Iran and Hezb’allahs theodicy problem in Beirut

When I heard that Beirut's blast was a result of negligence, the first thought that crossed my mind was, "How will Iran and Hezb’allah account for Allah allowing such a disaster to happen to devotees of jihad?"

After all, both are nominal theocracies and therefore see theological underpinnings in everything -- yet, theologically speaking, the Beirut blast put them into an utterly untenable position. Iran sees itself as a God-obeying country, as does its satellite Lebanon, controlled by Iran-minded Hezb’allah. So how to explain that God permitted the Beirut disaster to happen?

This is a problem known in the West as Theodicy, or "justification of God." In a nutshell, it attempts to reconcile two seemingly irreconcilable facts -- that God is both good and all-mighty on one hand, and there is evil in the world on the other.

At first, there was silence from the ayatollahs -- I dare say, stunned silence. Yet, ten days later, they did make a shot at theodicy -- in the form of a speech by Hezb’allah's spiritual leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Caught in a theologically tight place, Nasrallah used a two-pronged argument. Firstly, it was likely Israel's attack rather than negligence of Lebanon's pro-Iranian overlords that caused the blast. So, God and, by extension, Iran and Hezb’allah are off the hook.  The problem of theodicy does not even arise -- as always, it’s all Israel's (and therefore, Satan's) fault.

Secondly, the blast could have been far worse than it actually was -- because God intervened and prevented it from being too bad (I kid you not: "by God's mercy the explosion was less destructive than it could have been"). The blast is not a disaster, but a blessing; rather than being angry at Him and Hezb’allah, one should be grateful. Hezbullah's connections in the ultimate high place made the blast much more tolerable. In fact, the blast is the cause for joy at God's mercy rather than a reason to suspect that He is not entirely behind Hezb’allah and Iran.

As Mark Twain observed, "I would rather tell seven lies than make one explanation." For Nasrallah, honestly "explaining" the Beirut blast is impossible; so not surprisingly, he follows Mark Twain -- to a fault.

Phto credit: YouTube screen grab (cropped)

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