So I frequently go to a chapel service with a bunch of youth. Many have been through hard times, and most have been in trouble in some major way. Myself and other volunteers there have noticed that over and over again, for weeks and weeks, they keep asking, How could a good God let all this bad happen?… let someone close die?… let my friend be shot?…
It’s a standard theology question, and the volunteers, including myself, have tried to explain it as best as we can. As we’ve been honestly seeking answers ourselves at different times of our lives, some of our answers seem decent… at least to us. We aren’t great at explaining them. It actually can seem frustrating.
But, I realized this last recently, that maybe they aren’t looking for answers. Maybe they’re just hurting. Maybe it’s like a baby crying. The baby doesn’t know why it’s hurting. Really, the baby probably doesn’t care why. It’s just hurting and will tear everything apart until comforted.
There’s a scene in the British TV series Doctor Who that is a great example of this. (Spoiler Alert for the end of season two of the new series. The alert ends after the paragraph below the video.) Here’s the scene if you want to watch. It’s just in the first minute. To bring you up to speed, these two have been flying through time and space saving universes for some time together. In that time they’ve fallen in love. Unfortunately, after an epic battle they’ve ended up on parallel universes with out a way to get back to each other. (Gotta love Sci-Fi)
She askes, “Can’t you come through properly.” He responds, “…two universes would collapse.” She answers, “So?” That to me epitomizes this idea. Fortunately, the Doctor has been around 900 plus years and isn’t rash enough to make that happen. (Oh, science fiction…)
*End Spoiler Alert
With this in mind, it makes me wonder if trying to answer theology’s problem of evil can actually be counter productive. I’m not saying don’t think about it. I have an answer or two that I think are pretty good. But, when dealing with pain or evil or when helping others, maybe trying to explain it away isn’t at all helpful. Maybe we need to allow ourselves and others the chance to tear the creator of the universe apart. He’s big. He can take it. Ripping God apart can be lonely though. Maybe our job is just to be with them as they do it.