THE banalities spoken about God are often linked with global suffering, the death of children etc.
Clearly the Earth is in agony. But it doesn’t help to explain it away by blaming God, or to claim the death of children proves he couldn’t exist.
The suffering reinforces extreme reactions.
Many people who do not believe in God in the first place seize on the death of children as further evidence that he does not exist.
In the East, there has not been much anti-religious defiance in the form of “How could God do this to us?’’. It’s a Western curse.
Destructive earthquakes regularly take place in Bangladesh and India, but Westerners show little interest in them.
Undeserved pain, disease, and death are daily facts of life for hundreds of millions of people on the planet. Billions of people, rich and poor, weak and strong, have suffered and died senselessly.
More than 29,000 children die every day as a result of avoidable diseases and malnutrition. That’s one child dying every five seconds or more than 10 million children a year in a world in which there is an excess of food.
In Sierra Leone, one in four children die before age 5. In Iraq, one in 10 does not make it to a fifth birthday. Across the globe, poor care for newborns, malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and measles snuff out lives of the very young.
One in 12 children worldwide die before they are five.
So the issue isn’t why God did not intervene to save everyone, but why we humans seem to care so little about each other.
But imagine a world of no suffering from natural disasters, where God steps in every time one of the tectonic plates in the ocean comes loose, or whenever a storm or earthquake threatens a human being. There would still be immeasurable suffering because we would cause it ourselves.
The world has certain imperfections built into the natural order and we have to live with them.
Vincent van Gogh said once that he was interested in painting “not blossoms, but blossoming’’. So, it seems at times, is God.
This world is no paradise, but it is, for the moment, the only home we have. We should take better care of it.