The Numbers, or Why I Don't Believe On The Days I Don't Believe
Back on Day Seven, I wrote:
My friend Bob once said "I read a poll that shows most Americans believe in God. That just shows how out of mainstream culture I am, because I don't know anyone who does." I sheepishly (and not in the "The Lord Is My Shepard" sense) raised my hand and explained that my belief pretty much depends on what day it is. If there is a God, I think it supersedes our puny earthling attempts to comprehend It, and I don't think It is actively involved in our affairs at all. But that's all for another posting, another day.
Every believer has their moments of doubt. But revelation came for me when I was reading some statistics about the standard of living of people on Earth. There were just some simple numbers but they changed everything for me (some stats I found online are below). The large number of people suffering becomes an abstraction and makes the mind shut down. Despite the luck I've had in this life, despite the weird experiences I've had that make me think that there's something beyond us, I just can't reconcile the concept of a God with the suffering that several hundred million people endure every day. This isn't a situation that started yesterday, but has pretty much been a fact of life on this planet from the start. From the dawn of time, suffering has been the rule, peace has been the exception.
I can remember in school Mr. Kurpis explaining the Judeo-Christian concept of one God as "omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent." "And omni-benevolent" he would add. Okay: all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present and all-good...wait a minute. I just can not accept a supreme being as "all-good" that lets so much of his creation suffer. Not suffer in the way of "I'm so upset - Jimmy didn't ask me to the prom!" or even "what do you mean I've lost everything?" But I mean ongoing torment without respite. Perhaps there is a Prime Cause, and It may know everything, have ultimate control and be everywhere. But I don't think It is too concerned with how human beings feel. More numbers: three out of four isn't bad.
Any being that permits ongoing suffering on such a scale does not deserve worship. People have filled countless books trying to reconcile the contradiction of a good God who permits so much bad. I have a simple explanation and it's only two words.
World Hunger facts (outside the U.S.)
852 million people are hungry
815 million people are undernourished
1.2 billion people live on less than $1/day
153 million children under age 5 are underweight
11 million children under age 5 die every year, over half of hunger-related causes
1 in 6 people is hungry
1 in 4 people lacks safe drinking water
9 million people are undernourished
28 million people are undernourished
Today's reading from the Faithful Words Promise Box:
The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer.
- Psalm 6:9
(It looks like the Promise Box is a little bit of a smart a**)
Appearantly SpellCheck was designed by Republicans. "Undernourished" wasn't recognised. Suggested replacement? "Underemployed."