the apathy of god

When I see my son suffer a seizure, like yesterday morning, I am reminded of the apathy of god, at least of the anthropomorphized One who in some people's minds peers down from the ether. The One who decides that kids like mine ought to be born missing part of their brain and endure miseries of all kinds. The One who some like to say doles out hardships just shy of what might be too much for us to bear. The One who, it would seem, brushes aside infinite pleas for an end to pain, disease, famine, drought and war.

Before Calvin’s seizure, which was more violent than most, I laid awake lamenting the death and misery caused by the Orlando nightclub shooter. How many of those loving, happy men and women, and their families receiving panicked texts, prayed to be delivered from that hell? Despite their appeals, the bullets rained down on them like acid, the hot metal rifling into innocent flesh and bone.

God was nowhere on the scene.

Some pious people have told me that Calvin is the way he is—suffering—to serve some higher purpose, to satisfy some grand design. Those same folks might like to claim that the carnage in Orlando was punishment for homosexuality which, they might argue, is forbidden in their Good Books. But God did not author the Scriptures. They were all penned by man. And in each one—the Bible, the Quran, the Tora—certain things are condemned such as eating shellfish, rodents, fat and certain birds, blending fibers, wearing torn clothes, planting more than one kind of seed in a field—and edicts for when to worship, when to fast, how to wear your hair and for homemaking anointing oils. There are laws that indict and subjugate women, tenets to punish various “sins” and statutes on who to stone. These were mans’ creations, mans’ fascinations, mans’ depravity. This was mans’ way to best exert control.

If there is a god—some divine, interconnected force of living and inanimate things—it does not judge or punish. It does not hold in contempt, root for sides, cause anguish and pain, or help to win a war. If this force exists, it must be like water, wind or sun, touching us all, quenching our thirsts, stroking our skin, quickening our hearts. Perhaps sometimes it rises in tides and floods and wicked storms, lays waste the parching plains, quakes the earth which swallows souls. But never does the cosmos rule with some unjust slant or cause, nor with scorn, nor with resolve.

No. The universe is very simply divine, perhaps on its own, and the world sublimely spins, but by no deft hand, nor man, nor bias god who, upon waking, decides that it is so.

Photo by Michael Kolster