to do anything s/he/it wants), omniscient (i.e. knowing everything that can be known: past, present, and future alike), and benevolent (i.e. wanting there to be no suffering on the part of anyone). In spite of this supposed combination of traits, though, we know that this deity’s creation contains suffering … a lot of it. Over the centuries many theodicies have been proposed to explain how this presumed creator deity can have all three of these traits yet still there is a lot of suffering.
Check out that blog entry, for the rest.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.Tags: belief, illogic, massacre, newtown, newtown CT, newtown massacre, problem of evil, sandy hook elementary school, shooting, theodicy, where was god