Monday, September 8, 2008
I really don't want to make light of a tragic situation, but a woman came in to the theater today with a terribly scarred face almost exactly like Harvey Dent's scarred face from The Dark Knight. I think I managed to stifle my initial fright, but, to my embarrassment, I was quite startled. The burn cut precisely down the middle and to the left of her face, just like Harvey, and her lip and eye were swollen in a grotesque shape, just like Harvey.
If you saw a person suffering and you had a magic wand that could stop that unnecessary suffering, then the kind, good-hearted thing to do would be to wish that suffering away. You wouldn't have to wait for the inflicted to acknowledge you, or to ask you for help; if you were truly good, you'd just save that person with no strings attached, regardless of whether or not the suffering was that person's own fault or purposeful.
If I was a religious person, I'd have to believe one of three possibilities. Either that person deserved the full extent of that suffering (a belief that runs counter to almost every tragic story I have ever heard or experienced), God is not all powerful, or God is not good. It's that simple.
But what really seals the deal is that a truly good and merciful entity would stop that suffering even if the inflicted deserved it. That is compassion. That is not eye for an eye, that is not turn the other cheek, that is love thy neighbor. In a world where you make the rules, suffering is never necessary. And yet God remains complacent. In fact, people claim he gets even more unforgiving in death.
Well, if that's the case, then God is not good.