Following recent announcements by the Pope that seem to overturn the Catholic Church’s longstanding teachings on women priests, the literal truth of the Bible and homosexuality, the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Anglican Church, has weighed in with an interesting comment of his own: the recent terrorist attacks on Paris made him doubt the presence of G_d!
This is extraordinary particularly since progressive Christianity appeared to be moving away from the nonsensical notion of an bearded old man looking down from above to a ‘Presence’, an ‘Intelligence’ that is ever-present, all- powerful and all-knowing, not a person but an energy and information field not unlike the concept of the Zero Point Field of quantum physics.
The ancient Hebrews believed there were many gods but theirs, YHWH, could be located in a portable tent (yes, really!!) or later an inner room in the Jerusalem Temple. They were YHWH’s chosen people, showered with benefits when the observed his/its laws and subjected to punishments verging on the vindictive when they did not.
The G_d of the New Testament was portrayed as the ‘Father Within’ who could be both a source of inspiration and comfort, but also a harsh judge and exterminator.
So, Archbishop, which G_d are you referring to? Is yours a G_d that happily withdraws from the world allows untold suffering to ensue? One must assume so. An ever-present, all-powerful and all-knowing Intelligence would be, well, ever-present, all-powerful and all-knowing!
The question of how an all-powerful, loving G_d could create a world of such suffering, misery and disease is one of the great contradictions in Christianity. Theologians conclude that it is because G_d allows humans to make our own choices, but if we choose unwisely we must suffer the consequences. This is the doctrine of free which is supposed to explain away most of the tragedy and hardship in the world.
But it doesn’t. Did those people in that Parisian theatre choose to be brutally slaughtered by these medieval butchers, any more than the passengers on that Russian airliner or London bus, the occupants of the Twin Towers and those unfortunates beheaded by sadistic scum in the Syrian desert?
I think not. But one thing I do know – the faith represented by Archbishops and Popes is built on shaky foundations and has a lot more explaining to do!
©David Lawrence Preston, 22.10.2017
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Balboa Press/Hay House, 2015