God in the details
SIR – Is there or isn t there a God? An age old question. Quite simply you either believe there is or you don t! Proof doesn t exist one way or the other. However, the intelligent human brain still permits us to discuss that question and, if God does exis
SIR - Is there or isn't there a God? An age old question. Quite simply you either believe there is or you don't! Proof doesn't exist one way or the other.
However, the intelligent human brain still permits us to discuss that question and, if God does exist, the question of omnipotent responsibility for good and evil. Believers, denying their god's responsibility for tsunamis and earthquakes, plagues, starvation and so forth, glibly put the blame on man's collective sin, whatever that is, and quote the greatest cop-out of all time, God gave us "free-will". End of argument.
Sadly some of your correspondents, of the believing variety, suggest that Diane Munday, who I know to be a highly-intelligent and well-read, reasoning lady, is somehow deficient in her understanding of the issues involved. That sort of personal attack is not only insulting and very wide of the mark but displays the gross arrogance typical of those with closed minds whose mantra is, "I believe it so it must be true".
On the other hand, Howard Palmer's excellent response (Herts Advertiser, February 18) to two earlier letters which had criticised Mrs Munday's reasonable questions, set out some of the serious considerations which deserve serious responses rather than airy-fairy opinions which are claimed as fact.
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For example, the views expressed by C S Ede (Herts Advertiser, February 18) to the effect that we have to personally experience pain and suffering in order to learn and that there is no use in telling someone not to do something. I hope he or she does not apply that view to a child about to stick its fingers into a live electric socket. It is a sign of intelligence to observe and learn from the experience of others.
As an 83-year-old atheist (an atheist, it is said, being one with no invisible means of support), who believes in a society which cares for fellow humans, I believe that God is a manmade explanation for what we do not know and for the fear which we all have of the unknown.
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I feel that the situation is beautifully encapsulated in a short verse by a gentleman named E.Y. 'Yip' Harburg who, in case no-one has heard of him, wrote the lyrics to songs as diverse as Brother Can You Spare Me A Dime and Over The Rainbow. In his book 'Rhymes for the Irreverent' he wrote: Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree; And only God who makes the tree, Also makes fools like me; But only fools like me, you see, Can make a God, who makes a tree.
Furse Avenue, St Albans
SIR - Responding to Anonymous (Herts Advertiser, February 18). The Virgin Birth and Resurrection of Jesus are supernatural events, the proof of which is recorded in documents (New Testament) attested to be reliable by historians both Christian and not.
Faith in the theory that humanity is a collection of molecules emanating from a billion-year-old Big Bang sounds like more like "illogical belief in the improbable occurrence" than the Christian alternative.
Responding to Howard Palmer. Fundamentally the greatest act of evil and suffering in the history of the world, worse than the Holocaust, 9/11 and Haiti, was the death of Jesus Christ.
Because of the infinite value of the one who died and the extent of the suffering He endured, that event is unsurpassed for evil and suffering.
Through this atrocity, however, God was bringing good, namely the salvation of billions of people. So, in principle, whilst not diminishing in any way their terrible suffering, we can say that God can, likewise, bring good out of every other lesser case of evil there has been.
Secondly, in the face of the awful reality of suffering, Christianity alone has real comfort to offer. Thirdly, I did not imply for a moment that only Christians can be moral citizens.
What I was saying was that unbelievers have no grounds for that morality. If, as John Lennon said, above us is only sky, then we can't have a problem with evil because there is no ultimate authority to whom we must answer.
I'm delighted when unbelievers uphold morality, truth and justice. But apart from a Creator God who has established the categories of right and wrong, their morality, truth and justice are inconsistent with their view of the world.