"If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to
Then He is not omnipotent.
If He is able, but not willing
Then He is malevolent.
If He is both able and willing
Then whence cometh evil?
If He is neither able nor willing
Then why call Him God?"The Riddle of Epicurus
If there's a school of thought which best encapsulates my worldview, it's Epicureanism.
My elderly grandmother was recently assaulted and robbed by a strong, strapping Malay male ostensibly in his early twenties. She work afternoons at my mother's shop and she usually gets a lift home after that (and she did) - but on this particular day, she had absentmindedly left a packaged lunch at the shop, which she usually buys for one of my littler cousins who lives with her. So, she walked all the way out to the shop again under the lethal noontime sun to retrieve it. It's a ten-minute walk, give or take. As septuagenarians go, she's in excellent shape.
There she was, picking up lunch for her granddaughter when this monster on his bike slowed down and sidled beside her, apparently to ask for directions. He was asking directions to the neighborhood he's already in. My grandmother, who was already mugged once in the not-too-distant past, caught on pretty quickly and tried to make a break for it. He was having none of it and latched on to one of her bracelets. And then he hit her. He hit this tiny, skinny old lady right in her left eye, snapped his prize and rode off. Just like that. That's an inch of cruelty and inhumanity I don't think I can fully comprehend in this lifetime.
Anyhow, my grandmother did bring lunch home for her granddaughter. She spoke about this incident to no one. It's only in the evening when she was dutifully cooking dinner for the entire household that my mother noticed that the old girl was wearing a massive black eye and some nasty cuts on her knees.
So, my mother roused me from my cave and asked me to take a look at her and I found, to my horror, a drop of blood was rolling slowly out of her nose as I was examining her shiner - this was a couple of hours after the blow. Oh crap. We rushed her to casualty immediately, in spite of her protests and insistence on finishing her cooking. It could be nothing but it could just as easily be something treacherous like a skull fracture. The X-rays came back clean, fortunately. She did, however, finish making dinner. She would have gone to work that night too if my mother didn't make her stay home to rest. This woman, I must remind you, is pushing eighty.
Why do bad things happen to good people? If you believe in the laws of karma or that the universe is under the gubernatorial purview of a benevolent God, this is a philosophical question which should bug you. It doesn't bug me. I believe in neither. Either there's a God and he's an evil son of a bitch - or that there's no God and human beings are scum. Either way, there's no reason to worship and grovel at the feet of a Holy Spook. Do you feel indignant, angered, repulsed that a young man would raise his fist against a frail, defenseless little old lady who still toil daily for the comforts of her children and grandchildren?
My grandmother is by and large apathetic on the question of religion, but she is culturally a Taoist. After she dies, she will be tortured for eternity by either the Christian or Muslim God. This is what billions of people on this planet agree will happen to her. Do you feel indignant, angered, repulsed that an All-Powerful, Ever-Merciful cosmic being would inflict everlasting torture on a frail, defenseless little old lady who toiled daily for the comforts of her children and grandchildren?
This is an unbridgeable ocean of cruelty and inhumanity I don't think I will ever understand no matter how many lifetimes I live.
k0k s3n w4i