Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Question Without An Answer

Why? Why do the innocent suffer?

I was moved almost to tears myself when I watched network news coverage of 12-year old Glyzelle Palomar break down into tears as she asked Pope Francis

Many children are abandoned by their parents. Many children get involved in drugs and prostitution. Why does God allow these things to happen to us? The children are not guilty of anything.

It was, I think, appropriate that the Pope not attempt a philosophical answer. As with I suppose all of us who believe in God's existence it is the greatest stumbling block to that belief: How can God allow such suffering?

All Pope Francis could do was give Glyzelle a heartfelt hug. He was moved to throw away his prepared remarks and spoke the words

She is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer and she wasn’t even able to express it in words but in tears.

I came to that same conclusion after spending years reading everything I could get my hands on concerning the problem of evil. There is no satisfying answer. I've come to believe the human mind is incapable of making sense of the problem in light of a good and all-powerful God.

There are some things to be said, certainly, in this regard. But how unwise it would be to offer such tokens to one whose grief is crushing. The question has no answer that will make complete sense to us.

Perhaps reassurance is the only appropriate response. There is love and it should be given freely.

Something Bishop Desmond Tutu wrote has helped me put things somewhat into perspective:

Without us, God has no eyes, without us, God has no ears; without us, God has no arms or hands. God relies on us. Won't you join other people of faith in becoming God's partners in the world?

No, I don't feel we can answer the problem of suffering. But those of us who believe in the reality of God can have a response - and it is compassion.


  1. Your conclusion edited to be more inclusive ;)

    "No, I don't feel we can answer the problem of suffering. But those of us who believe in reality can have a response - and it is compassion"

    1. Hi, Robert. I like to be inclusive so I don't mind your edit at all. :-)