[after conducting a poll on religion around the globe] I haven't said much about our poll results, because there's a certain rabbit-from-hat quality we need on the night. But something did catch my eye as we went through them. And maybe I have some rethinking to do as a result. We asked everyone the question, "Does suffering in the world make it harder for you to believe in God?" Heavens to Betsy, it is indeed a major impediment to faith - in Britain. Oh yes, we struggle terribly with all the dreadful suffering that goes on in places whose names we can't quite remember. Put the question in Lagos, whose citizens are rather better acquainted with plague and famine, or ask around Delhi, and suffering is hardly a bar to faith at all. There is something darkly comic in the way we use the tribulations of others to avoid putting our own beliefs to the test. "Oh, I saw so much it rocked my faith," sounded like a genuine obstruction when I said it. But now I worry it is as trite a slogan as the one it replaced. If suffering is such a problem, why does our poll show religion thriving in places where people are up against everything the world can throw at them?

source: "Beyond Belief," Jeremy Vine, Monday Feb 23, 2004 http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,2763,1154016,00.html tags: Apologetics, Suffering