Until today I had forgotten how very much I have written on the passing of my wife Vickie (her passing occurred almost 13 years ago). But, now that I am thinking of updating my book to a second edition, I am looking back over some past writings and am a little blown away at how much I did write. I am also reminded of some important things that I had put into some of my lesser-visited neurons, and thought I would share a couple of these with you.
One of these is something I wrote about why bad things happen to good people. Specifically, back in 2005, I wrote the following:
I have also learned that doubt is a part of the human condition. I had thought that I must be one of the worst doubters in the world, because of losing Vickie, and maybe I am. But it is human to doubt. Joesph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) explains this so well in his Introduction To Christianity. On page 42, he notes that Saint Therese of Lisieux “grew up in an atmosphere of complete religious security; her whole existence from beginning to end, and down to the smallest detail, was so completely molded by the faith of the Church that the invisible world became, not just a part of her everyday life, but that life itself.” He then goes on to say that we have found occasional wording in her diaries about a desperate loss of faith, a feeling of complete and utter desertion (a feeling that would go away, but that could come back to haunt her at some future point). He then discusses the example of the atheist who wonders, from time to time, “but, what if it’s really true?” (Something I’ve done when I was an atheist.) It’s human to doubt, even for saints and even for atheists.
Ours is a complicated world. We know, for example, from our studies in the mathematics of chaos (chaos theory) that a butterfly’s flapping its wings in China can lead to a hurricane forming in another part of the world. But, when we watch a butterfly flapping its wings, we cannot possibly predict whether that butterfly’s flapping will lead to a hurricane or not. Similarly, we know that good sometimes arises out of disasters, but we have no way of assessing how good comes out of it anymore than we can really assess how much suffering it causes: the suffering can play out immediately (and over time) and the good may not occur for centuries, and perhaps never matches the amount of evil that brought it about (or maybe exceeds it). The only thing we can really know is that the good almost certainly will not come about without direct human effort.
December 2005 Update
The CNN website recently had an article about a theory that the 700,000 ton Taipei building is contributing to increased earthquake frequency in that region of the world. (Imagine 700,000 Tons!) When you consider this and consider that we also displace a lot of earth in building other skyscrapers and roads, and when you also consider how we are contributing to global warming, you can see that we, humanity in general, should probably be taking the blame for a lot of “natural disasters.”
It is so easy for a cynic and skeptic like me to look at an event like the 2004 tsunami and view it as “proof” that there is no loving god. In so doing, I overlook how very much we ourselves contribute to the making of such disasters. Are we so shortsighted that we think we can move 700,000 tons around and concentrate it in one spot and that it will not have an impact on the tectonic plates?
That quote comes from this little piece, which I wrote in 2005.
You may also be interested in this article I wrote in 2003 entitled, The New Age Paradigm. The article appears at Rich Deem’s Evidence For God site, which has tons of fascinating articles. I’m certainly not in agreement with all of his articles, but they all do provide good food for thought.
Anyway, sometimes it can be instructive to revisit the past.