Why does God let things like terrorism happen?

This past week alone, close to 400 people have lost their lives to terrorism. There’s the latest massacre in Nigeria that left 161 dead and according to some reports, some bodies just haven’t been recovered yet. On to the spate of bomb attacks in Iraq that claim dozens nearly every day.

This past week alone, close to 400 people have lost their lives to terrorism. There’s the latest massacre in Nigeria that left 161 dead and according to some reports, some bodies just haven’t been recovered yet. On to the spate of bomb attacks in Iraq that claim dozens nearly every day.

Last Sunday, a Church in Pakistan was targeted and 85 perished. With 127 injured, many critically, that number may go up. And then there’s Westgate in Kenya. Official figures say 61 died but we all know it’s way more than that. I am angry and sad but above all, I feel frustrated that these extremists are on a killing spree and there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do to stop them.

What is more scary is the randomness of these attacks. On September 21, Kenyans and non-Kenyans from different walks of life woke up just like they do every other day. Only thing they had in common was their destination – Westgate Shopping Mall. A six-months pregnant radio and TV presenter hosting a children’s cooking competition; a busy father finally making time to take his little girl for icecream; a sales clerk preparing for a busy Saturday; a mother and daughter out to buy a few groceries; a besotted young man treating his fiancée to lunch; a group of friends window-shopping; a diplomat taking a break from the complexities of her office; a security guard settling into his new job, still marvelling at his luck given the scores still unemployed; a renowned poet in town for a festival, stopping only briefly so his son could pick something from the mall. He didn’t even get out of the car.

How cruel can you be to look into the terrified eyes of unarmed civilians and go ahead to shoot and kill? Only a heartless person would walk up to a heavily pregnant woman and ignore her pleas to let her live, denying her and her husband a chance to see their first child due in just two weeks. I will never forget the image of two children standing just inches from a dead body, too young to comprehend what death is and that minutes earlier, they themselves had almost been killed.

Only God knows how one of the terrorists ended up handing them chocolate bars instead, and eventually let them and their mum go. I will never forget that gruesome picture of a critically injured woman, screaming for help, a young lady jumping from an air vent, an injured boy wheeled out on a shopping trolley, a mother and her two children playing dead to escape the terror and perhaps the most iconic of them all, a security operative carrying a surprisingly calm baby to safety.

I’m glad that all these people survived the carnage but there’s no doubt that they’ll remain traumatised by the acts of a handful of extremists with no regard for human life. I’m a Christian but after tragedies like this, I get my doubts.

If there’s a God, why does He let these things happen again and again? Since He’s all knowing like my pastor teaches, why didn’t He for instance cause a car crash so the terrorists wouldn’t get to the Mall and execute his sheep? Better still, why didn’t He stop these murderers’ mothers from conceiving at all so the world wouldn’t have to suffer at their hands? All we’re taught is to love our neighbor and turn the other cheek.

After hearing witness accounts of how hostages were asked to recite the Quran for any chance to live, I can tell you that I’ve decided to educate myself on this religion just in case some Jihadists turn up at my local church or mall. So far, I know the Pillars of Islam - in their right order I should add; the names of the Prophet’s mother, wives, friends, favourite food, year of birth and death… It would be wise for you to do the same.

To be continued…

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