Sunday, August 01, 2010

Please, don’t tell us it was “God’s plan”

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I only half-agree with this:

“I appreciate your sympathy, but don’t tell me it was ‘God’s plan’. That just makes me think you’re both assholes.”
[source: Friendly Atheist]

Whilst it is certainly adding insult to injury (almost literally) for atheists to be told that whatever horrible thing happened was the result of the whim of a supposedly omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent sky-fairy, one must remember that those who express these sentiments generally do so with the best of intentions and with utmost compassion. Most likely, it’s their idea of a way to lessen a victim’s anguish, by telling them that it was out of their control, anyway. The problem is, the only alternative presented is that it was in the hands of a deity who supposedly has the foreknowledge and the power to avoid such tragedies and make things right in a jiffy. In which case we’re only presented with some variant of the Epicurus dilemma relating to suffering. And that is no comfort, I can assure you.

In the end, Christians and other non-atheists, if you wish to comfort a grieving non-believer, the best way isn’t to bring up your God, but simply to be there for them and provide physical and emotional support. It’s the passage of time will heal the wound, not the referral to a deity we believe to be entirely fictional.

(via Friendly Atheist)