My office recently lost a co-worker to a tragic accident. The funeral is tomorrow, so it is still pretty fresh on the brain. This is the second death in the office in as many weeks, and being a big corporation, management decided to bring in a representative from our Employee Assistance Program. I understand the need for a program like this and I'm grateful to work for an employer who offers this type of service to its people, but something about the presentation made me uneasy. The rep didn't say anything out of line, and was in fact quite inclusive in her speaking with lines such as "I know some of you are strongly religious and some of you are not religious at all." I guess what got me thinking was when she began to discuss the expected reactions that I and my co-workers were supposed to have. She said eventually we would ask "Why? Why were these good people taken from us? Why, with all of the child murderers and the rapists out there, did people like this deserve to die?" The night before, I had received a phone call from a supervisor informing me of the accident, so I was prepared for the announcement the next morning. I also had some time to begin processing the loss. But not once did I ever stop to wonder "Why?". If I had to explain to someone why this tragedy happend to this nice family all I think I would be able to come up with is either deeply cynincal ("Shit happens") or cliche ("Sometimes bad things happen to good people"). I'm sure I could sugar coat it a little better, but the summary would be the same. When I abandoned my belief, did I also leave behind my need to know "Why"? I am not talking about knowing "Why" in the sense that science answers why earthquakes are the result of the movement of tectonic plates, but I mean the question of why innocent people die in earthquakes. I almost feel like this "Why" question is reserved for those who believe. And when they are forced to ask it they can choose the easy answers ("It's all part of God's divine plan" & "God works in mysterious ways"). Others may choose a harder road and try to blame their god for their loss. While this may lead them away from their faith, I don't think it can account for a lasting conversion away from belief. I think this comes not when the question "Why" is answered, but when it is never asked at all.