In a recent post, I commented, "These days I find myself much less interested in the question of why Gd created this world, and much more interested in the question of what we can do with it."
I want to explain this a bit, because it could be read as glib, and even patronizing to those who do wonder about these matters. That's not at all where I was going with it. [I was also not claiming to channel Rav Soloveitchik's distinction between those two questions; that's a discussion for another time.]
I am not suggesting that one question is more worthwhile than the other, or that I have progressed to some point which others have not yet achieved. Just the opposite; I'm not sure that I'm okay with this change in myself. I might prefer to be otherwise.
But to the person I am today, the questions of "Why did Gd do X" and "Would Gd do X" have no practical meaning. I might as well ask whether Gd can make a rock He can't lift – the answers are irrelevant in the real world.
Let's pretend that I asked, "Would Gd, as understood traditionally in Judaism, create someone with a deeply homosexual nature and prohibit him from fulfilling them?" and the answer was "No." What would I do then?
Would I stop believing in the traditional Jewish version of Gd, since there are people who claim to have been created with a deeply homosexual nature? Would I abandon Torah? Of course not.
Would I respond differently to people who say they have been created with a deeply homosexual nature? Very unlikely.
It's like asking, "Why does Gd allow good people to suffer?" There are numerous answers, of course, and they offer varying degrees of satisfaction. But none of them affect what I do, in practice.
If I'm not willing to change my ways due to the answer, the question doesn't matter much to me.
On one level I wonder if this is part of the narrowing that comes to many people with age. Pathways of thought can become more rigid with time, certainly. But I don't think that's what it is; I think it's a function of my shift from rabbinate to rosh kollelate.
Since leaving the pulpit, I have narrowed in certain predictable, often very regrettable ways. One way is that my sphere of interactions is reduced; I don't have many opportunities for deep philosophical discussions, between shiurim and chavrusos and shiur preparation. There is little time, if any, for random conversations. As a result, I don’t spend much time thinking about the Why of suffering, and my interest in them has waned in comparison with my interest in questions about the What Now of suffering.
It's not better or worse, regress or progress. It just is.