24 January 2010

Deep Sunday Questions

From Francis Clooney of the America Magazine blog:

Cambridge, MA. I have never had great sympathy for Pat Robertson and his evangelical slant on the Gospel and Christian life. In part, it is a matter of cultural differences — I am a Jesuit, in Cambridge, at Harvard, after all — and also a matter of what seems to be a rather different experience of what Christianity and the Gospel mean. For the most part, I share everyone’s disappointment, even offense, at his more controversial statements — about the Holocaust, about assassinating Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and about how 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina were punishments for the sins of Americans — in retribution for homosexuality, abortion, and a host of other sins. As readers know, he was recently in the news again, commenting on the terrible earthquake in Haiti:


I raise all this here, however, because on one level at least he is quite right, in throwing a direct challenge in the face of any of us who call ourselves Christians. Does the world make sense from a Christian perspective, or not? For he is attempting to explain why God allows such catastrophes to take place. God allows: the question — that of theodicy — is the age-old one: if God is all-good and all-powerful, why the hurricane? the earthquake? the slaughter of innocents? History is full of failed answers, of course, and most of us simply step around the issue of why, and express, rightly, our solidarity with victims, the need for action to help those in need, and our speechlessness at the mystery of such evils. We cannot explain why God would allow any place to be hit by such an earthquake, or in particular why Haitians, who have suffered so much for so long, could possibly be singled out by God for such punishment, while the rest of us look on. Mr. Robertson is clearly trying to come up with reasons for why such things take place — to preserve his conviction that the world is in God’s hands, that nothing happens except by divine decree.
Read the post in its entirety here.

1 comment:

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