The Sophisticated Theologians® had better get to work on this one, telling us why God would let people assemble to worship Him—and then strike down thousands of them, killing 17. Yep, it’s in the Evening Standard, but also in other places (click on screenshot);
A pastor whose church service has been blamed for sparking a huge wave of Covid-19 infections in France apologised today as countries across Europe continued to struggle to slow the rising death toll from the disease.
Thiebault Geyer said he wanted to say “sorry to God for my selfishness” after officials confirmed that around 2,500 of his parishioners have contracted coronavirus.
At least 17 of those have died after a mass outbreak of the virus among the thousands who attended a week-long gathering at the pastor’s Christian Open Door church in the eastern city of Mulhouse in February.
Pastor Geyer admitted he had not taken its threat seriously enough. “I would like to apologise,” he said. “Sorry to have taken this crisis lightly. Sorry to have read all the articles which tried to alert us. I couldn’t listen. I’m sorry to God for my selfishness.”
Now I’m not sure how palpable the threat was in February, or when in February the Christian Open Door church meeting took place, but the threat was already palpable in late February when they closed the Louvre. The pastor does, however, say that he was cognizant of a “threat”. But let’s put this one not at the door of Pastor Geyer, but at the foot of the Pearly Gates: God’s Doorstep. For if there was a powerful and omnipotent God, and a loving one, He would surely not kill those who gathered to praise him. After all, they are praising the correct God—they weren’t a bunch of goatherders prostrating themselves before a golden calf.
Or maybe God has just decided to keep away from this whole mess. In that case, the Sophisticated Theologians® owe us an explanation. It will almost certainly be that this is God’s Way, and we don’t understand it. (They can’t use the free will excuse for moral evil, because this is a physical rather than a moral evil.) And if that’s what they say, just shake your head in pity and walk away. These people purport to know a lot of stuff about God (if they didn’t, what would they write about?), but they punt when it comes to theodicy.
The pandemic is just more evidence—as if we needed any—that if there is a god, he’s either evil or indifferent. The most parsimonious one, though, is our own view: there aren’t any gods.
It’s curious that this pandemic isn’t weakening faith in America, but seemingly strengthening it. After all, if the Black Death and the Spanish Flu didn’t erode faith, what could?