September 11 & other tragedies: Why doesn’t God stop it?

We have experienced some horrible trauma and grief in my hometown of Bundaberg and district in recent years. The Childers, Queensland, backpacker tragedy put this community on the international map, with 15 incinerated in a backpacker hostel in the year 2000. In 2002, there was the wicked murder of another backpacker, pushed over the rails of the traffic bridge to her death. This is in the sugar cane growing city of 60,000 (including the district) that once had a reputation of being “the city of charm.”  Why doesn’t God stop it?


(Twin Towers, September 11, 2001,, public domain)

Then there was September 11! Terrorist carnage has put the world on alert. Where was God?

When I was in counselling work for many years, my staff and I heard of some of  the most disgusting abuse of children by adults, and of parents by youth. What’s going on in our homes? What’s wrong with our world?

Philosopher, Richard Rorty, speaks for many when he says that truth is what your peers let you get away with. [2]  But the views on television are not that much different. Sleeping around is OK. Marriage is for nerds. Obeying parents is old-fashioned.

Television viewing has become a way of life and a mentality for approaching reality. Truth has been slaughtered by the many “truths” of our postmodern world. Choose your own values. There is nothing absolutely right anymore. As Philip Kenneson puts it, “There is no such thing as objective truth, and it’s a good thing, too.” [3]

If that’s so, why worry about sexually abused children, incinerated backpackers, or terrorists destroying the twin towers? They’re doing their own thing and surely that’s OK in our world? Leading Indian-born defender of the Christian faith, Ravi Zacharias, and a few friends had a discussion with one of the USA’s most powerful construction tycoons who wanted to know why God was silent when there was so much evil in the world?  One of them asked him, “Since evil seems to trouble you so much, I would be curious to know what you have done about the evil that you see within you.”  Zacharias said that there was “a red-faced silence.”  How would you respond?

The Bible provides a radically different diagnosis and solution to the “anything goes” values of today. The Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, nailed it: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9)

The cure for the depravity that is all around us is found in the God who took his own medicine. He sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to shed his blood by gross crucifixion to make forgiveness available to all of us — the desperately corrupt.

There was an article in The Times newspaper in England that asked, “What’s wrong with the world?” A lot of letters followed. The shortest was one of the most powerful, from British author, G. K. Chesterton. What’s wrong with the world? He wrote, “I am.  Yours truly, G. K. Chesterton.” [4]
  See more photos of the September 11, 2001 tragedy.



2.  Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.  New Your: Princeton University Press, 1979, p. 176, in Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay.  Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2000, p. 20.
3.  Philip Kenneson, “There Is No Such Thing as Objective Truth, and It’s a Good Thing Too, ” in Groothuis, Truth Decay, p. 21.
4.  In Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God?  Dallas: Word Publishing, 1994, p. 145.

“I am the problem.”


Copyright (c) 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date:  7 October 2015.

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