I would certainly describe myself as an occasional victim of enlightenment mentality. Frank's words are probably more true than anything I have been able to offer, but at the same time, I am not sure I find them adequate in dealing with the issues. Perhaps that is my problem.
I am concerned that much of the theodicy arising from the tsunami is not
really Christian at all. Most conventional theodicies are essentially Stoic
meditations on how best to preserve equanimity in the face of death in
association with belief in Benevolence. Christ did not offer generalised
justifications when faced with tragedy. It is worth comparing His attitude to
that recorded of Buddha. A mother asked him to raise her dead child, so he
replied that he would if she brought him a cup of water from a house where no
child had died. The rest follows as might be expected. This story could
just as easily be told of any Greek or Roman sage. Its essential message is
"People die, lady. Deal with it."
Such a response from Jesus is unimaginable and that is precisely why
pagans like Celsus despised Jesus. Pagans quoted the verse "Jesus wept" from
John`s gospel as proof positive that Christianity was fit only for women and
slaves. And "Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted" inverts
the entire Stoic and Epicurean value systems. The tsunami raises no issues
that an individual death does not raise and when faced with individual death
Jesus never spoke or acted as a sage, but always as one who saw death as an
ourage deserving compassion not Stoic apathy.
Jesus did not deal in theodicies. They are an invention of the revived paganism of the Enlightenment and have no place in traditional theology. Our answer as Christians to tsunamis, as to our own deaths as individuals, is and can only ever be resurrection. Christ offered no other and who are we to improve on Him?
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Correspondent Frank Roberts has these interesting comments to make on the discission about God and natural evil:
Posted by James at 6:25 pm