Friday, 15 January 2010

To light a candle

Giles Fraser, this morning, spoke movingly some of the theological issues raised by the earthquake in Haiti.

Fraser's contribution to the Radio 4 "Thought for the Day" slot, focused on Liebniz and Theodicy, the attempt to argue that God exists in the face of the greatest argument against the notion of a compassionate deity ; human suffering.

Fraser spoke of Voltaire's "Candide", a satirical novel in which the overly optimistic Dr Pangloss is only too ready to argue God's case. The aim of such theologians, argued Voltaire, is to let God off the hook in the face of human suffering. Theodicy is a disgrace.

Challenging stuff - and not an argument which can be glibly answered. Fraser admitted, as anyone with any sense, humanity or honesty will, that he does not have rational "answers" and spoke instead of a place within him which is "deeper than his rational self" and offered faith itself as a way of living with life's hardest questions.

In the face of such suffering, it is a time to pray, to offer financial aid to those who will endeavour to alleviate the suffering and, as Fraser says,

It is a time quietly to light a candle for the people of Haiti and offer them up to God in my prayers.
May the souls of the departed rest in peace.

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