Praying at the Top of the World Trade Center

My old favorite: the problem of evil. I never seem to be able to get past it, since late nights in freshman year of college, arguing over the merits or existence of a god that allows such misery.

“God protected this campus,� one of the students there said, because no one was killed in the tornadoes that devastated parts of Tennessee on February 5th. Since ordinary Tennesseans were killed elsewhere that night, the logic of such shamanism is that God either did not or could not protect those unfortunates from something that the state’s governor once likened to “the wrath of God.�

It’s from another long article in The New Yorker, but worth the time. “Holiday in Hellmouth.”

During my teens, two members of my parents’ congregation died of cancer, despite all the prayers offered up on their behalf. When I looked at the congregants kneeling on cushions, their heads bent to touch the wooden pews, it seemed to me as if they were literally butting their heads against a palpable impossibility.

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