I really, really, really hate reading news reports about sexual predators attacking and killing little kids. It makes me feel just awful for the child and the parents, and fearful about my own children. Why do these things have to happen?
If there were an all powerful, all good being watching over the universe, they wouldn't have to happen. This is a huge puzzle: if there is such a being, what excuse would he have for allowing little kids to be raped and killed? The Argument from Evil says: no excuse, so no god. There just can't be such a being "up there."
A particular excuse has been jangling around in my head since I read about the Florida girl found dead yesterday. A popular idea is that God couldn't have stopped the miscreant who did this, without somehow depriving humankind of free will. Why do people even begin to think that makes sense?
Think what it would have taken to prevent the crime. The seven year old girl was walking home from school with her friends and ran ahead of them because they'd been arguing. At that point, she crossed paths with the monster. To prevent the crime, all God would have had to do is alter the trajectory of one or the other. He could have held the monster back at an intersection by making a red light last a minute longer. No direct interference with decision-making would have been needed.
In fact, child abductions are rare because we do a lot to prevent them. We hover over our children. We watch out for other people's children. Nobody thinks these prevention efforts impair anybody's free will. So why not, God? Why not a few more prevention efforts from on high?
Sadly, it's at times like these that people most need to believe there is a god. I noticed in a picture of the girl's mother that she wore a cross around her neck. Yet it's also at times like these that it's most difficult to believe there is. I would like to say a prayer for this little girl and her mother--I really would--but sadly I just don't think there's anyone to pray to.