The God question

PUBLISHED: 10:53 11 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:53 06 May 2010

SIR – Diane Munday (Herts Advertiser February 4) asked: How could an all-powerful, all loving entity allow [suffering]? Philosophically the objection demonstrates significant faith in one s own ability to understand the universe accurately. Just because

SIR - Diane Munday (Herts Advertiser February 4) asked: 'How could an all-powerful, all loving entity allow [suffering]?'

Philosophically the objection demonstrates significant faith in one's own ability to understand the universe accurately.

Just because one can't imagine such a God doesn't mean He doesn't exist. How does one explain the people who have come to faith specifically because of personal suffering or those who testify to the positive effect of their suffering ("I wouldn't be the man I am today if it hadn't been for...")?

Just because suffering may appear pointless to me, doesn't mean that it is pointless. In fact if you have a God big enough to be angry with for not stopping suffering, you have a God big enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue. Furthermore, where do humanist ideas of right and wrong come from? Evolutionary theory depends on death and violence, natural selection, the strong devouring the weak. One has no grounds for moral outrage at suffering when one's system depends upon it.

Suffering is never philosophical for the sufferer but getting rid of God doesn't get rid of the problem. But Christianity alone gives us resources and hope in our pain.

The key is Jesus Christ in whom God became uniquely and fully human and who knows firsthand despair, rejection, loneliness, poverty, bereavement and torture. Who on the cross experienced infinite suffering so that through His death and resurrection He could secure a future without suffering for those who put their faith in Him.

JAMES GRAY

St Vincent Drive, St Albans

SIR - The Lord Bishop of this diocese is the only person who can speak, and will speak for everybody here, living and dead, and does so from time to time about religion and politics alike with prophetic insight.

As a theologian himself, he does not need apologists but he is working with you, thank God, with love. If God exists as a morally perfect, omnipotent, omniscient being, evil would not exist. But evil does exist. Such a God would eliminate every evil whenever, wherever, howsoever such a God could.

Mrs Munday argues, as a humanist-atheologian, that such a God does not exist. But, leading the course run by the St Albans Centre for Christian Studies on the problem of evil, Kamir Esmail tells us, that since the 1970s, there is no such inconsistency.

"Incredible." Awe-inspiring. My philosopher cousin Martin Hollis, who once lived in Battlefield Road, agreed. The main secular (humanist, atheist) sect includes Richard Dawkins (RD), Simon Heffer, Matthew Paris and others in the media. The Hebrew name for God "I AM" means "God was, is and always will be". RD has never postulated anything like I AM to replace such a God. That fact is the "logical blank" that should bother Mrs Munday.

Mono-theist philosophers (Western, Eastern, whichever, e.g. Irenaeus, Hick) state the set of propositions that such a God not only is I AM but also "created all things" as Alban put it, and that God goes on doing so out of all-giving love. That includes creating Alban, RD, Diane Munday, your medium, Alan Smith+ and all us readers.

MICHAEL JAMESON

Marlborough Gate, St Albans


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