Dr. John Stackhouse – Why, God?” Asked the American People, and Would Not Stay for an Answer
Has Prof. Alvin Plantinga of the University of Notre Dame, arguably the most important thinker about the problem of evil in our lifetime, been prominent in the news media, on all the talk shows, in all the bien-pensant columns? I haven’t seen a trace of him.
My cousin Kent Annan, who helps to run the worthy Haiti Partners organization (which my wife and I support), has spoken to sold-out rooms at the Urbana Missionary Conference on this question the last couple of days, so clearly people are interested in the issue in some respect or another. But, as Kent himself would be the first to say, he is not a theologian or a philosopher, and his wonderful book, After Shock, is much more a cri de coeur than anything approaching a theodicy. That’s what IVCF/IFES decided to put before their searching university students.
When a Christian church in Newtown did bring in a resource person to speak to the issue, they brought in…not an answer-giver, but another reassurer, popular author Philip Yancey–another good man who trades in fellow-feeling much more than he offers substantial constructive reflection.
And, yes, I’ve written a book on the question that has sold fairly well over a decade, and my phone has been completely silent. No one–no one locally, no one regionally, no one nationally–wanted to discuss the issue with one of the few Canadians who has written a reputable volume on the issue of God and evil.
I wonder if our lack of substantive engagement with the problem of evil is due to our tacit realization, which perhaps Brother O’Neil recognizes, that if we did ask God a serious question about why the shooting happened—or why, now, two separate innocents have been pushed in front of NYC subway trains—God might return to us a serious answer:
Don’t look at me.