Where is God in times of evil?


To begin with, allow me to offer my apologies to Jeani West.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for her. She would be the first to help anyone in need, and she has a great sense of humor. I’ve enjoyed the time we’ve spent together over the years working on various projects. It was never my intention to offend her or anyone else for that matter.

I would also like to acknowledge Ken Collins’ attempt to divert this discussion to Thomas Hobbes, a great philosopher if there ever was one. I believe Hobbes was criticizing the invocation of God to justify one culture annihilating another, but that’s a topic for another time. Thanks, Ken.

For now, allow me to briefly account for my loss of faith for Jeani’s sake. I hope it will also appease the curiosity of anyone else who cares as well as those have had a similar difficult and soul-searching experience.

I was a born-again, fundamentalist, evangelical, Bible-believing Christian for more than 35 years. I was born and raised in a Pentacostal, fundamentalist home. I “gave my heart to Jesus” at the age of 8 and was “baptized in the Holy Spirit” at the age of 11. As a teenager, I began playing guitar and singing Gospel songs in church and Sunday School. Over the years, I’ve been a Sunday School teacher, worship team leader, Christian school teacher, youth group leader, deacon and church board member; and I’ve even preached a few sermons.

But in the back of my mind, I’ve always had a gnawing doubt that no one seemed willing to talk about. When I asked my Christian mentors, they usually appeased me with clichés intended to allay my fears by avoiding the issue. This only made me more curious and less satisfied. Let me be succinct.

My first doubts came when I lost a friend of mine at the age of 12 to leukemia. No one ever told my why God would allow an innocent child to die like that. In fact, throughout my entire life since then, I’ve always wondered why God allowed innocent people to suffer. Between disease, wars and natural disasters, millions of people have suffered and died for no apparent reason. Where was God? I didn’t know, and no one could tell me.

On Sept. 11, 2001, more than 3,000 innocent people were killed by men who were just as devoted to God as many Christians were.

Then there was the giant tsunami in Indonesia that obliterated the lives of more than 200,000 innocent victims. Where was God?

Then Hurricane Katrina wiped out the livelihoods and lives of thousands more in Louisiana and Mississippi. Where was God?

No one seemed to know.

So I was forced to conclude that either God didn’t care, or He didn’t exist. Since a brutal, violent, capricious God is a contradition in terms, I could only conclude the latter: There is no God.

Anyone who has evidence to the contrary is welcome to contact me to discuss it. My phone number is 367-8768, and my e-mail is [email protected].

By the way, I still love you, Jeani.

Keith Cantrell