You hear it after every tragedy, “If there is a God, why does he allow bad things to happen?” Of late, it is actually turned more antagonistic. Celebrities, and even some political leaders, have declared prayers are now worthless; government must act to prevent these mass shootings.
We see death, mayhem, and we want answers.
One great quote is from the film Murder by Decree, where Christopher Plummer, as Sherlock Holmes, declares, with tragedy “we look to God for answers and when we get none, we blame the devil.” The devil in this case, is too many guns and not enough regulation. What isn’t discussed is our culture and how we have marginalized violence.
It takes a village.
I would draw your attention to two paragraphs from Paper 56 in the Urantia Book (pertaining to the problems of the evil and why it occurs) that discusses tragedy, about shared responsibility in any system where free will exists, as these points best illustrate our need to stand back and look at the whole picture of why mass shootings happen in society, why seemingly meaningless tragedy strikes us with no discernible reason.
In these excerpts, the Revelators give us pause in explaining how it is that sin, rebellion and evil are allowed to exist:
54:6.3 If an affectionate father of a large family chooses to show mercy to one of his children guilty of grievous wrongdoing, it may well be that the extension of mercy to this misbehaving child will work a temporary hardship upon all the other and well-behaved children. Such eventualities are inevitable; such a risk is inseparable from the reality situation of having a loving parent and of being a member of a family group. Each member of a family profits by the righteous conduct of every other member; likewise must each member suffer the immediate time-consequences of the misconduct of every other member. Families, groups, nations, races, worlds, systems, constellations, and universes are relationships of association which possess individuality; and therefore does every member of any such group, large or small, reap the benefits and suffer the consequences of the rightdoing and the wrongdoing of all other members of the group concerned.
54:6.4 But one thing should be made clear: If you are made to suffer the evil consequences of the sin of some member of your family, some fellow citizen or fellow mortal, even rebellion in the system or elsewhere—no matter what you may have to endure because of the wrongdoing of your associates, fellows, or superiors—you may rest secure in the eternal assurance that such tribulations are transient afflictions.
These excerpts may not lessen the grief, but it is a reminder than in life, even in tragedy, there is divine wisdom at play. Only an Infinite personality can know “why”. Finite beings such as ourselves must await time to provide this insight as to why these things happen.
And yes, we should continue to pray. Prayer will help us gain insight into God’s mercy and Gods wisdom, that is if we are open to it and willing to change as individuals and as a society.