Why Does God Allow Suffering?: A Response to the Theater Shooting

I’ve been to multiple midnight-movie showings, so it was especially shocking to read about the actions of a lone gunman at a midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado. The country is waiting for justice, and in the meantime, we’re asking questions: Why did he do it? What’s with the dyed hair? Is he insane, or did he know exactly what he was doing? And the usually unspoken but often felt question is: Why does God allow this kind of thing to happen in the first place?

Lee Strobel has written a great response that’s worth taking the time to read.  He reminds us that God did not want evil and pain in the world, and how important it is to put terrible events in perspective.  Above all, Strobel reminds us of our God-granted free will, which has the power to both send us into further darkness or to send us to Christ, where we can be made whole and become a light for others in darkness.

As for me, seeing the movie after the shooting cast it in a very different light for me.  Christopher Nolan’s trilogy has always been about how much Batman will sacrifice to save Gotham, how much faith he has in the few people who he knows will make a difference, and then in turn how others are inspired by him to do good.  This is particularly evident in “The Dark Knight Rises” in Batman’s relationship with Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman), whom Batman continually goes to for help despite her criminal record.  He knows she has good in her and that she can help him, and she does – all because Batman trusted in her when no one else did.

The Batman movies aren’t your ordinary summer blockbusters.  They contain such a powerful message of hope.  One person missed this message of hope, and the result was twelve lives lost and a city grieving.  But that doesn’t mean the rest of us should despair.  Our God made a tremendous sacrifice for us and gives us second and third and fourth – infinite – chances, and He always gives us a choice: do we give in to darkness when the world is hurting, or do we take the high road, no matter how hard it is, and walk alongside Him to make it right again?


PS: Pastor Jeff will be back to speak on Sunday for the first time since his heart attack!  He’ll be talking more about hope in our fallen world and Christ’s faithfulness to us.  Don’t miss it!

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