Sometimes. For better or for Worse. For no specific reason, you just have to try and put down into words on something which will not let you rest. You know you may be risking censure, incredulity, dismissiveness, even mockery. You don’t care though. Whatever it is that drives you to write will not let you rest until the jumble of thoughts are put out there into some attempt at coherence. You don’t even expect to put A Case that will win any sort of approval. You just have to write. Irrespective.
Back about…..several months ago I was going to write one of my ‘Why I Am A Christian’ posts. I was going to take the tack on the universe is filled with wonder and quote all sorts of stats, then tie those up with philosophical lite musings on existence, statements on tolerance and wrap it all up with a conclusion that this how I see it. There were drafts, re-writes and ‘what were you thinking bout when you wrote that!’ interludes (several). As Christmas approached determination beckoned to Get This Done.
And then Events intruded, or maybe challenged, or perhaps just came along in some kind of synchronicity with a Cosmic intention to drive out any complacency or even flippancy masking as ironic humour, because dear reader….that….was…not…going…to…work! Not now. As if it ever should in this world. Nothing like Christmas run-up to bring the arguments / challenges for and against all into sharp relief. I’ll explain.
Local (ie UK) news in December:
Channel Isle- Jersey 8 retired folk killed in an explosion at their small, sedate apartment block.
West Midlands – 4 small boys died when the ice on a frozen lake gave way
Manchester – Woman knocked down and killed when struck by a police car perusing a stolen vehicle.
Christmas Eve – One killed, three injured in a shooting at a pub in Wallesey (Near Liverpool)- A national news event in the UK.
At the night. One killed when their car struck by a vehicle pursued by police- London area. Two died when their car went into the sea at a harbour, near Swansea.
Those are the ones I can recall in the news. I may have missed others. That does not count the accidents, sudden deaths and serious illness diagnosis (I can count three in my personal circle). OK, maybe it is possible to be compassionate and fatalistic and philosophical in one’s own comfy bubble. But four young lads on ice? How does anyone justify that in the Cosmic Scheme? Dare you use The Folly That Are Humanity’s Errors excuse in that case??? And do not try and tell me that such heart-breaking events are all part of God’s Plan. I am simply not buying into such a Detached or at the other side Complacent view. Not for the sake of the children, their families, friends, neighbours, rescue service crews and so on. Or in those other cases.
I can circumnavigate the issues on Wars, Catastrophic Accidents, Damage to Humanity through Natural Events, even diseases. I can fill pages laying the blame at the door of Humanity itself for most things on the basis that this was a world gifted to us and we have the free-will and it is we who are screwing up. You call that Inflexible?. Dear reader I can, on an internally stormy day bring us all into the cycle of blame, citing politics, economics, social trends to name but a few no problem. Don’t blame God. Don’t say it proves there is no God. Don’t try and shift the blame. Don’t try and wriggle out with the ‘There Is No Free Will’ get out clause. I can chew them all up. And point the finger back at We The People.
But kids falling through ice, when playing? Folk mown down by speeding cars? Exploding residencies? How do those random, tragic, spirit breaking events fit in? My dear wife who was brought up in all sincerity with the notion of a Guardian Angel is now very scathing on the topic. As I said earlier The All Part of God’s Plan gets no room with me, and pity help anyone who tries to even suggest to me such events are judgements; if that were the case there should be a whole lot of folk spontaneously dropping down dead right now.
So, NO. NO I can’t explain, I can’t justify. Probably some might try and suggest, it’s all to do with degrees of scale. Dozens, Hundreds die and it’s just ‘news’. If it’s smaller numbers and children, it hurts. Some will analyse the various Human responses. That’s fair enough on the Human Secular Scale and folk will accept that. However if I try and quote, say Luke 12 6-7….
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Then am I not risking getting a very hollow laugh in response? Indeed there are many theological and honest faith-based answers there. The trouble is, how do you use them when innocent folk die? How do you convince folk that your faith is based on something? And dare you say them to the grieving, in their raw unimaginable anguish?
At this stage in such a post it would be traditional for me either to. (A) Offer up a confession that my faith has evaporated and I can no longer belief (B) Slog on with some convoluted explanation which might relate to folk of faith but no one else (C) Go Cosmic. Link Life with the Rest of the Universe and degrees of scale and lose everyone irrespective of beliefs after the fourth sentence when the readers give out in one big collective….. UH?
OK. So none of the above will have a universal, ‘popular’ appeal. Thus I have to be starkly honest about this issue of God, Faith and Tragedy.
I…Do not…Know. I have no answer for you.
I have my Faith.
You know how that works? You have your ‘Something’, be that Theistic, Atheistic, Spiritual, Political, Social, Cosmological or a mix of all. You have your ‘Family’ be that by Blood, Societal or Friendship (wide labels). You have your…‘Something’. You know there are flaws, you know some of it / them drive you crazy, test your limits and yet you are still drawn back there…. Just because.
So that’s what I have.
Without sentiment though. I’m sure I could quote a biblical quote to cover that, but right now I’m not the one to use such, on ‘paper’. You have to be careful of the Written Word, it does not always convey meaning too well. No, I’m just one person with a set of beliefs I hold to, ones which don’t make me better than someone with another set. I hold to my beliefs.
I just question some of the teachings my fellow believers bring to the debates.
And I have no theistic answers why in the proverbial Scheme of Things little boys playing on one winter’s day drowned in an icy waters.
Maybe there are none.
That’s the problem with Faith. It’s not a comfort blanket.
Your turn. You fill in the blank as you see it.