Suffering and Stupid Theological Explanations
"Suffering and Theology" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
Maybe it goes something like this:
1. Stub toe: God's too busy to bother with that.
2. Get the flu: God's trying to get you to rest.
3. Get cancer: God's testing you.
4. Spouse dies: You loved her more than God.
5. Tornado levels home: There's sin in your life.
6. National disaster: Same-sex marriage allowed in your State, Province, Country.
7. Ice-cap melts: Jesus is coming back soon.
You get the idea.
Theodicy, as defined by Plantinga, is the "answer to the question of why God permits evil".
It's obviously not easy. Although there are "easy" options, like...
1. There is no God.
2. God and Satan are locked in a cosmic battle in a dualistic universe.
3. God doesn't care.
4. We're in the end times left to ourselves.
5. Denial: there is no suffering.
6. and so on and so on.
So I made this easy chart to show how the more severe is the suffering the more stupid are the theological explanations... because the more profoundly incomprehensible the evil is the more profoundly far does the explanation must reach. The darkness clouds our thoughts.
As we deconstruct... change our beliefs or lose our faith... as we evolve spiritually... we learn to embrace mystery. It doesn't mean we stop thinking about it and trying to understand it. But we are okay with abandoning silly, stupid, concocted answers to profound questions. We are willing to take the risk of saying, "I don't know". We can even find peace of mind in the middle of confusion.
This is what it means to grow and become wise beyond belief.