Hope Springs Eternal
It never ceases to amaze me, and even more so in these times of Covid-19, that people ask "How can you believe in a God that allows suffering like this to happen Wayne”.
It tells me that there obviously must be a huge disparity between what I believe as a Christian, and what people think I believe, for people to ask me about suffering as though its something that I might not have thought of.
Bear in mind that Christianity has grown and flourished in a world that is mostly made up of suffering. Statistics will tell you that if you have experienced peace, safety, relative prosperity, a decent level of health and well-being then you are in the overwhelming minority of human being who have ever lived.
My own faith was born of logic and reason but it was personal suffering that fanned the flames of desire for truth that lead me, kicking, screaming and annoyed as all hell, to the central figure of human history.
Now I have very little truck with much of what passes for Christianity.
I have a lot of sympathy for those who, looking from the outside, proclaim it to be an obnoxious hypocritical religious organisation that has now been rendered irrelevant and outdated. My answer has always been and still remains “Well that’s because you're looking from the outside, but I look at it from the inside and it's far far worse than that”.
You don’t need to look very far to see the vast wealth that has been accumulated by some of these religious monstrosities, that could, quite frankly, save millions of people from dying of sickness and disease, and wonder how it can be reconciled with Christ’s simple commandment “Love your neighbour as yourself” and his simple instruction “Don’t store up treasures on earth”.
And if you don’t like religious people, well you’re in good company because Christ didn’t like them very much either and it always pays to remember that it was the religious nutjobs that had him killed, not the everyday folk.
So, of course, Christianity is a shambles, it’s a manmade organisation that is made up of people like me and I love what Stephen Fry (my second favourite Atheist) said: “I wonder, if the sayings attributed to him are true, what that humble Jewish carpenter would make of all that’s been done in his name?”
But when you cut away all the religious bullshit (and there is a lot of it), the Christian faith doesn’t gloss over or try to explain away the problem of suffering, it places suffering at its very core, as the story of Easter is ultimately one of an innocent man suffering unjustly.
For Christ had the living shit beaten out of him, was stretched out on a plank of timber with nails driven through his wrists and then left to die in agony. The words “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” might just be the truest words ever coined about him.
And I guess if that was where the story ended it wouldn’t offer much in the way of hope. But it doesn’t end there and this is where I reluctantly part company with Stephen Fry.
Because Stephen would answer his above question with “It would make him turn in his grave!”
As for me, I believe hope springs eternal and the darkest hour is often right before the dawn.
I don’t think he’s in a grave!
Each to their own, I guess.