Following the remarks of Martin Kettle and John Rudkin reported in this post, reader Jeff Kantor responds as follows:
The theological comments seem to lack something basic. One begins with a world in which terrible things like tsunamis happen. That is the given. If there is no God, one still has that world. The question is whether there is a God who redeems and gives meaning to these things. If you conclude that there is not, you still have nothing but meaningless tsunamis. People railing at God for tsunamis expect an answer to the question "Why?"In the Guardian yesterday, Liz Byrne writes (in response to Richard Dawkins):
We can sympathize with them if we understand their question better than if we reject it as nonsensical. Such rejection diminishes our humanity and theirs as well.
What exactly can science offer or say to the suffering of a parent whose child has been swept out to sea, to thousands who wait for news and to others who watched, powerlessly, as loved ones and strangers drowned in front of them, moments etched cruelly on their minds for ever?Dawkins comes back with all the depth and finesse of a 15-year-old who's just cottoned on to secularism:
Some will find a comfort in prayer that science, for all its undisputed wonders, cannot give. Richard Dawkins tells us to "get up off our knees, [and] stop cringeing before bogeymen and virtual fathers"... An intuition of the transcendent and compassion are part of human evolution too.
It is psychologically possible to derive comfort from sincere belief in a nonexistent illusion, but - silly me - I thought believers might be disillusioned with an omnipotent being who had just drowned 125,000 innocent people (or an omniscient one who failed to warn them).