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The Archbishop of Canterbury has been quoted in the Australian media as having said that the destruction caused by the Dec. 26 tsunami in Asia and Africa must make every Christian question the existence of a loving God. No doubt the media has dropped something from the context, and so I will assume that the good archbishop did, in fact, finally conclude that God is loving, or at least that he does exist.

But even with those assumptions, one would have to question the intelligence of anyone who thinks that any number of deaths anywhere in the world has anything to do with either the existence or the nature of God.

Let's use a less spiritual illustration to give some perspective to the Archbishop's logic:

Someone agrees to let me use their brand new top-of-the-range Rolls Royce for an indefinite period of time. I take possession of the car and drive it around, occasionally putting a scratch here and a dent there, without a great deal of interest in the manufacturer's instructions for maintenance. Then, 20 years down the track, my benefactor asks for the vehicle back.

At this point, a car dealer informs me that I have every right to believe that the one who loaned me the Rolls Royce either does not exist, or at best that he/she is cruel for taking it back... even though I knew from the start that the loan was only temporary.

Do you get the picture? Even an atheist must see the stupidity of blaming or hating the source of life when it comes time for people to die. Death is seldom pleasant, but it is pretty much written into the terms of the contract.

How presumptuous of us to accept life, revel in it, and then blame its Source when the lease expires! Yet this is what the human race does over and over. We generally ignore all of the clues God gives us for how we should live our mortal lives, and then convince ourselves that we have a valid case against God when our mortality comes due.

Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, lightning, even a direct hit from a meteoroid which could destroy the entire population, are just part of the risk that goes with life. What we SHOULD be learning from natural disasters is to think about life outside our human limitations.

If there is no God, then life, death, and all that lies between have little or no meaning. Like so many ants, we just eat, sleep, work, and die. But if there is a God, then we need to consider the implications or all that we do. Will he, for example, be impressed by our courageous suggestions that he is unloving because human life is not eternal? Somehow, I think not.

Far better to put our thoughts and energies into things like helping disaster victims and developing technology to better warn people when natural disasters are about to strike. Weathly nations like Australia and the U.S. have a warning system for Pacific Ocean tsunamis, whereas poorer nations in Asia and Africa do not. Can we blame that on an unloving God? Or should we blame it on the inequities of an unloving society?

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