I was born and raised in Connecticut. I have not cried like this for over 2 years. I have for a long time been almost obsessed with trying to answer the problem of evil. I am a philosopher, I want answers, looking for answers is a sort of coping mechanism for me. Let the answer be centered on God: if there is no such answer, then God is nothing, if there is none which yields hope, then the God of all hope offers no hope, in either case, I become an atheist.
What then? What can we say? "Be still and know that he is God"? "God will work all things together for good"? All very true, but they sound as mere platitudes.
Death was crushed to death, how long until we find ourselves where this is true in every sense? Where is the goodness of God? Come Lord Jesus! Oh, but come off it, that time is far off, how can we be encouraged by it now? Look! Christ came as a child, Mary saw her perfectly innocent son murdered. God knows the evil that took place today: his son was killed. But how is this hopeful? How is the mere fact that God knows what we go through enough? I thought he was omnipotent! Why not use some of that boundless power to fulfill the desire of that boundless love? Surely he knows how, since he made us!
"But he knows our suffering, he even feels it with us" Oh, shut it. If he's not going to do anything about, what do I care? "But he has done something about it: The Cross!" Bah, how does that help? It only promises life to an individual, I cannot save those children by my belief.
Look: death came into the world through sin, and sin came into the world through the one man, Adam. On the cross, the one man Jesus killed death by stripping sin of its power in us. I will not say that the shooting took place because of our sins, though perhaps it did, but certainly did because humanity is sinful. If this is the problem, what is the solution? Be sinless. You cannot do it yourself, but in Christ is sinlessness. Be joined to him, then, in the cross. Thus you must die to yourself, as Christ died for you, and live to Christ, as he was raised from the dead. Then you shall be the salt and light, from whom will come no death. Strive, then, that all the world may be saved to the glory of God, for only on that day will children be safe anywhere.
Ah, so... no real comfort? Just commands? Laws. "No, not Laws, it is by grace. The world is being made new!" Well get on with it! Why doesn't God just finish the job? What is the delay? "God is patient, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should be saved." What about all those children who perished today! His patience meant their deaths. "Yet if he were impatient, if the world had ended beforehand, there would be many who would have died apart from the love of God, would you doom them to hell for the sake of these children?" And yet you still have not answered: why did those guns work? "If I answer that it is in order that some may be saved, you ask 'why not some other way?' If I say it is for consistency's sake, then I lose all miracles, and you have every right to say 'inconsistency be damned!' It is a judgement." What? Then why not everywhere? Or why Newtown specifically? "Who knows? Why did God allow so many children to be murdered in seeking to kill the Christ? But this I know:"
The salvation from Christ brings fullness of life. We are all dead, indeed we are all as dead as that shooter, and all, apart from the grace of God, just as bad. Would that he had lived to receive the grace of God, that grace which is for the ugly and the wicked, which makes them righteous before God and brings about a heart of flesh to replace the heart of stone, this grace, this salvation, is for those like him. Yet there must be justice, if not in this life, then the next, and so the shooter, since his punishment was not taken by Christ, must bear the infinite weight of it on his own person. But we all stand able to do the same sorts of things. Who will bear that punishment? God stands ready and able to take the burden on himself, this was the reason Christ came to die. Come to the cross, receive the life which no human can take away, lest you receive the death which no human can escape. Yes, you must have faith, but this will be accomplished by God.
I am not an atheist. No, but rather, this is my hope, this is why I am still alive, this is what I live for.