Sometimes I wish I were staunchly religious

LAST week ended on a really low note, when the news we all didn’t want to hear was confirmed: another messed-up human has done another messed up thing, deciding that it’s his right to end the lives of dozens of innocent people.

It’s only been 12 months since similar headlines dominated the news, with the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370, and then again in July, when flight MH17 was destroyed over the Ukraine.

Now, as then, I’m not thinking much about who caused the plane crash in the French Alps. All I can think about is the people on board.


Did they know what was coming? Were they terrified? God, I pray they were sleeping. Especially the children; I hope they were fast asleep in their mothers’ arms, completely shielded from the horror upon them.

I pray this was the case, but I have to be honest: I don’t actually know who I’m praying to.

Sometimes I wish I were staunchly religious. It would be so comforting to believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is an afterlife and a just God and I truly hope that’s the case. But when religion is responsible for evils like the Magdalene Laundries, condemning some people’s entire human experience to misery, it remains an institution I can’t buy into.

But, I’m hopeful. I hope there will be a time and a place beyond this life, where everyone will experience their just desserts.

That said, I can recall a video released a couple of months back featuring UK comedian Stephen Fry.

An atheist, Fry was asked what he would say if, after shuffling off this planet, he were to be met at the Pearly Gates by the Big Guy upstairs.

“I would say: bone cancer in children? What’s that about?” he starts. “How dare you? How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault?”

Fry goes on to discuss insects whose entire life cycle is based upon them burrowing into a human eye, thereby making the person blind; he argues that God could have “easily made a creation in which they didn’t exist”.

I have to agree – if there is a God, he could have nixed the nasty bugs. But there’s not much he could have done about free will. The pilot of the plane that crashed in the Alps last week exercised his free will, and he selfishly murdered dozens of people in the process.

I don’t know what I believe happens after this life. But I hope that there is a better place waiting for good souls in the afterlife – and I hope that the doomed, innocent people aboard that plane have found their way there. May they rest in peace.

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