Saturday, July 21, 2012

my atheology

Malcolm posts about the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, in which twelve people were killed by a disgruntled, gun-toting doctoral student during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." In his post, Malcolm links to the blog of one Jessica Redfield, a sports writer who was killed in the Aurora massacre, but who had survived a recent shooting in a Toronto, Ontario food court. Redfield's account of the Canadian tragedy focused heavily on how a premonitory feeling saved her life. My reply to this was:

With tragedy comes theology, and Ms. Redfield’s post seems to focus on the “feeling” she had that purportedly saved her life in Toronto. Where was that salutary feeling during the “Dark Knight” screening? I’m sorry that Ms. Redfield is dead, but I don’t trust people’s testimony when they claim to have had a spooky “feeling” — especially if they’re implying that God or some entity was warning them away from danger. Teasing out the theological implications of why some people might be gifted with such a feeling while others are left clueless is a tangled, bootless task. It’s enough to say that life sometimes sucks and random shit happens.

I heard plenty of attempts at making my mother's brain cancer intelligible. In the end, none of that theodicy-making impressed me. Mom's cancer was senseless, horrible, and plain wrong. It wasn't a lesson; it wasn't a test; it wasn't a blessing in disguise; it wasn't evidence of Providence. Sometimes life kicks you in the teeth for no goddamn reason at all, and the best you can do is just deal with it.


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