Why do bad things happen to good people? People are starving in famines, dying in wars, suffering from oppression and disease, women are mistreated and devalued, children are losing their innocence to wicked people, and every few days it seems that we hear of yet another terrorist attack on innocent people who were just minding their own business and living their lives. It’s hard not to be affected by all the evil and pain in our world, and it’s our natural inclination to look for a place to lay blame. Much of the time, that blame is aimed at God.
But is God really responsible to intervene in all of these terrible situations and right all the world’s wrongs? And if God isn’t responsible, who is?
The first thing we need to understand is that God is not a cosmic superhero that flies around preventing crime and thwarting evil plans. He created us with free will to choose how we live our lives. We are not automatons that merely perform as programmed. We have complete freedom over our choices and actions.
For the atheist, good and evil are relative. Many of the things that horrify us here in Canada are accepted and even seen as good by other cultures. If everything is relative to your personal belief system, and we are just a collection of cells that operate without any divine involvement, then there is no one to blame. Without a God, everything that happens is without purpose and doesn’t have eternal consequences, so does it even matter?
We can’t blame God for everything bad that happens in the world when entire governments, countries, and ideologies have demanded that God leave them alone and stay out of their business. He politely bows out, all hell breaks loose (literally), and the next thing you know He’s getting blamed for bad things happening to good people. If Satan is the ruler and evil the default of this world, and God steps aside and withdraws His hand of protection because people order Him to get out, why are we surprised when horrible atrocities start happening in His absence, even affecting the most innocent among us?
Instead of blaming God for everything bad in the world, perhaps we should start inviting Him to have greater involvement in our world and in our lives. Only then will we start to see more of His intervention.