Have you ever been in a small group where someone has uttered something like the couple in the video above? Papering over a deep tragedy with answers that were not only paper-thin but actually damaging if closely scrutinized?
And like the grieving mother, I’ve also felt like an ass when I couldn’t stomach it anymore and decided to call everyone to examine the implications of what was actually being said.
I often wonder whether regular church goers actually realize how shallow and trite they make following Christ sound when they offer answers like the one above. I wonder if they know how much damage they do.
Like the couple above demonstrates, most often these answers, this shallowness is only allowed to grow and flourish in the absence of cross examination or close scrutiny.
The question of pain and suffering is immense. It is perhaps the largest question Christians face. It certainly is the root of why many cannot (note the inability here, not merely the unwillingness) place their faith in Christ. Accordingly, it requires us to spend many hours studying it.
We need to have both an immediate answer to those freshly grieving as well as a more nuanced answer for those able and willing to explore the deep questions surrounding death and suffering in the world God has made.
Here are three resources I highly recommend on this subject:
- Bruce Little’s conference on God Evil and Suffering
- Michael Brown vs. Bart Ehrman Debate: The Problem of Suffering (mp3)
- The Problem of Evil and Suffering by William Lane Craig (mp3)