Cal  Thomas

PORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland - Throughout the United Kingdom, following the Christmas tsunami that killed at least 150,000 people and changed the lives of their surviving relatives forever, some are asking how a "loving" God, if He exists, could allow such a catastrophe to happen. Another question is, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

The questions are mostly rhetorical, since by asking them, the questioners don't actually expect, or even desire, an answer. They are asked in an accusatory way, as if the questions themselves indict, try and convict as fools those who believe in God.

One counterquestion should be: Why do good things happen to bad people? The Scriptures say, "Only God is good." All humanity is diagnosed as "sinful" and "not righteous." Our desires are "only evil all the time." Look it up.

What about a "good God" allowing bad things? Death is the destination of all living organisms. Some die sooner than others. Shouldn't a "good God" provide a way to escape the grave? He has, but that requires faith, which critics and skeptics lack.

Here's another question for those who ask the other questions: If catastrophe proves there is no God, does charity prove He exists? Individuals in Britain have contributed millions of pounds to the tsunami survivors, more than their government. Most of the world's charities helping in the effort are Christian and American.

Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim nation, yet Muslim nations, including the fabulously wealthy Saudi regime, have given chump change compared to those countries with majority Christian populations. Don't expect Christians, or Americans, to gain points with those who believe America is the "Great Satan."

Human tragedy is bad enough, but listening to some theologians trying to explain it is doubly irritating. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, wrote a Jan. 2 column for The Sunday Telegraph about the tsunami disaster. The front-page headline about the column proclaimed, "Archbishop of Canterbury admits: This makes me doubt the existence of God."

The headline writer misrepresented the archbishop's view, but so convoluted was Dr. Williams' statement about the disaster (as noted by an editorial the next day) it is understandable how the writer of the headline reached his conclusion. Theologians should offer hope and truth. The pagans serve up enough doubt.

Cal Thomas

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Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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