God’s problem

My uncle saw a ghost once. He was doing construction on his house on Cape Cod, and a very angry guy appeared at the top of the new stairs. My uncle described this guy to the neighbors; it turned out to be the dead guy who originally built the house.

He never doubted his experience. If a ghost appeared to me, I don’t think I’d doubt it either. That’s why I’ve always wanted to bend spoons or have a born-again experience (although I don’t think I could live with myself afterwards if I did, because then, God forbid, I’d have to renounce my political beliefs and become a conservative Republican). But if, say, Jesus appeared to me, I would know for sure that there was another dimension “beyond the thin film of false reality” as Ouspensky wrote. An explanatory dimension, preferably. Telling us why we’re here.

Bart Ehrman had a born-again experience as a teenager, became an Evangelical Christian, studied theology at Princeton, and wrote some really interesting books of Biblical textual exegesis. I heard him talk about all this on NPR, and it almost convinced me that the man Jesus was an actual historical figure of remarkable wisdom and perception. Someone who could see beyond that thin film, in other words.

And then Ehrman said he lost his faith, because he couldn’t explain how suffering and evil could exist in the world if there was a God; and so he wrote the book God’s Problem.

But if there is a God, you’d think He’d be able to explain this to Bart Ehrman.

You have to feel sorry for the Catholics, though. Their God experience is mediated. God comes to them through priests and, ultimately, from the Pope.

And if there is a God, He must be having a very big problem with the Pope, who, I hope, is wrestling with his own problem of suffering and evil.

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