Updated: 09/12/16 : 06:48:57
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God desires only what is good for us

Mr Conor Ward, Roses point, Sligo  (writing in Letters "Sunday Independent  4/12) avers that God, whomever He/She is, "allows sickness and disease to flourish in our world, according as sin multiplies, but this is the price mankind pays for the gift of genuine free will."

As a boy attending school in Sligo, (to misquote Joyce) "at half past-eight", a nun declared to the class, "It is a sin for anyone other than a priest to read the Bible". To this day, I have taken her at her word.

Ergo, I cannot refute Mr Ward's interpretation of Scripture on theological grounds per se, but as a long time scholar of the Yeats family; James Joyce; AE and other literati whose lives, and work involved spiritual and religious interests, I respectively suggest, the very idea that "sickness and disease" is inversely proportional to the "multiplication of sin", would be beyond the belief of any serious theologian, let alone philosopher. Perhaps, the latter may dismiss Mr Ward's inference as "theological casuistry".

Mr Ward infers that God, who so loves his children, deliberately inflicts pain and suffering on people, because He/She knows they have sinned, ergo all whom suffer cancer and disease, are deserving of such afflictions, and the resulting pain. 

Every human being is endowed with talents for the good of mankind, one of these is healing: thus if God was giving a 'free pass' to sickness and disease, He/She would not have created cures and remedies, nor endowed mankind with the wonderful talent of healing. 

The claim that the Judeo-Christian God is male is another absurdity, which of course has been used for millennia solely to 'control' the female population. It is my considered opinion that "God" is a He/She and that there is a greater element of female, than male, in "God". Why? Because only a female has a bodily organ solely for pleasure.  Now, why would an all male God do that?

Yes, we do have free will, along with moral obligations to each other: obligations that include enlightening and broadening our minds, utilizing our talents for the greater good of mankind. Mother Nature has provided every need for us. In fact, I would aver without an iota of doubt, there is no requirement, or need, for any suffering on this earth. Suffering arises from mans greed, to rejection of nature, allied to a rather tenuous belief that a loving God wants us to suffer, before we are permitted to live in His/Her realm. 

A loving God would wish we live life to the full, for if we cannot live in harmony with nature, and each other, here on earth: how can we expect to live in harmony with God when we metamorphosize into metaphysical beings?

The epitaph on the grave of W B Yeats "Cast a cold eye/ On life, on death," is Yeats's nod to the importance of the higher spiritual life we must attain to, to take our place with the Gods. Death is not a finality, it is a change of existence. The time of change should be peaceful and untainted by totally unnecessary pain and suffering. 

The last words I will leave to the noted (9 Century) Irish philosopher, John Scotus Eriugena, on refuting predestination: "For God, therefore, suffering, sin, and evil do not exist and so cannot be predestined. God only knows what is real." Eriugena also believed "neither sin nor punishment comes from God himself, but only from the sinner. Nor since the universe is one, could there be any place of perpetual punishment. All things proceed from the good and in the good they must end. The only hell is ignorance."

Declan Foley
Berwick, Australia