While travelling overseas during the last few months, I got a message from my housemate. They asked how I was, which was nice. They themself had just returned from a holiday to France. While chatting they happened to bring up the recent Nice massacre tragedy: originally they had planned to spend Bastille Day in Nice. They expressed their relief that their original flights were booked for Paris and they weren’t able to change them or rebook for Nice instead. I agreed how lucky it was and the tragedy of those affected.
But then, get this – and I’ve heard it in so many contexts – they say “God is good.” I replied, albeit coarsely, “Not to the 80 who died.” (I really need to better learn to hold my tongue, I think.)
But in all seriousness, it not only comes across as elitist and selfish, but ignorant to the victims and the families of those killed. Yes, they were spared from the disaster, but is God good for saving them and killing 80 strangers? Would God still be “good” if someone they loved and cared about died that night?
When I hear God is good in that context, it makes me so mad. Christianity itself teaches that everyone has purpose and is valued by God – I would know, as a former Christian turned sceptic – yet in praising God for your own safety and good fortune, are you not valuing your own life over those who lost their lives?
Back to our conversation: they respond to my blunt comment with “Everything happens for a reason.” Personally, I disagree. To me it is far more easily digestible to believe that the events of the universe are random, and any tragedy is not overseen, commanded or planned by a higher power, but just a horrible horrible occurrence with no mastermind behind it. To believe in an all powerful deity is to accept that he either allows evil, rather than intervene, or that he himself creates it. Then you run into the paradox of how a good God could allow/create evil. The most common way Christians seem to answer this is with a disatisfying spiel about the downfall of mankind when Adam and Eve were tempted and all of humanity now live in a fallen world. Translation: it’s our fault bad things happen, not God’s.
This explanation fails to touch on how evil/Satan/Lucifer already existed by this point of the creation story, and all-knowing God created him, despite knowing what would become of this.
I could ramble about this for yonks, but I’ll leave it there. I am fairly sure nobody reads this, I encourage people to leave a comment for me. All faiths are welcome.
Until next time!