As I mentioned in my previous post, I am happy that atheist propagandist (and #2 biblioblogger) John W. Loftus has linked to my post about Haiti, and has in fact quoted a large chunk of it. I am pleased that, in his own comment, he endorses the Avaaz.org appeal which I also endorsed, for the relief of Haiti’s debts.
But I get the impression from what John writes that I would be damned by him just because I am a Christian, whatever I might choose to say about Haiti. In my post I explicitly denied any intention of explaining why God allowed the earthquake to happen:
That is not an attempt to answer the question of why God allowed this natural disaster.
That is the only place in the post where I even mention God. John quoted these words, but then immediately wrote:
Yet, Christians still try to open any window to show their God is not to be blamed for anything.
Well, some Christians may do this, but I quite explicitly denied making any attempt in this post to show anything of the sort. I can’t help thinking that John would have taken anything I wrote about Haiti as an attempt “to show [my] God is not to be blamed for anything”?
But perhaps I should blame not John but Christian blogger (and #5 biblioblogger) Glenn Peoples for this misunderstanding. In a comment which John quotes Glenn describes my post as
a better representation of a Christian response to Pat Robertson’s unChristian comments.
Well, thanks, Glenn, but it was not really intended to be a Christian response. Apart from that one sentence mentioning God, I wrote nothing in the post which couldn’t have been written by an atheist. Indeed I challenged John to find anything in the post that he actually disagreed with.
In fact, here is my entire comment on John’s post, to which I have now been awaiting any reply for nine hours:
Thanks for the link to my post at Gentle Wisdom. But I can’t help thinking that I would be damned for anything I wrote about Haiti (and you happened to read), just because I am a Christian. After all, I didn’t mention God in this post except to say “That is not an attempt to answer the question of why God allowed this natural disaster.” Is there actually anything in this post that you disagree with?
But in answer to some of your questions, yes, God could have for example spoken to King Charles X (or for that matter to today’s bankers) and asked him to forgive Haiti’s debts. Very likely he did speak to him. But the king, as a selfish and sinful man (like all of us), didn’t do what God asked him, or would have asked him. God could have forced him to do it, but only by turning people into robots.
And he did show the Haitians that their country was an earthquake zone, through devastating earthquakes in the 18th century. But they went ahead and built unstable buildings there anyway.
How about this argument: Suppose you have a teenage child who goes out, with your permission, and commits some minor offence. Are you to blame? Well, you could have locked the young person up at home 24 hours a day, so yes, by the standards you apply to God, that anything you could have stopped is your fault, you are to blame. But is that responsible parenting? No, it is child abuse. Similarly God could lock us up 24 hours a day so we are unable to sin, but that would be to abuse us, not to be a responsible and loving Father.
If atheists like John Loftus and Richard Dawkins want their arguments to be taken seriously, they need to make an effort to understand and interact with what thoughtful Christians write, rather than offering only ad hominem responses to them and directing their only attempts at proper argumentation at extremists and straw men.