As long as people will be careful not to take him out of context, I find the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams response in the Telegraph to be a compassionate and cautious one. I’m glad this whole week through the Tsunami Aid Day preparations and personal reading-reflection-prayer I link arms with others involved in “passionate engagement with the lives that are left”
The Asian tsunami disaster should make all Christians question the existence of God, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, writes in The Telegraph today.
In a deeply personal and candid article, he says “it would be wrong” if faith were not “upset” by the catastrophe which has already claimed more than 150,000 lives.
Prayer, he admits, provides no “magical solutions” and most of the stock Christian answers to human suffering do not “go very far in helping us, one week on, with the intolerable grief and devastation in front of us”.
Dr Williams, who, as head of the Church of England, represents 70 million Anglicans around the world, writes: “Every single random, accidental death is something that should upset a faith bound up in comfort and ready answers. Faced with the paralysing magnitude of a disaster like this, we naturally feel more deeply outraged – and also more deeply helpless.”
He adds: “The question, ‘How can you believe in a God who permits suffering on this scale?’ is therefore very much around at the moment, and it would be surprising if it weren’t – indeed it would be wrong if it weren’t.”
Dr Williams concludes that, faced with such a terrible challenge to their faith, Christians must focus on “passionate engagement with the lives that are left”.