My teenage daughter is currently attending an Evangelical conservative church. (The current boyfriend is the draw.) She questions some things she’s been hearing and told me the following story:
Yesterday the teenagers were asked to submit questions to a Pastor. (“One of the big guys who knows the answers,” as she puts it. *grin*) She and the boyfriend put together what they thought was a pretty clever question—basically “Why does God allow little kids to die of cancer?”
The ol’ Problem of Suffering.
What my daughter found interesting (and slightly amusing) was how the pastor hemmed and hawed, talked around the question, but then she noted this: He never answered the question! She said the closest thing to an answer was, “I don’t know.”
What struck me was how she picked up on that particular problem and how she was savvy enough to see how he didn’t answer it.
See, there really isn’t a good answer. There isn’t a cutsey little phrase, or snap bumper-stick capsulizing in digestible form a coherent response.
Everything we understand about morals, and charity and doing the right thing includes deep involvement in reducing pain and suffering as much as possible, to the point of elimination if possible. We’ve spent millions of hours and probably trillions of dollars research ways to reduce cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, polio, influenze, small pox, malaria, AIDS, and numerous other diseases.
To claim there is a God who can reduce it, but doesn’t, raises the huge question, “Why?” The fact the Christian cannot answer this very basic fact about God demonstrates why I reiterate any claim about God is unenforceable, because God is unobservable and unverifiable.
If you don’t know enough about your God-concept to explain why such a God wouldn’t cure cancer in a five-year-old, don’t tell me how it writes books, or provides you a parking space, or gave your child the winning shot in the J.V. basketball game.