Has God Forsaken us?
April 20, 1999, students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold open fire on fellow students at Columbine High School, murdering 13 people. The massacre was particular horrifying in what took place in the library where 10 of the students were randomly slaughtered over the course of several minutes; where was god.
March 21, 2005, 16-year-old Jeffrey Weise murders his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend before driving to Red Lake Senior High School and murdering 7 more people. Police were to ones to finally stop the rampage, not god.
April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho murderes 32 innocent students and professors during the course of a two hour onslaught which found Cho mailing out media material, then trotting along to Norris Hall and chaining the doors shut before playfully shooting human beings at random. It was heroic the actions of individuals like Liviu Librescu, Katelyn Carney, Derek O’Dell and Kevin Granata that saved lives, not the interventions of god.
How could these instances of violence and death be carried out while we are under the government of an omnipotent, loving creator? To explore this question, we have to acknowledge the relevance of a word: forsaken. To abandon, to leave behind, to desert, you can choose from any number of synonyms you wish in the Merriam-Webster catalog but all these words encompass the same idea. If we were indeed created by a loving god, whatever denomination or incarnation you worship, that loving god has apparently cast his children aside. There are some many examples of this callous disregard for our well being it is impossible to list them all. However, I have already illustrated three specific instances were some divine intervention would have been greatly appreciated, but none was provided.
I know some critics will say that god was indeed present in these instances, acting through the heroes as if to expel any semblance of individual human bravery. Almost to suggest that humans are not capable of acting courageously without the influence of some invisible entity forcing their hands. I find this notion offensive at best and ignorant at worst.
However, the one justification which attempts to subvert the forsaken argument that I have zero tolerance for is the rationalization that god acts in mysterious ways. Establishing that each permitted massacre, or natural disaster, or genocide, or war, or disease has some cosmic significance, which of course is beyond our comprehension. Not only does this reasoning exclude religious leaders from explaining these events and how god could allow them if his still cares, but I also believe it to be counter-intuitive.
If we are created in the image of god, as Genesis 1:27 suggests and Ephesians 4:24 supports, then why doesn’t that same burden of proof apply to us? Imagine if you will standing idly by and watching your children play with a hand gun. You do not intervene as your child raises the weapon up and discharges it, killing your other child. Now, imagine standing in court and explaining to the judge that you parent in mysterious ways and that the outcome of what you supervised was beyond his/her comprehension. Two things are guaranteed to happen at this point, the judge is going to assume you are mocking the seriousness of what has just unfolded and secondly, you’re going to be found guilty of man-slaughter (or some level of culpability for that matter).
Furthermore, if that line of reasoning doesn’t apply to us, it is puzzling that our father permits it as a justification for his lack of intervention, which would display some poor parenting in my view. A father, in the sense that I have come accustomed to, wants his children to understand his actions. This is how children learn, we explain our actions thus allowing our children to learn and grow in a continuous effort to liberate our children from need of our guidance. We want our children to be independent of us, while remaining ever available in case they wish to seek our advice.
Why would a loving, all-powerful creator allow such horrors to be inflicted on his children, and then establish a precedence of confusion in which we are not to question these permissions and even if we could, would not understand their ultimate consequence? If we can’t ask why, then how are we to know his reasons for allowing nineteen men to murder three thousand people on September 11th, 2001. There is no rationality in this approach if you intend for your children to grow, to understand why things happen as the do.
I see no evidence of a loving god in these events, no evidence of a divine plan and no evidence that things are going to change anytime soon. Now maybe I don’t grasp planetary management policy, maybe these atrocities are acceptable on a grand scale and are nothing more than a natural progression towards a utopia where everything is in order as it should be. But every time I think I see some reason in events:
December 14, 2012, twenty-year-old Adam Lanza murders his mother and for no logical, rational, or substantiated reason enters Sandy Hook Elementary School and murders 6 adults and 20 babies. Doesn’t god know us by now, doesn’t he understand that allowing such an event will drive some of us further away from him…or has he simply stopped paying attention, has he forsaken us altogether?