Rather than attempt to bring mankind up to God's level, many skeptics try to bring God down to man's level, remaking Him in a human image and thus encouraging the false view that God is someone who is supposed to make us happy and prosperous. If we are unhappy and not rich (or not rich enough), we will deny He exists. Prosperity and good health provide their own motives for unbelief, as C.S. Lewis and numerous other thinkers have eloquently written.
When Dr. Williams says prayer provides no "magical solutions" and most of the stock Christian answers to human suffering do not "go very far in helping us, one week on, with the intolerable grief and devastation in front of us," where would he suggest we turn, if not to God?
As with most liberal clerics who question God, more than trust Him, Dr. Williams offers nothing from Scripture for comfort and explanation. It was the same when Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in that Paris car crash. Clergymen were interviewed, but none offered more than empty platitudes. What good are the clergy if this is the best they can do? Why are they drawing salaries paid by parishioners who might properly expect, even demand, more?
Let me, a nontheologian, offer some help to the skeptics. In Job, Chapter 1, Job suffers a catastrophe when God allows Satan to take away his children and worldly goods to test his faith. Job makes two statements that ought to be remembered and repeated in times like these.
The first is, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised." Job also says in response to his skeptical and nagging wife, "Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?"
If you prefer a secular source, consider Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address. Seeking to understand the Civil War catastrophe, Lincoln concluded, "The Almighty has His own purposes."
Those are answers (and questions) that resonate far better than the pap coming from the skeptics and certain theologians who have their degrees, but seem to know less about God and His nature than what causes an undersea earthquake.
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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