I apologize for the huge gap between posts of late. I'm a very reactive person. When I'm in an environment conducive to atheological reasoning (such as at my last job, where I'd openly talk about it with co-workers, and I'd spend most of my time driving around and listening to books or podcasts on the subject), I have a lot of inspiration to write. Subjects come up and I want to address them. New job doesn't really have that same environment. I can't listen to books or podcasts because the job requires me to focus mentally, so they'd just be background noise. I do like the new job, but it's definitely making my "free-time writing" suffer.
That said, I've had a few experiences worth noting. Foremost in my memory are the instances of selective praise. We've all heard it before, and it feels weak to discuss it again, but it's so common I think it's worth touching on.
A horrific scenario occurred in the family of one of my colleagues in another office. Her 4-year-old daughter developed a malignant brain tumor. I became aware of this when I received the company-wide email from her, explaining the story so far. Her daughter was to go in for surgery on the next day. She asked for our prayers.
Setting aside the fact that prayer can cause harm in such a situation, I didn't think much of it. A religious person is speaking religiously, hardly news.
What irritated me was a few days later, after the surgery, when she announced its smashing success. I was glad to hear her daughter was going to be alright, but rather confused that she gave all the credit for the effective surgery to God and prayer, and none to the doctors who were actually there, doing the work. Those doctors who spent their lives training so they might help people in just such a way - yeah, those guys.
It raised the obvious question - why did God feel it appropriate to give a brain tumor to a 4-year-old in the first place? Why, after the surgery, did he allow malignant, microscopic cells to remain? Why did he allow her to faint and smack her head on the sink faucet, prompting another trip to the hospital? Where's the gain in all this? Is it so the company can come together as a community, hoping the little girl gets better? Isn't that just sick? By that very reasoning, a kidnapper is committing a morally laudable act by providing a community with the hope that its children will be returned safely.
We're right back to the problem of evil and the question of motivation I addressed in my last post. Causing pain to get a reaction isn't accepted by society (except for the Bush administration, apparently), why do we accept it of God? Are we victims of Stockholm Syndrome on a cosmic scale? Why do we cling so strongly to the idea of a Creator that we will make excuses for the evil he created? For being guided by a benevolent being with a plan, the world certainly appears awfully chaotic and unfair.
The girl is still in poor shape. They're asking for more prayers. I hope they're not telling her about them, I imagine she's frightened enough without knowing that dozens of people think only a miracle will save her.