CNN tapped Denver Pastor Rob Brendle to give the standard, form-letter non-answer that all religious people must deliver up when called upon to "explain" why his god allows senseless tragedies, such as the one in Aurora. In particular Brendle tried, and quite spectacularly failed, to answer the reasonable question of "Where was God?"during the murderous rampage of James Holmes in a crowded movie theater last week?
Rob starts by complaining about how hard his job is at times like this. He makes it sound like he is an emergency responder, when in reality he is just being called upon to phone in shabby platitudes, which admittedly, don't satisfy anyone but children, and often not even them. So, granted, his job is a little rough at that time, trying to sell people turds and tell them it's chocolate. But the rest of the time his job is likely quite cushy and overpaid for just glad-handing and acting like a human Hallmark card.
The funny thing about Brendle is that he thinks his job is hard, but then just proceeds to string together a couple of pat answers that probably most teenagers could generate with no theological training. He starts by hiding behind the tired and threadbare excuse of "free will", which automatically signals that he's got nothing. It is particularly laughable, in this case, becausee James Holmes appears to be mentally incapacitated. Why then would God be worried about the "free will" of Mr. Holmes, who thinks he lives in a Batman comic book? We can understand God protecting the alleged "free will choices" of sane and rational people, but it makes no sense whatsoever to protect the "free will" of an individual who doesn't even know where he is or what he is doing. Now, I realize that free will is NORMALLY flogged by religious apologists harder than a hooker in a cheap porno, but it probably would have paid for him to go off script in this case. Free will is really not the best defense for certain kinds of tragedies. It doesn't work well for earthquakes, and to this list one should also add, it's not very convincing when trying to explain away the actions of a crazy person.
For good measure Rob throws in a few references to Satan, and natural law that make no sense whatsoever, but we will largely just ignore those, since he takes them nowhere. At most he is saying, if you don't buy my first line of baloney about free will, then maybe it was God's will, or maybe it was Satan's will, or maybe it was Nature. Despite his lack of development, the whole point of the question was to figure out why God would allow it, so saying, "Maybe it was God's plan, but we don't know why" is failing to answer the question on the most basic level. Clearly Brendle hasn't thought or, by his own admission, even tried to think this through very carefully.
On the other hand, if we believe in the childish notion that evil is personified by a little man with red skin and horns, then we can try to blame it all on Satan, but we would still have to explain why God allowed Satan to do this and not do other things. After all, Satan is depicted as tormenting Job in the Bible, but even Satan did not take possession of Job and make him kill random people. So that's no kind of good answer.
As to "natural law" I know of no law or force of nature that requires an individual to dress in riot gear and shoot people in a movie theater. It's not like Holmes is an earthquake or tsunami, etc. In other words, invoking "natural" law is just plain nonsensical.
So none of his scatter gun excuses even come close. But, undeterred by this, he then proclaims that Jesus was still "there", presumably in invisible form, simply because a few religious freaks were there making crosses and praying and acting even more clueless than Brendle. For what it's worth, however, at least these people seem genuine in their faith, whereas Brendle is trying to pretend offer even a modicum of wisdom, when, in reality, he doesn't have the first clue.
Therefore, this article would have been much more honest, if Brendle had just said, "F*(k if I know!!"