Sin and Mystery, these were always the answers. The question was why bad things happen. An earthquake kills a thousand people. A fire burns down a city. A war, and another, and another. All manner of pain and suffering.
Some is obviously our own faults. World War I was no act of God or Nature, but pure human stupidity and arrogance. We cannot blame anything but these strange ape-brains of ours.
But let's go back to the mystery. A flood wipes out half of Pakistan and we ask why. One preacher blames their faith, usually the same one who blamed gays, sex, and the most recent type of music for the second most recent disaster. Another cannot even give us lies and hate, but can only shrug and suggest that the Lord works in Mysterious Ways. A hand wave. A Wizard Did it.
It's the perfect answer for the lazy or those who don't want any new questions. It reminds me of another answer given by the faithful: "that's the free market."
A town loses the factory and everyone loses their job. One man starves while another lives in a palace. Why? A thousand economists and philosophers rally to the call, offering their answers. The Marxist says it is capitalist oppression and urges action. The bureaucrat says it is a lack of regulation and asks for more power. The politician says it is China and mentions terrorism, saying we must replace the factory with a munitions plant. And the voice is always there, steadily repeating the mantra: it is the free market, and he urges nothing at all.
How strange, this natural force or entity which cannot be controlled, contained, channeled, or even charmed. It does what it does and we are helpless before it, so helpless that we are not even permitted to predict it or wish anything to be any other way. "As it is, so it must be", they say. How convenient, an answer of inaction.
If there were a flood would we simply be washed away? Or would we build levies? Launch weather satellites to predict it? Install pumps and ready boats? Even against that which we cannot quite stop, we still take action and we make things a little less bad. But the market, do not question it, do not oppose it, bow before it.
Why does it do what it does? Obviously it works in mysterious ways.
Now let us close our hands and give praise, as we would to any other mysterious god dictating our fates, that it might show mercy, but never think to change it or order it.