Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Comforts of God-Talk


It is not mysterious why we would want to hold the death of our child or our fatal illness as part of some god’s plan. Why rob us of that comfort? Because god-talk is a scourge and, if we want to extinguish it, we must rail against wherever it is used, including by grieving people facing dreadful circumstances. It will not help civilization survive to strive to eliminate god-talk everywhere but tacitly support it in foxholes, hospital wards, and cemeteries. It is warm comfort to believe in gods and cold comfort to take pride in eliminating god-talk even when you desperately want to believe that some dreadful thing has a silver lining. But the coldness of that comfort notwithstanding, for civilization’s sake we face brutal reality with our eyes wide open.

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