Friday Night Think Tank: All The Bad Things

Doc BrownIt’s Friday, Modern Philosophers.

I needed to take a little time to clear my head before heading out to the Think Tank for our weekly Philosophical Exercise.  The Deep Thoughts needed some space to bounce around, and there was too much nonsense cluttering up my mind.

While this is a humor blog, things do get a bit serious on Friday nights when we gather to get Philosophical.  I think it’s good to change things up a little, and this blog’s goal is to inspire both laughter and Deep Thoughts.

Of course, there’s also a financial reason for the more serious posts.  The blog’s two main sponsors are The Doc Brown Charitable Foundation and The Trust For The Furthering Of Philosophical Thinking.  Doc could care less what I blog about, but the folks who write the checks for the Trust insist upon at least on deeply profound Philosophical post a week.

That’s why I started the Friday Night Think Tank.

So let’s keep the sponsors happy and show them exactly how deep our thoughts can get…

This week’s topic: Do the tragedies that seem to constantly be in the news prove that a Higher Power does not exist?  How could a “God” allow so many horrible things to happen to the people “He” created?

First off, I’m not trying to offend by putting “God” and “He” in quotes, but rather trying to make it clear that I’m not assuming that the higher power I was raised to believe in is the only one out there.  This question is meant to include any higher being in which anyone reading this post might believe.

I was raised Catholic.  It was made clear to me that God created everything, and that He was the power behind anything and everything that happened in the world.

When I was a kid in Catholic School, trying not to piss off The Nuns, accepting this idea of the Omniscient, All Powerful God made perfect sense.

mournersAs an adult, however, I have to believe that such a God could not exist.  If He did, then He would be the one responsible for planes begin shot down, crashing, and vanishing off the face of the earth.  He would be the one behind every school shooting, child murder, and terrorist attack.  This God would be to blame for monsoons, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes and all other appropriately named “Acts of God” that take lives and wipe out entire villages.

I pray that such a God does not exist because if He did, that would be sick and twisted.

I’m not very religious anymore.  I haven’t been to church in ages, but I still say my prayers every night before bed.  I suppose this means I do believe in a Higher Power of some sort. I guess I’m not not just ready to accept that we just ended up here randomly and that no one is watching over us like some giant lifeguard in the heavens.

When I do say my prayers, I always ask for all the senseless tragedy to end.  For the world to be a safer, less terrifying place.  It is a little scary to realize that just about anything could happen to you or someone you love at any given moment.  I have to believe that there is some Master Plan, some logic to it all, a Deeper Meaner for why so many lives are snuffed out in such extraordinary ways.

Why can’t we all just die of natural causes?  How is it decided that someone is going to get on a plane and never be seen again?  What’s the reasoning behind that?

I don’t understand, and I don’t expect I ever will.  It just makes me question, however, if anyone up there is at the controls.  Is life just some giant board game?  Did a higher power just roll a 20 sided die, and the outcome cause a monsoon to rise out of the sea and kill thousands of innocent people?

How can there be a God if bad things continue to happen to large numbers of good people?

I’m really eager to read your Deep Thoughts on this one, Modern Philosophers.  Tonight, my prayers will go out for those who lost their lives in the latest tragedy.

I just don’t know if anyone in a position to do anything about it is listening to my prayers…


About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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40 Responses to Friday Night Think Tank: All The Bad Things

  1. jerryofcali says:

    I know for myself, I believe in a higher power…in God. I know that I would not be here today if not for Him allowing me to be born from a mother who was not able to bear a child, let alone two, myself being the younger; if not for Him stopping me from ending my life at age 10; if not for Him being with me through my parent’s divorce; if not for Him saving me from suicide twice during my last school year at my university, from an additional other-worldly influenced suicide attempt earlier this year. Bad things happened to me, but I rose above them because of my faith…and that’s my story. That’s why I believe in God…because I have experienced Him and cannot see my life without Him.

  2. Here’s the answer to your questions: God gave Man free will. Man screwed that up at the Garden of Eden by disobeying God. Enter Sin and Evil.

    That and some people just ain’t worth a shit.

    Not very philosophical, but the long version of the answer would be really boring.

  3. List of X says:

    I’m a die-hard atheist, Austin. I don’t think I need to go any further in my response. 🙂
    However, just today I was reading Genesis and Exodus, with all that smiting and flooding and murders of first-borns – so if there is a god, he really mellowed out since then, I think. 🙂

  4. Healthy Quack says:

    Perhaps humans are not truly capable of comprehending what “God” is….communication from a higher being may be beyond us, I’ve been trying to explain Twitter to my cat all day and I just don’t think he gets it….Maybe we just don’t get it….yet

    • Austin says:

      This went to my spam folder, so I’m only just now seeing it. Maybe the Higher Power sent it there because it didn’t approve of your comment. 🙂

      I get what you’re saying, so I guess what I’m wondering is are all these horrible things that happen simply random? Are people chosen to be victims in some sort of “fate lottery”? Or is there a reason why certain people are involved in these events?

      Deep Thoughts for a Friday night… 🙂

  5. floridaborne says:

    Here’s the longer, boring, answer.

    Think about it this way. If humans have free will, it means that one person’s free will might require another person’s slavery. We value the freedom to walk into a store, purchase our food and clothing at little cost, and then go home to watch ‘Dancing with Dunces.’ Chances are that at least 1 of the items in your cart was cultivated or created by child and/or adult slave labor and they’re too busy trying to survive to worry about which over-paid actor dances better.

    Or how about looking at it from the vantage point of the way life on Earth functions. The fox and rabbit both have babies to feed. The fox chases the rabbit. If the rabbit escapes, the fox can’t feed her babies and they die. If the fox catches the rabbit, the rabbit’s babies die. In that respect, tragedy takes on a whole new perspective because what is a tragedy to one may be thought of as a godsend to the other.

    I wish I could say that humans work on a higher level but, sad to say, within a single species are foxes and rabbits and which one prevails depends upon the day. For example, there was a time when the Mayan civilization prevailed, when various European conquerers prevailed, when the orient prevailed, and when empires in the middle east prevailed. The bastion of civilization becomes like the fox, the rest of the world is their rabbit.

    I’m not saying it’s right or wrong or that we can or can’t change it. That argument is better left to someone else.

  6. moonbear42 says:

    Reblogged this on Culture Shock and commented:
    I was never really one for going to church, however, there are a few things I have learned through the years. First is the speak no evil, hear no evil, and see no evil… when I was the young I was the goth girl who had that shirt with the fairies on it posing those gestures.

    Another lesson is ask and you shall receive. Have you ever seen or read, “The Secret”? It’s basically about how the world you see is a reflection of how you perceive yourself. The more positive your thoughts are the better your life gets.

    Maybe it’s the anarchist in me, but I don’t buy into the mainstream media, because most if it is bullshit. One of those, “gotta see it before I believe it,” chicks.

    All that being said, I know there is evil and there are tragedies in the world because I have witnessed it, and they are difficult to face. Every single one of us have our own demons to face – some people need help facing them – and life can get pretty chaotic when we do face those demons. I get pretty scared of my own life. As long as I remember to trust my heart and put my faith in peace the dangers won’t get to me. If I allow myself to follow my dreams the spirits will continue to guide me.

  7. ksbeth says:

    i am just sad about this, it is a terrible loss for humanity.

  8. markbialczak says:

    I believe in a higher power, Austin. I also believe that while open to listening to everybody’s prayers and wishes, that doesn’t mean they’ll be answered in the manner you want. In other words, we don’t know what the higher power’s moves are on the big chess board 100 steps down in the game, and the higher power does. Hence, what we consider to be bad things happen to good people sometimes. This was a great think tank, Austin. Sorry I couldn’t pop in until this morning. Everybody send out their style of condolences to those hurt worst by that plane tragedy …

    • Austin says:

      Thanks for your Deep Thoughts on this one, Mark. It’s interesting to learn what everyone thinks, and to try to learn if tragedy does shake a person’s belief system.

      I know The Nuns are angry with me for questioning things, but I am a free thinker…

      • markbialczak says:

        I am similar to you along that line, Austin. My foundation of belief remains, but my childhood Catholic Church ways … well … I just can’t accept the believing through fear rather than the believing through love part so much.

      • Austin says:

        It’s an interesting world…

  9. I definitely believe in a higher power. I’m an empath; I am left with no choice. I feel this all around me all of the time. 🙂 I also agree with the above responses. Suffering is a necessary part of the human condition and part of what needs to happen as we continue to evolve. Why do we assume that a higher power would want us to avoid this? Just because we want to avoid it? Death is not truly the end. Time is a human creation. Higher powers in this world do not follow our rules.

    • Austin says:

      Some very Deep Thoughts in your response. Thank you for giving me another mental avenue to explore.

      This is going to make the sponsors very happy… 🙂

  10. D. Parker says:

    I think religion, originally created to keep people in line and to make money continues on that path.
    As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone I don’t have a problem with it, although sadly it’s been the source of many issues, conflicts, and poor choices (with a lot of justification thrown in) and continues to be.
    I suppose it’s very comforting for people to think there’s a higher power, that someone is watching out for them and helping them.
    It also takes away any responsibility, when there are more and/or worse floods it’s an Act of God, not climate change and topographic changes we humans have made.
    There might be higher powers, but I like evidence and I’ve yet to see any, so far science is showing up to represent.
    But to each their own, I don’t care what people believe; too bad more people wouldn’t just believe in tolerance.

  11. The tragedies further prove than humankind too often chooses evil over good. It’s frustrating to watch coverage of the latest Malaysian Airlines crash. The perpetrators continue to hinder all investigative efforts.

    Those beset by tragedy can’t get closure. This is a total disregard of human life–all things decent and right. Why did God allow such a thing to happen? A better question would be–why do humans (the perpetrators) continue to make the wrong choices? I’m praying for the families affected by this latest disaster.

    There are many Biblical examples pointing out that sometimes “life sucks.” From parochial school, I’m sure you remember “Jonah and the whale,” the story of “Job.” Whether one believes in God, Biblical Old Testament admonitions or not–it’s the story of the Israelites escaping from bondage in Egypt.

    Why did God allow the Israelites to be held captive in the first place? Was it retribution/punishment?

    Why is God punishing me with the Kardashians–a family I don’t care a whit about?

    • Austin says:

      Thanks for providing this side of the Deep Thought process. I was hoping someone would chime in with a reply like this.

      Just gives us such much to think about, doesn’t it?

      Happy Saturday! Maybe the world will become a better place today…

  12. JackieP says:

    Maybe it’s the higher powers version of ‘tough love’. Whoever or whatever the higher power is gave humans free choice, he wanted to see what we would do with it. I think we failed the test. We humans have yet to learn from our mistakes. Everyone wants to be the boss of everyone else and it’s just not working. We have so much to learn yet.

  13. I do believe in a loving God. I also believe in the very sinful nature of the human race, and that we can’t find light without darkness, happiness without sadness, joy without tragedy. There are no easy answers and I completely, 100% understand that it is difficult to believe in the presence of a loving God.

    I also think this editor/writer has said it better than I ever could. The following excerpt is taken from a recent Huffington Post article (

    “But we are not impotent, and this is not “happening to us.” We, the human race, are doing this to ourselves. These aren’t natural disasters, or “acts of God.” It’s just us, humans, having completely lost our humanity. We are warring, and hurting, and intentionally or unintentionally killing one another through direct assault or indifference and neglect.

    We have forgotten that we belong to one another, that we are connected, that we are all sisters and brothers, that we need one another.”

  14. Great question/post, by the way 🙂

  15. I’m a bit late for the game, my apologies, but after reading this I wanted to comment nonetheless!

    All of the senseless horrific things that happen, and a lack of understanding for why, is partially why I do not believe in God. I don’t claim to know how we arrived on this planet, though evolution makes more sense to me than an all-knowing being in the sky. I think religious folks might say that horrible things happen because God gave us free will and doesn’t interfere with the decisions we make on our own, but I’m not convinced. If He loves us like his own children, would he really let us be raped/murdered/shot (etc)? Would you “allow” that to happen to your own children, or loved ones, if you had the power to stop it? However, if we evolved from apes (for example) it might make a bit more sense. Earth has evolved tremendously over the millennia, and humans have found ways to survive through all of the twists and turns; from natural disasters to epidemics of disease, you see these things in human history as far back as we have found evidence of humans. We make choices based on survival at it’s core, as technology has evolved we have given ourselves too many ways to harm one another, and there will always be someone who wants to cause harm. Power, greed, selfishness, ignorance… these are the downfalls of humans. So, I do not believe in an all-knowing all-seeing God, I believe we make decisions that will either improve life or remove life, and we are all responsible for the outcomes.

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