An hilarious, if it wasn't such a serious subject, Thought for the Day on January 15th from the Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, trying to make sense of theodicy in the light of Haiti. He gives a brief rundown of theodicy's history, noting Voltaire's devastating critique in Candide.
Well, I have no answer to the question of how God can allow so many innocent people to die in natural disasters, like the earthquakes of Lisbon or Haiti. And indeed, I can quite understand that many will regard these events as proof positive that religious people are living a foolish dream like the idiotic Dr Pangloss.
It does rather seem that way. At least he's honest enough to admit he has no answer; so why does he believe? Oh, hold on:
And yet, I still believe. For there exists a place in me - deeper than my rational self - that compels me to respond to tragedies like Haiti not with argument but with prayer. On a very basic level, what people find in religion is not so much the answers, but a means of responding to and living with life's hardest questions. And this is why a tragedy like this doesn't, on the whole, make believers suddenly wake up to the foolishness of their faith. On the contrary, it mostly tends to deepen our sense of a need for God.
Oh yes, he's got a gut feeling. This is one of the problems of faith. Because it is (often) impervious to the evidence in front of it, there is no resolution available, *in principle*, when one is faced with someone with a completely antithetical belief. I'm comforted a little by the fact that some theists do lose their faith because of this problem of evil.
What many believers mean by faith is not that we have a firm foundation in rational justification. Those, like Leibniz, who try to claim this are, I believe, rationalizing something that properly exists on another level. Which is why, at a moment like this, I'd prefer to leave the arguments to others. For me, this is a time quietly to light a candle for the people of Haiti and to offer them up to God in my prayers. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.I agree that many believers do not have a firm foundation in rational justification. I would go further and say I've not come across *any* who have got such a foundation, although many claim it. It re-iterates the problem above; how are we to get *him* to reconsider his faith in the light of reason and evidence? His is the very definition of a closed mind.
And offering ineffective prayers and lighting candles is a waste of time and effort; one wonders how this is a 'good' thing? He would have used this platform better if he had urged donations and practical help.
To that end, please give what you can.