Like so many people around the world, I was heartsick to learn of the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. I was unfortunately not surprised to learn that the shooter was on psychotropic drugs, but that’s a topic for another post.
This article caught my attention among many other well-written and moving pieces about the tragedy.
The question of how an all-loving and all-powerful God could allow things like this shooting to happen is one of the fundamental existential questions I wrestled with as a young person many times. In fact, it’s probably the question that most fueled the search for answers that ultimately led me to Scientology.
Scientology does not weigh-in on people’s personal beliefs regarding the Supreme Being. I have friends who are Scientologists that are also practicing Jews, Christians and Muslims. But because Scientology is so specific and detailed in its description of, and interaction with, the human spirit, it has inevitably influenced my personal viewpoint on God and the divine nature of the human experience.
For instance, because of my experiences with Scientology counseling, I know that rather than going to heaven after my body dies, I will choose another body and live another lifetime.
That personal certainty that I will continue into an infinite future, long after this body fades to dust, has given me a sense of comfort I didn’t have before I discovered and began practicing Scientology—a sense of comfort that makes unfathomably horrible events like the Las Vegas shooting a little more bearable because I also have absolute personal certainty that every single person who was killed will also continue on into the future, not in an abstract or ephemeral sense but in a very real and tangible way.
My personal answer to the question “where is God?” during events like this, is that God exists in every single one of us. Our true nature, the part of ourselves that is most intrinsically “us,” is spiritual, not physical. We have lived an almost infinite amount of time already and will continue to do so into an infinite future.
God is in the young husband shielding his wife from gunfire with his own body. God is in the courage of people risking their lives to carry injured people they’ve never met out of harm’s way.
There is no doubt that the events in Las Vegas are tragic. And no article, no written language, no philosophical argument can take the pain of a lost loved one or a permanent injury away. But my personal belief is that every single one of us is an immortal spiritual being capable of infinite survival. We are not our bodies, our names, our social security numbers. And every single person whose life was taken on that day has moved on to a new adventure. That doesn’t make it any easier on loved ones left behind, but it reminds me that evil will not, and never could, triumph over love because the part of each of us that is truly and only “us,” and truly good, can never be destroyed, can never be hurt, and can never be taken away.
We do have the ability to completely know and understand ourselves and there are specific reasons why even apparently inexplicable tragic events happen. There are basic rules and principles that govern this and every universe and they can be known and used to improve life. That, for me, is what the study and practice of Scientology continues to be. I am incredibly grateful for it, especially in the face of man’s inhumanity to his fellows.
I know we are so much more—and so much better—than events like this shooting. It’s in the collective response—the outpouring of love and compassion and solidarity, that overwhelms and outshines the single act of violence—that our true nature can be witnessed. God is in the young husband shielding his wife from gunfire with his own body. God is in the courage of people risking their lives to carry injured people they’ve never met out of harm’s way. God is in every humane, courageous and loving response to tragedy, never in the tragedy itself.