God just usually doesn’t answer the “why” questions…

What we are talking about is theodicy. Milton would famously set out to “explain the ways of God to man” and ended up with an attractive Satan. Theodicy happens anytime you try and harmonize: all powerful god, good god, existence of evil. When I worked finance I used to joke that all the executives demanded was: Revenue growth, unit sales growth and profit margin growth. Every conversation was an explanation which of the three they were not going to get that quarter. In a logical world you can pick two of the three in both cases. But unlike economics which is almost always rational, the ways of God are not so. Deal with it. The two ways to deal are: a) this is a bunch of junk or b) where can I go, you have the words of eternal life (John 6:68). That is the faith question. And since a god who is not all powerful is not god, and the existence of evil is provable, the faith question is if God is good. God’s proof of that to us is Jesus Christ. Can you look at the life of Jesus including the cross and say, “you know God, it might not be something I can understand right now, but I’m going to trust you.”

That is what a Senate candidate recently stumbled into, and a clueless national media refused to understand. The senate candidate tried to explain his reasoning behind being against abortion even in the case of rape. And his reasoning is exactly that of faith. A child as the product of rape certainly doesn’t look good. Would a good God allow such a thing to happen? His answer in its core was: I don’t get it but I’ll take it on faith. The national media decided to declare the candidate “pro-rape” and certain predictable republicans quivered about being turned into “the party of rape” and used it as an opportunity to “ooga-booga” religious members of his party. (I’m not adding that link just because it infuriates me how a neo-con war drummer can fret about social conservatives in such a gross way and yet they have never had to pay one red cent in accountability for Iraq/Afghanistan and every other war they’d like to start. Sorry, rant mode off.)

Leaving the world of partisan politics, what this does expose is just how much Christians are the “away team” in this current cultural moment. The “home team” gets all the calls. The refs whistles are always a little bit faster for the home team, and that home team player always gets that extra half step on the way to the bucket. Christians need to get used to identifying trap questions and need to so understand their own beliefs such that they can explain them sympathetically to “away team” refs. The away team doesn’t decide not to show up. Christians don’t withdraw, but we need to be smarter and more practiced to win. If you can’t turn the why questions back to Jesus, then the next best strategy is probably to emulate God and just not answer theodicy’s “whys”. They aren’t answerable outside of Christ.

Here are a few other’s on the same subject: Douthat, fellow LCMS’er Molly Hemingway, and the parallel universe of questions that would be asked if Christian’s were the home team.