Each year thousands of body bags arrive home from the Middle East and the hunt for ‘so called’ terrorists continues throughout the world, whilst in Africa every twenty seconds an innocent child dies. For many, it is far from strange to wonder just where God is in the midst of all of the horror. By Melanie Caitlin American author William Young wrote a best-selling book titled ‘The Shack’ on the subject. Young, who disassociated himself from church years ago, grew up in an environment where abuse was thought of as normal. He spent his youth in a Christian boarding school. When the moment came in which he had lost all faith his wife was the only one to keep him standing. Young wrote The Shack as a gift to his children but decided to publish it when friends realised the book was something far more special. In his book the character named Mack meets God himself after the brutal murder of his six-year-old daughter. Mack, who was once religious, is fed up with God and asks Him every question conceivable. “If you can’t even take care of my daughter, then how do you expect me to believe that you will take care of me?” Mack asks, to which God replies: “There is no easy answer that will take your pain away. Believe me, if I had one, I’d use it right now. I have no magic wand to wave over you and make it all better. Life takes a bit of time and a lot of faith.” Out of the 6 billion humans who live on this planet, nearly 1,5 billion know that very faith.  They are Christian. But according to Young nobody ever asked us to become Christian, he even dares to claim that Jesus isn’t a Christian himself. In the book Jesus tells Mack he is not very fond of church, which amazes Mack since he was always forced to go when he was younger. “I don’t create institutions; that’s an occupation for those who want to play God. So no, I’m not too big on religion”, Jesus says, “and not very fond of politics or economics either. And why should I be? They are the man-created trinity of terrors that ravages the earth and deceives those I care about. What mental turmoil and anxiety does any human face that is not related to one of those three?” According to the book, earthly issues mainly occur because of the independence and free will God granted us. Our independence is what allows us freedom to feel and to think based on our own perceptions of reality, of life. But sometimes those perceptions are far from accurate: imagine being in a supermarket, seeing an obese woman with a supermarket kart overflowing. The obvious thought for an average human being would be: ‘no wonder she’s fat’. However, a few weeks later, you find out the woman owns a catering company, which she was shopping for! According to Young, situations like these are exactly why we should always be willing to re-examine what we believe. And this exact example leads Young to tell us whether or not we should believe in God. One might believe strongly while the other may think God is nothing more than an excuse for all of our problems. the last case is a growing one among the younger generation. Which is why websites like ‘godornot.nl’ have made it their mission to show this generation exactly how beautiful life with God really is. “I can’t imagine a life without God. I think my life would be pointless. It’s not like you can take anything you earn here, on earth, with you, when you pass,” Rick, a contributor to the website, says. “A lot of people tend to say God doesn’t exist because He lets all the bad stuff happen. But I don’t think that’s true. If He had just stopped everything from happening then we would have been robots without any sense of responsibility!” Young makes reference to this in his book, saying that we, people, asked God for responsibility way back, in the form of Adam, but now we complain about the fact that He gave it to us in the first place. “Put simply, the ‘terrors’ are tools that many use to support their illusions of security and control. People are afraid of uncertainty, afraid of the future. Institutions, structures and ideologies are all vain efforts to create certainty where there isn’t any,” Jesus tells us in the book. Maybe it isn’t about whether or not God exists, or whether or not we should believe, but if we can all gain enough respect for ourselves and each other to learn something from the story. Like all children when they learn that you can’t take something from a stranger because when Snow White did, she got poisoned. And when you want something you’ll have to work for it, like when we dress up and receive sweets in return for Halloween.  They are metaphors in narrative form, stories that hold wisdom for us to learn from. By accepting this, and the fact that, as a human being, you can’t do much more than to live in the present, you are well on your way. And thankfully for many, The Shack assures us that to get there it isn’t necessary to go to church every Sunday. Photography  by Out-Of-Focus