Where was God at the Aurora shooting?

There’s a predictable pattern to the way religious people deal with tragedy. Undoubtedly, this kind of horrific thing makes them question the dogma they’ve been spoon fed their entire life – that an omnipotent being cares for their well being, especially when it seems so senseless; the evils of the world throw this ‘loving god’ thing back in their face, and they don’t like it.

Then come the rationalizations:

Let’s be clear: there are no easy answers to the deepest questions of suffering. Libraries overflow with the volumes that have been written to address these questions. Centuries of philosophers, pundits and preachers have reflected on the existence of evil, the meaning of pain and the role of God in suffering.

Centuries? More like millennia. In fact, some 300 years before the supposed birth of Jesus, a Greek philosopher by the name of Epicurus essentially laid out the most compelling argument regarding the notion of God’s relationship to evil ever made. His argument has yet to be refuted:

Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?

Your answer, sir?

The capacity to choose God and goodness came with the commensurate ability to choose evil. Is it loving to force his creation to follow his order, or to teach it and leave the creature to choose? It would seem that God came to the same conclusion that America’s founders did many millennia later: compulsory virtue is no virtue at all.

Ah yes, the old free will argument. God could eliminate all evil, but in doing so he would be subjugating us, and we wouldn’t have the ‘option’ to turn away from him. That’s all fine and good for the god of the Old Testament, who simply obliterates the unbeliever’s soul. The Christian god, unfortunately, has a rather unpleasant fate for anyone who exercises their own free will and chooses not to love an invisible tyrant. In his view, it is more moral to allow a person the right to choose their actions for a lifetime (however brief) than to torture that person forever for making the wrong ones. Sorry, your god sucks.

Let me suggest simply that God, in his sovereignty, has chosen to make our decisions meaningful. Consequently, much of what happens on earth neither conforms to, nor results from, his preference. There are at least four influences on human events: God’s will, to be sure; but also the will of Satan, our adversary; peoples’ choices, for better or for worse; and natural law (gravity, collision, combustion, and the like).

What a confusing mess of influences here. Why does Satan even exist? Sure, we make him out to be the bad guy, but it seems to me he’s simply the ‘bad cop’ to God’s ‘good cop’ routine. Without Satan there to look like the bad guy, you realize that by failing to rid the universe of this loathsome entity, he is in fact endorsing evil. Like Epicurus pointed out: if God is all powerful, and there is still evil, it is by his choice alone. One cannot condone evil without being part of it.

You don’t get nearly the same consternation in Burundi or Burma, because suffering is normal to them. God and hard times coexist intuitively there.

God likes to be where the action is, and there’s no greater place of suffering than Africa. And because tragedies are a regular occurrence there, Aurora isn’t a big deal. See, isn’t that a satisfying answer to the problem of evil? It isn’t?

The God of the Bible promises no exemption from suffering. In fact, he all but promises suffering. He does not suggest that his followers won’t go through fire, but rather that we won’t burn up.

What a deal! Sign me up for this omnipotent god who spends his time ‘grieving’ with me when my infant son dies of a highly treatable illness. Hopefully I got him baptized in time, or he’ll burn in hell!

Where was God in Aurora? He was on the lawn in front of the Civic Building as thousands gathered in solidarity, hope, and love at a packed prayer vigil last Sunday.

God was with those people who, powerless as they are, could do nothing but grieve. Sounds like the all powerful creator of the universe, doesn’t it?

Redemption has only begun in Aurora, and already God is everywhere. There will be beauty once this story is written that overshadows and transcends the ashes.

It’s doubtful any of this supposed beauty would make up for the innocent lives lost at something as peaceful and enjoyable as a movie. I would rather none of this happened rather than see an opportunity for human solidarity in the face of tragedy.

Comments (3)

  • avatar

    Larry Carter Center

    the alleged god Jehovah is guilty of criminal child neglect, no less so that if any other “parent” willfully watched a child put a finger into a light socket or run out into a busy street full of trucks & cars or drink poison from out underneath the sink… but the logical conclusion is there are zero gods extant anywhere but inside the brains of delusional believers @AtheistVet 843-926-1750

  • avatar

    BlueIndependent

    I was arguing with someone about this very thing last week. They kept insisting that the one woman who survived being shot due to a cranial deformation – a deformation and resulting sequence of events modern science and forensics has already shown capable of explaining mere days since the Aurora shooting – was a “miracle”. And this in the face of the 69 other unfortunate people who are either dead or injured in some way, and one of whom survived a public shooting at a Vancouver, BC area mall, only to end up in a similar situation in Colorado a short time later, and be shot dead. Miracles in action!

    But nope! One woman surviving because of pure anatomical happenstance is a miracle, and don’t pay attention to the dead or groaning bodies behind the curtain. And what’s more of a “miracle”? The fact that one of the victims survived being shot partially in the head due to a random deformation? Or the fact that another woman finds herself inadvertently caught in the crosshairs on 2 separate occasions in the same sort of violent and statistically small (though growing) incident within a short span of time? Anyone who claims “god is on the move!” in Colorado is a f’ing callous idiot.

    This is a perfect example for why religion ruins everything. People don’t find it sufficient that a sick-in-the-head person used legal means to arm himself and kill or injure dozens. No, we simply can’t do anything other than intentionally misunderstand how this shit happens week in and week out, and wonder why we’re so incapable of seeing it happen while giving our deity the pass of the eon. It’s a mass state of denial. It’s almost like watching a caveman push his cohorts off a cliff and then wonder why they’re dead on the rocks below. You just don’t get to claim ignorance and serve it up to the fates when it’s perfectly obvious what the problem is. To do so is to be indescribably negligent.

  • avatar

    Larry Carter Center

    yes religion is error and leads to more tragic preventable situations if only people are not brainwashed into these alleged deity patterns of stupid “thinking” … this is why Atheists are survivors out of foxholes while the believer who prays instead of looking for cover is more likely to die @VoteLarryDis114 if only there were a few armed citizens in that theatre, far fewer people would have been shot and the shooter would have been fired upon distracting her/him from his deadly aim if not killed permanently ending the evil doing

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