I always thought Christians would
have to accept Leibniz’s dictum that
this is the best of all possible worlds.
Otherwise, believers would be saying
their omnipotent God could
have created a better world,
if he had wanted, but here we are,
trapped in this heap of chaos
and pain, but it is no easier
for atheists. After millions of years
of adaptation, we have nothing
better to show for ourselves
than greed, war, and vanity.
We’ve had all this time to improve,
and I still can’t find the glasses
that are resting on my head.
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It was supposed to be ironic
to say bad things will happen.
You were thinking of things like
an unauthorised charge on the credit card
or a stock broker dating your daughter.
You felt so secure that you could laugh
at the anxiety and insecurity of your peers.
Hey, we all have problems, you’d chuckle,
But it all works out in the end.
You’d accumulated both assets and insurance,
and you planned carefully for an uncertain future.
You had lectured others on the importance of savings,
healthful living, and sound investments.
But the history of the world is nothing
if not a lengthy narrative of people
experiencing the unimaginable
unaided by immaculate preparation or
salvation from a merciful God.
Sinners suddenly remember
holds them over the pit of Hell as
one might hold a spider over a fire.*
As they emerge from the ashes,
anxiety cripples them until,
slowly, they become steadily
more complacent, even arrogant,
until vengeance meets them again.
*Thanks to Jonathan Edwards.
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If only life had come into being
On different terms, according to a different template.
If pain weren’t the primary motivating factor
For keeping life propelling itself forward,
If the best of all possible worlds weren’t
A universe where all life is suffering,
If life required no development,
No yearning for higher goals,
If life were complete, as it is,
With nothing but simple satisfaction
To guide it to its inevitable conclusion,
If only the ultimate spirit,
The source of all energy,
Had held back just a little,
Then I wouldn’t be staring into your eyes
Wondering why you still tolerate my gaze.
Some see God where
Others see only
Pain and suffering.
I read in the news
About a lady whose home
Was destroyed by a tornado,
Except for a closet
She happened to be hiding in.
She called it her prayer closet
And praised the Lord
For sparing it.
She said, “My God is
Awesome! Shout somebody!”
I guess if I believed
My God just destroyed
Everything I owned except
For a prayer closet, I might
Wonder why God had forsaken me,
But we don’t all see things
The same way, do we?