Often, in light of horrendous news, such as we had last week, people turn to their faith for reassurance. I think such sobering events provide a greater opportunity: a perfect time to question your faith. Warning, the post below contains some strongly-held atheist views.
This report just in, hot off the wires
There was shock this week in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Phillipines when a man of religion insisted that the terrible events still hadn’t disproved the existence of God.
When asked whether the storm that had taken so many lives and left hundreds of thousands homeless, didn’t finally put an end to the delusion that a kind and benevolent deity was watching over humanity, the religious representative, who wished to remain anonymous, murmured something about “mysterious ways”. We checked a dictionary for a definition of this phrase, which it turns out means “I haven’t a clue and that’s an end to the discussion”
So it was put to the man that if God did indeed exist but had deliberately inflicted such suffering upon mankind, as he had so often before with tsunamis, earthquakes, cancers, birth defects, famines etc, then surely he was a cruel and malicious god that didn’t deserve our praise or worship. Our reporter didn’t catch the full response but the word “sin” was definitely muttered, at which point the man was shown a picture of a dead infant being cradled in the arms of her distraught father and carried across the debris and rubble that now define the landscape in the aftermath of the storm. Asked what sins this child could possibly have committed, the man looked a little flustered and remained silent because, you know, religious people are, in the main, well-meaning, caring and good people; they just believe in something that doesn’t exist and therefore something they find hard to explain without reference to an old book; all of which seems a completely unnecessary distraction and which is too often used as an inadequate excuse for both good and bad behaviour.
Anyway our reporter tried another tact. “If you still insist that there is a god and that he is also a benevolent and kind god, worthy of our adoration, then surely the very least that you have to admit is that he is negligent?”
“He’s very busy” came the reply.
“Answering prayers and the such”
“Hmmm, clearly not all of them”
“As I said he’s very busy”
“Busy and mysterious”
I hope it doesn’t seem churlish to reflect on the horrific events in the Phillipines this week in relation to my atheist views but turning to God for comfort at moments like these is a reaction I find completely incongruous with the reality of events.
I genuinely believe that if the time, passion, energy and of course the money that was dedicated to worship, prayer, repairing church roofs and buying Popemobiles was redirected to more pragmatic and real issues, then the world would be a better place.
And after all, Charles Darwin didn’t need such horrific catastrophes to affirm his beliefs. “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.”
Some say you can see God everywhere. I say you can see signs of his absence everywhere.
You can donate money to the disaster relief effort here: https://donate.oxfam.org.uk/emergency/philippines?pscid=ps_ggl_Emergencies_Philippines_Generic