Where Was God When This Happened? Part 14

The scandal of divine negligence

In the face of massive human and animal suffering, Christian apologists offer tired clichés:

·      God works in mysterious ways

·      God has a larger plan that we cannot see or know about

·      To preserve our free will, God chooses not to interfere

Yet no hard evidence is offered to back up these speculations to exonerate God. They are mediocre theological responses to crises in the real world.


In fact, Christian theology itself undermines any credible concept of a good, competent God. God is watching carefully, i.e., Christianity is totalitarian monotheism. 

Nothing we do escapes his notice: “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37

Moreover, prayer works because God can even read our minds. Christians believe in, love, worship, and sing songs to this God who pays such close attention to every human being. 

If God is so attentive—actually, so intrusive—then he cannot evade responsibility for our wellbeing. How can he just watch so many of the really horrible things that happen? Wouldn’t he want to do something? 


Tim Sledge has called it correctly:


“Decent parents protect their kids from danger. If your toddler grabs the liquid Drano container, you don’t watch in silence. But that is exactly what God the Heavenly Father has done through the ages. He just watches, invisible and silent.” ·

Here are excerpts from the Wikipedia article on the Attack on Mers-el-Kébir. 


The Attack on Mers-el-Kébir (Battle of Mers-el-Kébir) on 3 July 1940, during the Second World War, was a British naval attack on French Navy ships at the naval base at Mers El Kébir at Oran, on the coast of French Algeria. The attack was the main part of Operation Catapult, a British plan to neutralise or destroy French ships to prevent them falling into German hands after the Allied defeat in the Battle of France. The British bombardment of the base killed 1,297 French servicemen, sank a battleship and damaged five other ships, for a British loss of five aircraft shot down and two crewmen killed. 

[Please note: we can be sure that the friends and families of most of those 1,297 people killed had prayed fervently for their safe return home. What was God’s purpose for ignoring their pleas?]

The attack by air and sea was conducted by the Royal Navy, after France had signed armistices with Germany and Italy, coming into effect on 25 June. Of particular significance to the British were the five battleships of the Bretagne and Richelieu classes and the two fast battleships of the Dunkerque class, the second largest force of capital ships in Europe after the Royal Navy. The British War Cabinet feared that the ships would fall into Axis hands. Admiral François Darlan, commander of the French Navy, assured the British, even after the French armistices with Germany and Italy, that the fleet would remain under French control but Winston Churchill and the War Cabinet judged that the risk was too great. Darlan repeatedly refused British requests to place the fleet in British custody or move it to the French West Indies out of German reach.

The British attack was almost universally condemned in France and resentment festered for years over what was considered a betrayal by their former ally. The French thought that their assurances were honourable and should have been sufficient. Marshal Philippe Pétain, who was appointed the prime minister of France on 16 June, severed diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom on 8 July. The next day, deputies of the National Assembly met at Vichy and voted to revise the constitution, ending the French Third Republic. Pétain was installed with full powers as leader of the new French State.

Here are the links to Where Was God When This Happened?  Part 10   Part 11   Part 12   Part 13


Posted by David Madison, PhD Biblical Studies

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