The recent earthquake in Nepal, which killed thousands and affected thousands more, is often referred to as a natural disaster and this seems a very good name for something that is rooted in the makeup of our planet and that can devastate life on a huge scale.
It is events like this that make some people question their faith in their God.
Prayer never dragged a child from under a pile of rubble nor provided food aid or medicines
How could a loving God allow such things to happen?
Of course only people with faith get to question god in this way, those of us without faith do not blame god for earthquakes in the same way that we do not thank him for any good that comes our way.
I know after the Tsunami in 2004, I officiated at the funeral of one man who had been a firm believer all of his life, but that disaster led him to conclude that the God he had believed in could never allow this to have happened.
Some find comfort in their faith after terrible events occur and many people have been praying for the victims in Nepal and for their families and the rescuers.
If I, as a Humanist, question the purpose and effectiveness of prayer, I am accused of belittling those of faith who find comfort in this act, but question it I will.
And I question not to undermine personal faith but to point out that a prayer never dragged a child from under a pile of rubble nor provided food aid or medicines…this is the work of human beings looking after other human beings.
So pray if you will, perhaps you will give thanks you live in a place where we are spared natural disasters…but after you say your Amen’s, think about what else you can do.
DREW BAXTER, Humanist
To find out more about how you can donate to the Nepal earthquake relief fund, visit www.unicef.org.uk