On Dec. 14, 2012 news emerged about a room full of children massacred by a mad man with a machine gun in Newtown, Connecticut.
Like millions of others, I wept.
I knelt on my living room floor, shaken by the incalculable cruelty – as if these children had been known to me.
A Christian of 49 years, I put my hands together to pray as I had done perhaps a thousand other times. But something different happened this time. And it changed my life.
In the depth of this sorrow
“Dear God, please. Help them. Oh, help me understand.”
And in that split second I realized if it were possible for God to intercede to help anyone, doing so would be an immoral act if he were to come to me after having ignored the children and their parents first.
I was praying for comfort – but God had already not interceded for those children. He had allowed each step of the killer, his unstilled heartbeat, the bullets…right down to the parking space.
My anguish was nothing to the unrelenting catastrophic horror poured on those innocent people. I was in no way worthy of God’s attention compared to those lost in that gunfire.
God cannot morally intercede to help me
after refusing to help those children first.
It was a keen awareness. God must not – as a moral matter – come to my aid at all!
And God vanished.
Since then I have not believed a God could morally intercede in any way, even one presumably capable of infinite options, under the circumstances. So even my deeply felt prayer had itself been an unwittingly immoral act.
I cannot even pretend to believe in God.
God’s very existence would be immoral.
So I decided to study religion to figure out why I had ever believed in God. How religion protected itself from my honest inquiry for almost 50 years. And in a world afflicted by these mischievous theistic philosophies what, if anything, should be done about it.