Non-believer Heather MacDonald makes her case:
I take it that believers do not ascribe such inconsistent results to capriciousness on God’s part, but rather to their own limited capacities to understand God’s ways: “Thy Will be done.” But why continue directing any psychic energy to a being so lacking in sympathetic correspondence to human needs and values. It will not do to say: “God does respond to our prayers, but in ways that we cannot fathom.” Saving a child from cancer and letting a child die from cancer cannot both be a sympathetic response to prayer; if we had wanted a stricken child to die in order to secure an earlier entry to heaven, we would have said so. And if premature death from cancer is such a boon, why doesn’t a loving God provide it to one and all?
It is humans who work with passion and commitment every day to try to save their fellows (and a range of other creatures) from suffering and sorrow. Emergency room medicine is constantly evolving to try to ensure that gun shot victims and people crushed by cars survive. Doctors and hospital staff work frantically throughout the night to try to revive a failing heart or a shattered brain. They do so out of love and compassion, while God, who could restart an exhausted heart in an instant, demurs. The only source of love on earth is human empathy. Transferring our own admirable traits onto a constructed deity just obscures the real human condition: we are all we have, but that is saying a lot.
(Photo: Friday Prayers in Tehran by Atta Kenare/Getty.)