I’m a very independent person, if you don’t already know. I like things my way, and if they can’t be my way, you better give me a darn good explanation as to why. So maybe my social skills are a little bit lacking, but I think the greater implication of this trait (flaw?) of mine is reflected in my current existential crisis.
I want to know why.
Why does Evil happen? (e.g., Why does God let infants die? Why does He let children be abused? –and please, spare me the “it works out in His good will in the end” line) Why Why should we even bother “trying” in life, if our lives are predestined? And if we have total freewill, why should we bother trying to do good, since we are totally depraved?
I have friends whose parents died when they were in elementary school. I know people whose parents abused their families. I know people who lived in Manhattan on 9/11. I know children who have/have had cancer. I know adults who have/have had cancer–and died from it. I know people who have suffered greatly after tragic, alcohol-related car accidents. I know wonderful people–missionaries, teachers, pastors–who have wilted away under the scourge of diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, much to the distress of those who loved them.
It sounds so cliché, but why does God let them suffer?
I know I am fallen. I know I am a sinner–sinful, full of sin–incalculably, immeasurably depraved. I know I can do good actions (ever so few), but I do not know if I (and here, I consider Mankind as a whole) can ever be good. The Evil I/we can commit seems to outweigh so vastly any good we can manage.
So why do we bother? (Yes, yes, “in response to God’s grace, love, and forgiveness”–I suppose what I really mean is, “If we do bother, does it actually have an effect?”). Can any action we do be truly good? (Aren’t our motivations always tainted? I might help an old lady cross the street, encourage my friend, or donate money to charity, but might this just be because of cultural norms or utilitarian pragmatism, not true goodness in Mankind?).
Should I be a Fatalist? That seems like the logical end to this process when combined with my Calvinist background.
I know in my head, and deep in my subconscious, that God is real and active. I see His work, at the very least in the realms of science and mathematics. And in my heart, I know He is real, even if I can’t “feel” His presence. But at the same time, for all the aforementioned reasons, my head doubts His will in the world. Well, sort of. I think what I’m actually doubting is Man and his capacity for any good. So much for Humanism.
Really, though, I just don’t know what to think.
The control-freak in me doesn’t like that.
I’m full of questions right now, and not very many answers. Somehow, I’m hoping that at least writing this all down will have some sort of therapeutic/reflective/purgative value. But we’ll see.