…but why would god care?

Donate to the tsunami disaster fundWhen the tsunami struck I considered writing something about god, but decided it would be inappropriate as it might read as gloating atheism. But the country’s top believer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has opened the debate with words spun by the Telegraph into an admission his faith has been shaken, so I think it’s open season.

It fell upon the Muslim Council to invoke the ‘mysterious ways’ argument in the Guardian which also reminded us that Emperor Justinian explained away the plague as a punishment of sin. This latter position surely remains the most intellectually consistent: ‘We told you how to live / you’ve not done it / now face the consequences’. Yet such a principle, if it exists, has been applied so inconsistently and so indiscriminately, it may as well not exist. (Manchester’s Anglicans – the city’s largest faith group – expected just two per cent of the population to attend one of their Christmas services, yet some were treated to a white Christmas all the same and the city continues to prosper.)

A rather self-centred suggestion is that the tsunami is ‘softening our hearts’ to the world’s poor (i.e. they suffer so we can become better people), but many Christians close their ears to this brutal intellectualism. The Archbishop says it’s best not to think about it: ‘If some religious genius did come up with an explanation of exactly why all these deaths made sense, would we feel happier or safer or more confident in God?’ No, is his answer, so lets have blind faith.

So it’s a lot easier to be an atheist and simply accept human knowledge and power are limited and that natural disasters don’t need reasons. But if there is a god, I think it’s rather egotistical to presume he’d be that bothered about us. Having created so many other solar systems beyond ours, surely he’d look on us in the same way we look upon machines we’ve made. It’s not the end of his world.

4 thoughts on “…but why would god care?

  1. Hi Mike
    I think you’d do well to read the Arch Bishop’s article. He goes on to say, ‘Wouldn’t we feel something of a chill at the prospect of a God who deliberately plans a programme that involves a certain level of casualties?’

    I think it’s fair to interpret this as saying it’s best not to ask what god’s plan is i.e. ‘it’s best not to think about it’ (not a phrase I attribute to the Arch Bishop). Here’s a definition of blind faith. I think it’s fair to say that if the Arch Bishop discourages us from seeking a true understanding of god’s plan, he is saying ‘let’s have blind faith’ (again not a phrase I attribute to him).

  2. There is no god. This heaven crap is a ploy to get people to behave as Christians want us to.
    Besides half of these so called Christians aren’t even very nice. We’re much nicer people.

  3. ‘The country’s top believer’? What the fuck? This of the ordained druid who knowingly broke the Church’s rules in knowingly ordaining homosexuals? This of the guy who almost made a homosexual a bishop? Come on, Stephen, I didn’t expect that much nonsense from you.

    And please find a better quotation method ‘If some religious genius did come up with an explanation of exactly why all these deaths made sense, would we feel happier or safer or more confident in God?’ doesn’t turn up anywhere in Williams’ article, nor does ‘let’s not think about it and let’s have blind faith’.
    [editor’s note: The first quote is from taken verbatim from the eighth paragraph of the Arch Bishop's Telegraph article.]

    I’m no great fan of Williams, but let’s at least give him credit where it’s due for saying that a faith built on ready answers MUST be shaken by something like the tsunami. The real point that one can take from this article is that faith in anything should take the world and its warts into account. Soft soap will lead to despair.

  4. Then I suppose I should start thinking more seriously about moving from the CoE to a different Church. Christianity isn’t about blind faith, and if the head of a Church starts saying that it is, something’s very wrong.

    Sorry it took so long to reply, but things’ve been very busy here.

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