Why would an all-good and all-powerful God allow a pandemic?
by John Shaheen—
John is a junior at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. He especially loves philosophy and biology.
Fear is aroused, panic abounds, medical supplies dwindle, and the economy suffers… where is God? Why would he let the people that he loves suffer? Within months, the Coronavirus has rapidly spread throughout the world. What seemed like alarmism now seems like inadequate preparation. Surely, the question on the minds of many is why would God allow this? Where is the God of infinite and perfect love and mercy?
In response to the logical problem of evil, many solutions have been offered, the most famous being the Free will Defense. Perhaps evil and suffering are a consequence of allowing free beings to exist. The objection soon arose, what about natural evil? How are floods, diseases, earthquakes, etc. the result of free beings? Alvin Plantinga suggested that perhaps these disasters are the result of the free actions of supernatural beings such as angels or demons. Though this is definitely a solution that makes natural evil logically compatible with a perfect and powerful God, it still feels unsatisfactory. Why did God give these beings this kind of power? He could have easily restricted their power without limiting their free will. They can only cause this kind of havoc if God allows them. God is still the ultimate authority and power in this paradigm. Furthermore, in an age of scientific knowledge of the causes of natural disasters, this solution may seem unsatisfactory to the naturalist.
How we use force of law to plunder our neighbor instead of love our neighbor
In 1696, the legislature of Britain implemented a window-tax. The more windows you had, the more you had to pay. If you were wealthy enough to own a home in London that had a lot of windows then you can pay your fair share (for the common good, of course). Some variation of this law existed for about 150 years. This (even if well-meaning) tax was a swing at the rich but these laws rarely hit their targets. Those with the means just boarded up their windows with bricks leaving a legacy of absurdity making both air and light a government service to pay for. When the law is used to target the rich, it rarely hits the target. In this case, a large tenant building full of middle and lower-class renters would get taxed heavily. The owner would pass the cost down to the tenants. A swing and a miss.
One absurd law played out requires another absurdity to fix it. A similar tax was placed on the number of fireplaces and the number of bricks used to build a home. This, in turn resulted in bricked up hearths, cold residents, and building houses with over-sized bricks. It is not that all laws are absurd. Undeniable laws exist naturally and organically. These natural laws govern all human activity. Natural laws are based on the responsibilities of the individual to bear the image of God. This requires certain rights in order to execute those responsibilities. These rights include the right to your own life. Not being killed. They include the right to your freedom. Not being enslaved. They include the right to property. Property is what you did with your right to life and freedom in the past. Not being robbed or plundered.
The bona fides of the Church that Christians must consider
Politicians have told us that we must follow the science. Models were presented that caused us to brace for impact for up to 2 million dead from this virus. We complied. We submitted. The Executive Branch of our states have the legal authority to curtail rights in the face of an attack or national emergency. The emergency was originally the risk of overwhelming our healthcare infrastructure with too many infections. We shored up hospitals, erected tent hospitals, and boats to care for the sick. We were called upon to not assemble, to stay at home, to flatten the curve so that we are not all sick at once. The curve was flattened. The hospitals were not flooded, the tents are empty, and the boats have sailed away. The estimates were overblown, the models flawed, and the science trumped by politics.
Consider the Evidence
The four gospels all say Jesus rose from the dead. They give us almost excessive details. Setting aside the biblical reports of the resurrection for the sake of scrutiny, we still have to make sense of the other solid facts: a) Jesus's body disappeared and has never been recovered; b) The Roman guards would not have allowed his body to be stolen, and all the authorities wanted him dead and gone for good. c) The disciples had no faith that he would rise from the dead, and they had no reason to even try to steal a dead man's body in light of who they had expected him to be—an invincible Messianic deliverer, who had failed. Now, it is an historical fact that the disciples later believed that Jesus had risen. Is there a reasonable explanation for this?
Yes, there is. Consider the evidence.
Who were the responsible parties for the mock trial and condemnation of Jesus?
by Nathan McLatcher, Junior at UM Dearborn
In Jesus’s crucifixion, there is more than enough blame to go around. The Jewish religious leaders plotted against Jesus, seeing him as a heretic and a threat to their power. Pilate believed Jesus was innocent yet had him crucified in a cowardly effort to retain his grip on power. But there’s still blame left to share. When the Jewish crowd accepts condemnation for Jesus’ death, they place the blame on not just themselves, but on all humanity. The various actors in the trial serve not just as characters in a supernatural drama, but as archetypes, showing us the various ways in which the world is blind to Jesus’ message. These include the Romans, the Jews, and everybody.