…the Archbishop struggles. Why? I can only conclude that (as he has sometimes hinted) his belief in the very existence of a deity can falter. After all, if one starts from an absolute faith that there is a benevolent God, one must simply find ways to explain or discount apparently awkward evidence ”” of which the problem of pain is an obvious example. If, on the other hand, one is unsure about the existence of God, one does not seek to discount troubling evidence against the theory, but approaches it with an open mind.
I suspect that describes Archbishop Welby. If so, we should not reproach him for responding to an act of great wickedness as he did ”” though we might enquire whether it was really a good idea to be Archbishop of Canterbury. But what I must reproach him for is this: Paris is now, close to home, and once Welby’s own home, but why should that make the atrocity any more philosophically troubling than a Lisbon earthquake centuries ago? I feel a righteous anger against people who renounce their faith because their aunt died of cancer. Other people’s aunts die of cancer all the time. ”˜Why us? Why me? Why now?’ should carry no more force than ”˜Why others? Why then?’
The Archbishop’s response was doubtless human, but theologically shallow. Jesus, in His agony (”˜My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?) doubted Himself, not God. Straining his ears on last Saturday’s walk, the Archbishop might have heard a rumble from the sky: ”˜My Canterbury, my Canterbury, why has thou forsaken me?
Read it all from the Spectator.