Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Where Was Sarah Palin's God In Haiti?

To Sarah Palin and millions of other evangelical's their God is a loving caring and deeply personal God. For them, and any rational thinker, the age old question of human suffering in an imperfect world must, now that the initial shock of the devastation and death in Haiti has passed, raise its head again.

It is an inescapable question and one with validity for atheists to ask and "God moves in mysterious ways" will simply not cut it.

It is not a difficult question to address I believe and it can be addressed in two stages. Firstly, the natural world as we find it. Coming from the position that there is a God I believe we are uniquely privileged to live in a time where cosmology has unravelled many of the secrets of creation to the point where evolutionary creation can be addressed with scientific rationality.

Thus we can say that our planet was formed over billions of years and that process included, and includes, earthquakes via tectonic plates, volcanic activity, tsunami's and other "destructive" forces (destructive at times to human inhabitants but creative in planetary mechanics at times. Why a creator would "choose" to have such a method of planet making rather than, if evolution was the required mechanism, not have continents form into immovable masses, is indeed a mystery which will only be solved when we discern God's purpose and plan.

Be that as it may we live in what is to us an "imperfect" physical world subject to destructive forces at any time. That being the case we have the second aspect of God's plan-our free will. Since we know that certain areas are subject to e.g. earthquakes we can choose, via good government, and economic support of our neighbour's, (wherever we find them) to ensure that to the highest degree possible their buildings are earthquake proof.

There is no doubt whatsoever that if the same magnitude earthquake had happened in New Zealand, which is similarly earthquake prone as is Haiti, the loss of life and physical destruction would have been tiny in comparison. This is because of course New Zealand is immeasurably wealthier and has good honest governance which has ensured a building code standard for earthquake absorption and honest builders who use proper material in construction.

We as humans have the free will to, if we so chose, ensure that the same building strictures and honesty of construction happened in Haiti. It is a matter of Christian (or Jewish or Muslim) moral imperative, love of humanity and will-there is no reason whatsoever that this could not happen.

No reason whatsoever because as Peter Singer advises (in describing our "moral duty to save lives' ) "If those earning more than $100,000 gave 5% of their income, those above $150,000 10% of each additional dollar and so on up the tax scales and those earning more than $10 million gave a third of every extra dollar they world provide $1.5 trillion dollars every year for aid".

Added to that what the world spends on war and armaments in a month then every earthquake prone place in the world could be made as safe as possible with the concomitant lift in living standards. Will this change in attitude, this recognition of the quality of free will and human brotherhood come about with the existing political structure? Not a chance. The only way forward to a caring, sharing, world based on Judeo-Christian ethics-based on the “Golden rule" would be to have a new political order which was served by people, and especially a President, who shared those beliefs.I believe that person is Sarah Palin.

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