Catholic priest and face of the popular apologetics YouTube channel Ascension Presents, Father Mike Schmitz, used the premise of DC Comics’ video game series, graphic novel, and animated film Injustice to help explain the problem of suffering.
Why does God allow bad things to happen? Fr. Mike, as he’s sometimes billed, decided to look at this question “through the lens of comic books.”
In the plot of the game, the film, and the comic, Superman goes rogue and becomes a dictator to stop crime and evil in its tracks once Joker’s scheme and death kill Lois, Clark’s unborn child, and half of Metropolis.
After briefly going over this storyline, Fr. Mike says Superman becomes evil as Batman argues by taking away freedom of choice – even if he remedies the freedom to choose wrongdoing.
“If God were to be like Superman in this case,” Fr. Schmitz said, purging all evil, suffering, and death from existence, “he would also have to take away all our freedom” – meaning he stops being merciful or all good.
God made the world “and it was good,” as the Bible says in Genesis, but humanity broke it in the Fall by eating The Forbidden Fruit from The Tree of Knowledge.
Like a parent who doesn’t fix certain things in their house when their kids still live there and are liable to break things repeatedly, God, The Father In Heaven, doesn’t turn back the clock or put us in Eden again, Fr. Schmitz explained.
Instead, He respects our choice and leaves the world broken “so that we can be free.” Freedom comes with the ability to choose evil but it also comes with the capacity “to be great” in choosing God’s way or to do some good.
“That doesn’t mean God doesn’t care,” or “that God is distant,” Fr. Schmitz continued. “In fact, it’s the exact opposite.” Christianity has always tried to edify the problem of suffering and show that God wants to be close to us.
The Gospel is an account of Him sending His only Son to become a man and experience the harsh travails of being human and unaccepted, save for a small number of followers, unto death. “He experienced everything that overwhelms us,” to the point of dying exposed on a cross.
“All He can give is his spirit,” says Fr. Schmitz. “All He can give is forgiveness.” Far from “impassive” or distant, Jesus – God Made Man – enters into our suffering through The Passion and redeems the world.
Even baptized in Christ, the Church on Earth still suffers but it does so for Him and the suffering can be offered to Him if only the believer tells The Lord “use this,” Fr. Mike said.
“Nothing given to God is ever wasted…so don’t waste it,” whatever it is you’re going through, he added, though He won’t take your freedom.
Father Mike Schmitz confesses to being a nerd and makes frequent references to comics and Star Trek in his videos and in his Sunday Mass homilies, which are archived on the Ascension Presents channel.
This goes back to before his vocation. Prior to the priesthood, Fr. Schmitz took a stab at acting in the 90s and auditioned for the role of Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever which went to Chris O’Donnell.