Cretinism or Evilution? Nos. 4&5
Edited by E.T. Babinski
The Way God "Designed" the Cosmos
The Most Provocative Things Ever Said
About the way God "designed" the cosmos
MARY KARR, "AGAINST NATURE," PARNASSUS 18:2 1993 & 19:1 1994, a one volume combined edition of that journal
A. E. HILLERICH, LETTER PUBLISHED IN FREETHOUGHT TODAY, MAY 1994
"Last week, on the same night our community opened an efficient and hospitable shelter, an area man froze to death...When your wife and children are nestled all snug in their beds, and you're alone with your thoughts in the kitchen and you hear that relentless wailing, you know how much of creation theology is bull...
"In a high tech, antiseptic, hospital...I watched in helpless anguish as well-trained doctors and nurses rushed to save the lives of my wife and prematurely born son. Had nature been allowed to take its course, the Midwestern soil would have claimed what I love for fertilizer...
"The earthquake in already bleeding Armenia didn't take place because of any systemic injustice. Nor did the hurricane that flattened the already hopeless villages of Nicaragua. Nor did the flood in Bangladesh.
[Editor's note: The poorest people of the world suffer most from nature's "designedly" brutal ways. The earthquake in Armenia (in the 1980s) was less powerful than the earthquake in San Francisco, yet only a couple hundred people died in the U.S. quake while 25,000 died in the Armenian one. The roofs of the cheaply made houses and buildings in Armenia collapsed on their occupants, killing them, while the houses and buildings in our far wealthier nation were constructed better, with finer materials, and didn't collapse as easily. Neither is it easy for poor people to obtain all the medical assistance and proper housing and appropriate information they need to deal with nature's brutal ways. There's the weather and natural disasters as well as parasites, natural poisons, bacteria and/or viruses in their food water and air. If God designed nature to "punish" mankind He certainly must have known that such a plan would punish the poor people of the world most of all.]
"When Mount St. Helens burst like a boil on the earth's skin, the gas suffocated a family or two. I remember a dead little boy in the back of his parents' pickup truck. The photographs of his corpse showed the eyes wide open and the mouth agape. A tiny and bewildered face stared into an empty sky...
"Recently, when a green hickory branch broke and fell in Illinois, shattering the skull and mind and family and friends of a four-year-old boy, the problem was not human hardness of heart. When leukemia was diagnosed in a six-year-old girl, her parents learned something no liberation theologian has yet expressed about the nature of evil. None of these things is our fault.
"There are those who have gazed unflinchingly at these things and said they are the will of God. Some unfathomable thing goes on, they seem to say, that makes sense out of our orphans, puts all our shattered children and demented and despairing parents into some context. It has to do with Jesus on the cross or multinational corporations or Our Lady of Fatima. Their assertions are duplicitous or insane.
"No, A universe in which such things can happen is simply intolerable. And we have to tolerate it. The attempt to explain away such things is contemptible...The faith makes no attempt, but does enigmatically insist that God himself has entered and overcome the horrors of this plainly blighted project...That is no exhaustive reassurance to be sure..."
MICHAEL O. GARVEY, "SOME OF THE MONSTERS ARE REAL: GOD ENTERED CREATION BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN GOD CLEANED UP THE MESS," IN THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, FEB. 10, 1989
S. T. COLERIDGE
Scene: A small boy lay dying in agony from the plague. A priest and an atheist doctor are in attendance, both unable to help the child.
Father Paneloux [the priest]: "This sort of thing is revolting because it passes our human understanding. But perhaps we should love what we cannot understand."
Dr. Rieux [the doctor]: "No, Father, I've a very different idea of love. And until my dying day I shall refuse to love a scheme of things in which children are put to torture."
"Don't tell me God works in mysterious ways, there's nothing so mysterious about it. He's not working at all. He's playing. Or else He's forgotten all about us...How much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did He ever create pain?"
"Pain?" She pounced upon the word victoriously, "Pain is a useful symptom. Pain is a warning to us of bodily dangers."
"And who created the dangers?" he demanded. "Oh, He was really being charitable to us when He gave us pain! Why couldn't He have used a doorbell instead to notify us, or one of his celestial choirs? Or a system of blue-and-red neon tubes right in the middle of each person's forehead. Any jukebox manufacturer worth his salt could have done that. Why couldn't He?"
"People would look silly walking around with red neon tubes in the middle of their foreheads."
"They certainly look beautiful now writhing in agony or stupefied with morphine, don't they? What a colossal, immortal blunderer! When you consider the opportunity and power He had to really do a job, and then look at the stupid, ugly little mess He made of it instead, His sheer incompetence is almost staggering."
C. S. RODD "QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK: 4. THE PROBLEM OF EVIL AND SUFFERING" IN THE EXPOSITORY TIMES, VOL. 107, NO. 2, NOV. 1995
Act 1, Scene 1 [Setting: Young pregnant woman found dead in a parking lot, struck by lightning.]
Cop : Looks like lightning hit her on the head. Guess it was the will of God.
Detective: It's the work of God all right, and I'm gonna make sure he goes up the river for this one.
Detective's narration: Ever since I started this beat, God had been responsible for putting more people six feet under the ground than any other thug in the city. They had all been written off as natural causes, but I knew better. And now he was getting sloppy. The lightning was his personal trademark.
ROSEMARY E. MORGAN (1965)
"What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small."
MARK TWAIN, "LITTLE BESSIE WOULD ASSIST PROVIDENCE"
"An old Sufi teaching-story is apropos here. Somebody asked the divine Mullah Nasrudin, `Why do crickets make that annoying noise all night?' The mullah replied, `To give philosophers something to argue about all day.' He who has ears, let them hear."
ROBERT ANTON WILSON
"A Mouse that prayed for Allah's aid
Blasphemed when no such aid befell;
A Cat, who feasted on the mouse,
Thought Allah managed vastly well."
SAKI, "FOR THE DURATION OF THE WAR" (1915)
The teacher said, "Don't cry. The lions are not going to eat Daniel."
The girl said, "That's not what I'm crying about. That little lion in the corner is not going to get any."
SAUNDERS GUERRANT (ROANOKE, VIRGINIA) AS QUOTED IN THE PREACHER JOKE BOOK BY LOYAL JONES
the TB germs continued to torture her for years, `honoring God's purposeful design' with every bite they took of the child's life, comfort, and sanity."
E. T. BABINSKI
"Beloved children, I write to you today to offer you loving guidance against the unnatural use of antibiotics...God created bacteria and viruses for the purpose of infecting organisms sometimes seriously, sometimes less seriously - and we must never presume to interfere with the right order of God's creation...Just as all forms of birth control go against the natural purpose of conjugal relations - namely, procreation - so the use of all forms of man-made antibiotics interfere with the God-given design of bacteria and viruses and how He intends them to interact with the human body...each and every bacteria-body interaction must remain open to the transmission of bacteria...It is immoral to impede development of a natural process. That is why we have so exhaustively spoken out against artificial birth control and now anti-biotics. We cannot impede a process that God has created. No impeding, no impeding! ...God created syphilis to infect sexually immoral people, and cause them suffering and eventual death. In no way should a man-made antibiotic interfere with this God-given process. Also, the fear of syphilis is a natural encouragement toward marital fidelity, which could not otherwise hold its own in a free market."
CHRISTOPHER DURANG IN FREE INQUIRY, SPRING 1996
"Speaking of degrees of ferocity not yet attained by man...Husband eating is an accepted custom with female spiders, and among the Scorpions, it is quite fashionable for the mother to devour the father and then, in her turn, to be eaten by her `kiddies.' When male members of the larger cat families - that is, mountain lions - waylay and eat their own children, this is not truly an evidence of ferocity. It is an indirect crime of passion; the result of an impatient tenderness for the lioness who has become too exclusively tied up with the demands of motherhood...
"Of course, there is probably as little conscious cruelty in the lion that devours a missionary as there is in the kind-hearted old gentleman who dines upon a chicken pie, or in the staphylococcus that is raising a boil on the old gentleman's neck. Broadly speaking, the lion is parasitic on the missionary, as the old gentleman is on the chicken pie, and the staphylococcus on the old gentleman...
"Nature seems to have intended that her creatures feed upon one another. At any rate, she has so designed her cycles that the only forms of life that are parasitic directly upon Mother Earth herself are a proportion of the vegetable kingdom that dig their roots into the sod for its nitrogenous juices...But these - unless too unpalatable or poisonous - are devoured by the beasts and by man; and the latter, in their turn, by other beasts and bacteria...
"Swords and lances, arrows, machine guns, and even high explosives have had far less power over the fates of nations than the typhus louse, the plague flea, and the yellow fever mosquito. Civilizations have retreated from the plasmodium of malaria, and armies have crumbled into rabbles under the onslaught of cholera spirilla, or of dysentery and typhoid bacilli. Huge areas have been devastated by the trypanosome that travels on the wings of the tsetse fly, and generations have been harassed by the syphilis of a courtier..."
HANS ZINSSER, RATS, LICE AND HISTORY
NATALIE ANGIER, "PARASITES AND SEX" IN THE BEAUTY OF THE BEASTLY
JONATHAN SWIFT, "ON POETRY" (1733)
NATALIE ANGIER, "PARASITES AND SEX" IN THE BEAUTY OF THE BEASTLY
"Also up until the 1800s parasites were an accepted part of life. Almost everyone had fleas and lice. In the 1600s it was considered bad manners to take lice, fleas or other vermin from your body and crack them between your fingernails in company...
"Lack of washing led to infestations of parasites such as fleas and lice, which in turn contributed to the spread of disease, particularly plagues. These were often carried by the fleas living on the rats which flourished in the garbage-filled streets."
TIM WOODS & IAN DICKS, WHAT THEY DON'T TEACH YOU ABOUT HISTORY: HUNDREDS OF PECULIAR AND FASCINATING FACTS
A WRITER IN THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, 1746
"I certainly don't envy Noah, his wife, and his three sons and daughters-in-law, having to put up with such annoying and deadly passengers on and in their own bodies, like fleas, lice, ticks, bedbugs, hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, liver flukes, filarial worms (that cause elephantiasis), trypanosomes (that cause sleeping sickness, and, Chagas' disease), and other parasitical species peculiar to human beings (or most suited to survive on and in human beings).
"Not to mention that Noah would have had to have taken aboard only those pairs of animals who were infested with parasitical organisms that afflict those animals today. What a boat full of parasites illnesses and diseases!"
E. T. BABINSKI
"Thus, at any rate, arose the parasitic lice, - first, perhaps, the biting ones, the Mallophaga: the chicken louse, the goose louse, the slender duck louse, the pigeon louse, the turkey louse, the biting guinea-pig louse, the horse louse, to mention only a few [species, which live on] a diet of feathers, fur, and dandruff.
"[Another type of parasitic louse, not content with such a dry, bare diet, arose from the first type, or evolved separately, to take up residence] on thin-skinned, warm-blooded animals. These lice discovered by an incomprehensible cleverness (or perhaps by an accidental scratch and an occurrence not unlike the discovery of roast pig by the Chinese) that under their feet ran an infinite supply of rich red food. They developed boring and sucking structures, and thus arose: the hog louse, the dog louse, the rat louse, the foot louse of the sheep, the cat louse, the short-nosed ox louse, the monkey louse, and the head, body and crab lice of man.
"Interestingly, the similarity between the various monkey lice and those of man is so close that they can interchangeably feed on one or the other host without harm. We have ourselves fed two hundred Arabian head lice on an East Indian monkey for weeks at a time, with relatively low mortality. Such interchange of hosts is not usually possible. A louse fed on a foreign host, in most cases, suffers a probably painful and fatal ingestion...
"The lice that infest each species of monkey in South and Central America, so far as known, fall into distinct species according to the hosts they infest, thus indicating to a certain degree a parallel evolutionary descent for both the host and the parasites that evolved with them and upon them [emphasis added - ED.]."
HANS ZINSSER, RATS, LICE AND HISTORY
MICHAEL ANDREWS, THE LIFE THAT LIVES ON MAN
"The red spotted newt carries a parasite related to the agent of deadly African sleeping sickness in humans...However, at the time when the newt harboring a more virulent strain of the parasite might transmit it, the animals are spending months roaming alone through the woods, rather than congregating in ponds. Those newts carrying a malevolent parasite die off during their migrations, leaving only the newts with a mild strain of the parasite that return to the pond to mate...
"Birds that fly each year from North to South America may be avoiding more than bad weather. During the nine months down south, the animals do not breed and are not particularly close to one another, limiting the chance for [tropical] pests to feather-hop...
"When a female barn swallow has an adulterous encounter she invariably copulates with a male having a slightly longer and more symmetrical tail than that of her mate; the more sumptuous tail appears to be evidence that the male is resistant to parasites, a characteristic of broad appeal to the female. Not only may she help her young to gain the resistant trait, but, by avoiding infested partners, she limits her own exposure to bloodsucking parasites."
NATALIE ANGIER, "PARASITES AND SEX" IN THE BEAUTY OF THE BEASTLY
FRED WOODWORTH, "THERE IS NO GOD" (PRIVATELY PRINTED TRACT)
"Nature rewards behaviors (genes) that impede or destroy rivals. In other words, Nature isn't nice...
"[On the other hand] It is not a profitable scheme to kill everything. Killers don't thrive. Adapters do."
JOEL ACHENBACH IN THE "INTRODUCTION" AND FIRST CHAPTER, "BUGS," OF HIS BOOK, WHY THINGS ARE: ANSWERS TO EVERY ESSENTIAL QUESTION IN LIFE
"Moreover, each evolutionary change tends to bring with it new forms of pain and suffering that had not existed before...
"For example, sexuality is not absolutely superior to asexuality, and the evolution of the former has brought with it many forms of conflict and suffering that do not exist in organisms that reproduce without sex...
"Sociality is not absolutely superior to solitary life, and its evolution has created new forms of competition and conflict that are less frequent, or even unknown among asocial animals...
"Bipedalism [walking on two legs] is by no means absolutely superior to quadrupedalism [walking on four], and the evolution of a two-legged gait in Homo sapiens has brought with it countless adverse side effects...
"Intelligence and behavioral flexibility are by no means absolutely superior to instinctive behavior, and their evolution had brought with it many forms of [intellectual angst and] emotional pain that are virtually unknown in the nonhuman world...
"No animal has undergone more major changes during the course of its evolution than Homo Sapiens, and no animal has inherited a greater capacity for pain and suffering. With every evolutionary change we have sustained, we have discovered new ways to protect our genes and new ways to suffer for their benefit. With every passing generation, the aggregate price paid for their preservation has become dearer and dearer. And our genes - unlike us - remain blissfully ignorant of the staggering mass of suffering that has been endured for the sake of their perpetuation."
TIMOTHY ANDERS IN "THE ROOTS OF EVIL," A SUB-SECTION IN THE EVOLUTION OF EVIL: AN INQUIRY INTO THE ULTIMATE ORIGINS OF HUMAN SUFFERING
THOMAS WOLFE, OF TIME AND THE RIVER [DESCRIBING A LAMPREY?]
"Certain organic systems are marvels of engineering; others are little more than contraptions. When the eggs that cuckoos lay in the nests of other birds hatch, the cuckoo chick proceeds to push the eggs of its foster parents out of the nest. The queens of a particular species of parasitic ant have only one remarkable adaptation, a serrated appendage which they use to saw off the head of the host queen.
"Whatever the God of natural history may be like, He is not the Protestant God of waste not, want not. He is also not a loving God who cares about His productions. He is not even the awful God portrayed in the Book of Job. The God of the Galapagos is careless, wasteful, indifferent, almost diabolical. He is certainly not the sort of God to whom anyone would be inclined to pray."
DAVID L. HULL, "THE GOD OF THE GALAPAGOS," REVIEW OF PHILLIP JOHNSON'S BOOK, DARWIN ON TRIAL IN NATURE, VOL. 352, AUG.8, 1991, PP. 485-86
DAVID QUAMMEN, "NASTY HABITS: AN AFRICAN BEDBUG BUGGERS THE PROOF-BY-DESIGN" IN THE FLIGHT OF THE IGUANA
DEPECHE MODE, THEIR SONG, "BLASPHEMOUS RUMORS"
"It was the amount, rather than the fact, of evil in the world that made Darwin reject God: `There seems to me too much misery in the world...' both human and nonhuman...(to what purpose all this suffering?)...
"Rachels has done the best job I have seen of drawing Darwinian evolutionary principles to their ultimate moral conclusions. The results are objectionable to the Christian, but not as horrible as we might have feared. It does not lead, as some preachers warn, to totalitarianism and a complete devaluing of human life. Rachels' excellent book gives intelligent readers a chance to sharpen their minds and examine their beliefs."
STANLEY RICE [A YOUNG-EARTH CREATIONIST WITH A MORE CRITICAL AND INQUISITIVE MIND THAN MANY OF HIS BRETHREN, PROVING THAT NOT ALL CREATIONISTS ARE CREATED ALIKE, SOME KEEP EVOLVING!] IN HIS REVIEW OF JAMES RACHELS' BOOK, CREATED FROM ANIMALS: THE MORAL IMPLICATIONS OF DARWINISM, PUBLISHED IN PERSPECTIVES ON SCIENCE AND CHRISTIAN FAITH, VOL. 46, NO. 3, SEPT. 1994
GRANT SMITH, LETTER IN THE MORNING ADVOCATE, BATON ROUGE, LA., TUES., MARCH 25, 1986
"Briefly, let me say that this is indeed a problem, but at least it is no new problem! Isn't it exactly the same challenge to faith when you look at the chaos of the world around you every day? If you say you believe God's in control, you have a lot of explaining to do! And yet we have come to feel we can live with that bafflement. The red randomness of evolution is simply more of the same. Get used to it."
REV. ROBERT M. PRICE IN HIS SERMON, "MAN: APEX OR EX-APE?" [DR. PRICE IS ALSO THE AUTHOR OF BEYOND BORN AGAIN, WHICH IS AVAILABLE ON THE SKEPTIC'S WEB]
"At least evolution `utilizes' the pain suffering and extinction of countless generations of creatures which are not `separately created,' but interrelated. So, no animal or plant is specially created just for extinction, but so that it may play a part in the ever branching struggle to change and occupy new niches and continue the survival of life in general.
"Thus, evolution exhibits more of a purpose than the world of the `Design theorists' because evolution `makes the best it can' out of seemingly purposeless pain, death, extinction and competition - even if evolution's `best' is just `jury-rigged design' in a world of survivors who temporarily beat death more frequently than some of their cousins.
"And I might add, isn't the purpose of religion similar to the purpose of evolution? Both propose to `make some purposeful sense' out of the seemingly purposeless pain death and competition in the world around us."
E. T. BABINSKI
"He will also hear their cry and will save them." [But if He "saves" them from being eaten by some creature, then He's starving that other creature. - ED.]
The psalmists' god certainly doesn't `hear the cries' of any of the baby birds that the baby cuckoo tosses out of their nest so that only the cuckoo chick remains in the nest and is fed by the other bird's parents. Nor does such a god `hear the cries' of the baby birds that I saw on the "Hunting and Escaping" video (in the Trials of Life series) which were dragged from their nests by sea birds of a rival predatory species in order to feed the predator's own hungry chicks. Nor does such a god `hear the cry' of baby birds tossed out of the nest by their own parents (because they aren't developing properly or swiftly enough). Or who fall out of their nest simply because the nest itself was poorly constructed. (After we'd found a small baby dove running on the ground outside our house [not the same animal as the starving adult bird, mentioned above] the Wildlife Rescue people informed me that the nests of doves are constructed more poorly than the nests of most other birds, hence, their chicks are liable to fall out of them more often.)"
E. T. BABINSKI
TIMOTHY ANDERS, THE EVOLUTION OF EVIL: AN INQUIRY INTO THE ULTIMATE ORIGINS OF HUMAN SUFFERING
"Another has its head bent permanently to the left (and yet another has its head bent permanently to the right), an adaptation that enables them to scrape, with their teeth, a meal of scales off the side of a passing fish's body...
"Another eats only the eyes of other cichlids...
"Another exclusively sucks baby cichlids out of the protective mouths of their parents."
NATALIE ANGIER, "PLENTY OF FISH IN THE SEA" IN THE BEAUTY OF THE BEASTLY
"At the same time I am appalled and overwhelmed by the suffering and death that is a part of life. When I think that at this moment a million creatures are being killed, at this moment. And now that the moment has passed, another million creatures are being killed, all the way down to the tiniest ameba, all the way up to a jungle cat leaping onto a gazelle, or a slaughterhouse a mile and a half from here, where, in order to keep the city of Toronto going we kill something like fifty thousand cattle every night. Fifty thousand die every night, so that this city might live.
"The entire world is built on death. Nothing can live unless something dies. [Editor's note: That `something' includes either a plant being chewed up and digested, or an animal. Thus every animal except carrion eaters must kill some other living thing in order to continue it's own life. Even carrion eaters live on the remains of animals usually killed by some other animal or disease organism. And speaking of plants, some kill other plants, while a few even eat animals in order to live. Even animals that live solely on plants engage in competition for mates, food, and territory. Sometimes the competition is just an innocuous ritual. But in some species the competition is brutal and fierce, males injuring other males, and sometimes mortally wounding them. Brutal herbivores? You bet.] And most of the deaths in nature are full of pain. If you look at animals, most of them aren't dead when they're eaten. Big fish eat little fish, and on and on.
"And, you can not look at the tragedies caused by earthquakes in Armenia, Mexico, the Philippines, without being similarly appalled and overwhelmed. Man has nothing to do with that. Man can not control earthquakes. Man can not control typhoons that sweep across poor people's countries. Man can not control the fact of northern Africa, where the weather changes, the ground dries up and these people just all starve to death, not to speak of the malnutrition and illnesses that follow.
"And the horror of it all is, people say, `Why don't they go somewhere else?' They can't. They have no money, no means of transportation, and nowhere to go. They're doomed from the moment they were born by where they were born, just as people are doomed in places of the world by their color; or the fact that they were born syphilitic because their mother was sold into prostitution when she was ten years old.
"You cannot look at this world and then say, whoever started it, he being omniscient, and knowing the future and the past and the present as one, would know all of this anger and hatred and murder and killing and death, and beauty and majesty and wonder, all of it is going to happen - to believe that he could be described by the word, `Father,' is just impossible. I couldn't treat my children the way he's treated his."
CHARLES TEMPLETON (IN A PHONE CONVERSATION, SHARING SOME IDEAS HE WAS PLANNING TO INCLUDE IN A BOOK THAT I HAVE NOT YET SEEN PUBLISHED. MR TEMPLETON'S LENGTHY AND DIVERSE CAREER HAS INCLUDED BEING A WELL KNOWN NORTH AMERICAN EVANGELIST WHO PREACHED TO STADIUMS PACKED WITH THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE, AND HOST OF HIS OWN RELIGIOUS TELEVISION PROGRAM IN AMERICA IN THE 1950s)
"Hold the phone. This sounds like the he-beats-me-because-he-loves-me line of thought. If the Lord in his infinite wisdom drops a concrete roof on the true believers but spares two hunks of modeling compound, it is time to question the big Fella's priorities. If I have to be made of plaster to command attention in this universe, something is amiss."
JAMES LILEKS, NOTES OF A NERVOUS MAN
"One day she asked me, `Preacher, why did God let Johnny Fred be born the way he is?'
"How could I say to this baffled mother, `God loves you. And this God of love has blessed you with a deformed, mentally deficient son who hobbles down Beulah Avenue selling peanuts while truck drivers frighten him by blasting their horns?'
"I think I would have made some sense if I'd said, `Mrs. Howard, I don't know the answer to your question. Here you are a widow with a deformed son, living in a shack behind a gas station, supporting yourself and Johnny Fred on parched peanuts. Frankly, Mrs. Howard, I think you're eating chicken s---.' ("Eating chicken s---" is a Southern expression that means a person was experiencing undeserved and irrational troubles.)...
"Repeatedly I met people who were hurting, experiencing a flood of irrational sorrow...As Tylertown's preacher I confronted a prevalence of pain among my people. My `coherence problem' has never gone away. I've never escaped from the shadowy side of life. I've seen children wasting away from leukemia. I've watched living bodies rot from lupus and cancer and cystic fibrosis. I've been with parents moments after a child has been killed by lightning. [Or, moments after a son or daughter has told their stunned fundamentalist Christian parents, "I'm gay!" - ED.] I've encountered people locked into deformed bodies, bodies twisted from birth - going through life in wheelchairs...And I've seen people existing into a senile and pointless old age, nature's final insult...Most of this human suffering - it seemed to me - was undeserved and served no purpose...
"Sooner or later every person with eyes to see and ears to hear stumbles into what theologians call `the problem of evil.' If God is a heavenly father who loves his children, why does he give some of them chicken s--- to eat, sending them leukemia and twisted bodies and broken hearts and minds? Did not Jesus teach, `What man of you, if his son asks him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him?'...
"In the presence of such undeserved suffering I saw the point of Robert Frost's couplet:
Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee,
And I'll forget Thy great big one on me.
"Why are some people brought into this world to hobble down Beulah Avenue in grotesquely-twisted bodies and to devote their life's energy to peddling peanuts? Christian thinkers tend to avoid questions like that. They leave the sad dimension of life to the Buddhas and Schopenhauers and Clarence Darrows and Mark Twains. But the tragic dimension of life will not go away. It causes us from a human viewpoint - the only viewpoint us humans have - to question the nature of God. So I was able, at least, to understand why a Tylertown Baptist said to me, `Preacher, the greatest fear I have is when I die and pass over to the other side I'll discover God is the bastard I've sometimes feared him to be.'"
CLAYTON SULLIVAN, "FALLEN SPARROWS" IN CALLED TO PREACH, CONDEMNED TO SURVIVE: THE EDUCATION OF CLAYTON SULLIVAN (MERCER UNIV. PRESS, 1985)
A. N. WILSON AS QUOTED BY ROSEMARY HARTILL IN HER BOOK, WRITER'S REVEALED: EIGHT CONTEMPORARY NOVELISTS TALK ABOUT FAITH, RELIGION AND GOD
JEANNE & WILLIAM STEIG, THE OLD TESTAMENT MADE EASY
And leave it in nature and the Bible, where it belongs!"
E. T. BABINSKI
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