Rev. Tom Honey: How could God have allowed the tsunami?

I am a vicar in the Church of England. I’ve been a priest in the Church for 20 years. For most of that time, I’ve been struggling and grappling with questions about the nature of God. Who is God? And I’m very aware that when you say the word “God,” many people will turn off immediately. And most people, both within and outside the organized church, still have a picture of a celestial controller, a rule maker, a policeman in the sky who orders everything, and causes everything to happen. He will protect his own people, and answer the prayers of the faithful. And in the worship of my church, the most frequently used adjective about God is “almighty.” But I have a problem with that. I have become more and more uncomfortable with this perception of God over the years. Do we really believe that God is the kind of male boss that we’ve been presenting in our worship and in our liturgies over all these years? Of course, there have been thinkers who have suggested different ways of looking at God. Exploring the feminine, nurturing side of divinity. Suggesting that God expresses Himself or Herself through powerlessness, rather than power. Acknowledging that God is unknown and unknowable by definition. Finding deep resonances with other religions and philosophies and ways of looking at life as part of what is a universal and global search for meaning. These ideas are well known in liberal academic circles, but clergy like myself have been reluctant to air them, for fear of creating tension and division in our church communities, for fear of upsetting the simple faith of more traditional believers. I have chosen not to rock the boat. Then, on December 26th last year, just two months ago, that underwater earthquake triggered the tsunami. And two weeks later, Sunday morning, 9th of January, I found myself standing in front of my congregation — intelligent, well meaning, mostly thoughtful Christian people — and I needed to express, on their behalf, our feelings and our questions. I had my own personal responses, but I also have a public role, and something needed to be said. And this is what I said. Shortly after the tsunami I read a newspaper article written by the Archbishop of Canterbury — fine title — about the tragedy in Southern Asia. The essence of what he said was this: the people most affected by the devastation and loss of life do not want intellectual theories about how God let this happen. He wrote, “If some religious genius did come up with an explanation of exactly why all these deaths made sense, would we feel happier, or safer, or more confident in God?” If the man in the photograph that appeared in the newspapers, holding the hand of his dead child was standing in front of us now, there are no words that we could say to him. A verbal response would not be appropriate. The only appropriate response would be a compassionate silence and some kind of practical help. It isn’t a time for explanation, or preaching, or theology; it’s a time for tears. This is true. And yet here we are, my church in Oxford, semi-detached from events that happened a long way away, but with our faith bruised. And we want an explanation from God. We demand an explanation from God. Some have concluded that we can only believe in a God who shares our pain. In some way, God must feel the anguish, and grief, and physical pain that we feel. In some way the eternal God must be able to enter into the souls of human beings and experience the torment within. And if this is true, it must also be that God knows the joy and exaltation of the human spirit, as well. We want a God who can weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. This seems to me both a deeply moving and a convincing re-statement of Christian belief about God. For hundreds of years, the prevailing orthodoxy, the accepted truth, was that God the Father, the Creator, is unchanging and therefore by definition cannot feel pain or sadness. Now the unchanging God feels a bit cold and indifferent to me. And the devastating events of the 20th century have forced people to question the cold, unfeeling God. The slaughter of millions in the trenches and in the death camps have caused people to ask, “Where is God in all this? Who is God in all this?” And the answer was, “God is in this with us, or God doesn’t deserve our allegiance anymore.” If God is a bystander, observing but not involved, then God may well exist, but we don’t want to know about Him. Many Jews and Christians now feel like this, I know. And I am among them. So we have a suffering God — a God who is intimately connected with this world and with every living soul. I very much relate to this idea of God. But it isn’t enough. I need to ask some more questions, and I hope they are questions that you will want to ask, as well, some of you. Over the last few weeks I have been struck by the number of times that words in our worship have felt a bit inappropriate, a bit dodgy. We have a pram service on Tuesday mornings for mums and their pre-school children. And last week we sang with the children one of their favorite songs, “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock.” Perhaps some of you know it. Some of the words go like this: “The foolish man built his house upon the sand / And the floods came up / And the house on the sand went crash.” Then in the same week, at a funeral, we sang the familiar hymn “We Plow the Fields and Scatter,” a very English hymn. In the second verse comes the line, “The wind and waves obey Him.” Do they? I don’t feel we can sing that song again in church, after what’s happened. So the first big question is about control. Does God have a plan for each of us? Is God in control? Does God order each moment? Does the wind and the waves obey Him? From time to time, one hears Christians telling the story of how God organized things for them, so that everything worked out all right — some difficulty overcome, some illness cured, some trouble averted, a parking space found at a crucial time. I can remember someone saying this to me, with her eyes shining with enthusiasm at this wonderful confirmation of her faith and the goodness of God. But if God can or will do these things — intervene to change the flow of events — then surely he could have stopped the tsunami. Do we have a local God who can do little things like parking spaces, but not big things like 500 mile-per-hour waves? That’s just not acceptable to intelligent Christians, and we must acknowledge it. Either God is responsible for the tsunami, or God is not in control. After the tragedy, survival stories began to emerge. You probably heard some of them: the man who surfed the wave, the teenage girl who recognized the danger because she had just been learning about tsunamis at school. Then there was the congregation who had left their usual church building on the shore to hold a service in the hills. The preacher delivered an extra long sermon, so that they were still out of harm’s way when the wave struck. Afterwards someone said that God must have been looking after them. So the next question is about partiality. Can we earn God’s favor by worshipping Him or believing in Him? Does God demand loyalty, like any medieval tyrant? A God who looks after His own, so that Christians are OK, while everyone else perishes? A cosmic us and them, and a God who is guilty of the worst kind of favoritism? That would be appalling, and that would be the point at which I would hand in my membership. Such a God would be morally inferior to the highest ideals of humanity. So who is God, if not the great puppet-master or the tribal protector? Perhaps God allows or permits terrible things to happen, so that heroism and compassion can be shown. Perhaps God is testing us: testing our charity, or our faith. Perhaps there is a great, cosmic plan that allows for horrible suffering so that everything will work out OK in the end. Perhaps, but these ideas are all just variations on God controlling everything, the supreme commander toying with expendable units in a great campaign. We are still left with a God who can do the tsunami and allow Auschwitz. In his great novel, “The Brothers Karamazov,” Dostoevsky gives these words to Ivan, addressed to his naive and devout younger brother, Alyosha: “If the sufferings of children go to make up the sum of sufferings which is necessary for the purchase of truth, then I say beforehand that the entire truth is not worth such a price. We cannot afford to pay so much for admission. It is not God that I do not accept. I merely, most respectfully, return Him the ticket.” Or perhaps God set the whole universe going at the beginning and then relinquished control forever, so that natural processes could occur, and evolution run its course. This seems more acceptable, but it still leaves God with the ultimate moral responsibility. Is God a cold, unfeeling spectator? Or a powerless lover, watching with infinite compassion things God is unable to control or change? Is God intimately involved in our suffering, so that He feels it in His own being? If we believe something like this, we must let go of the puppet-master completely, take our leave of the almighty controller, abandon traditional models. We must think again about God. Maybe God doesn’t do things at all. Maybe God isn’t an agent like all of us are agents. Early religious thought conceived God as a sort of superhuman person, doing things all over the place. Beating up the Egyptians, drowning them in the Red Sea, wasting cities, getting angry. The people knew their God by His mighty acts. But what if God doesn’t act? What if God doesn’t do things at all? What if God is in things? The loving soul of the universe. An in-dwelling compassionate presence, underpinning and sustaining all things. What if God is in things? In the infinitely complex network of relationships and connections that make up life. In the natural cycle of life and death, the creation and destruction that must happen continuously. In the process of evolution. In the incredible intricacy and magnificence of the natural world. In the collective unconscious, the soul of the human race. In you, in me, mind and body and spirit. In the tsunami, in the victims. In the depth of things. In presence and in absence. In simplicity and complexity. In change and development and growth. How does this in-ness, this innerness, this interiority of God work? It’s hard to conceive, and begs more questions. Is God just another name for the universe, with no independent existence at all? I don’t know. To what extent can we ascribe personality to God? I don’t know. In the end, we have to say, “I don’t know.” If we knew, God would not be God. To have faith in this God would be more like trusting an essential benevolence in the universe, and less like believing a system of doctrinal statements. Isn’t it ironic that Christians who claim to believe in an infinite, unknowable being then tie God down in closed systems and rigid doctrines? How could one practice such a faith? By seeking the God within. By cultivating my own inwardness. In silence, in meditation, in my inner space, in the me that remains when I gently put aside my passing emotions and ideas and preoccupations. In awareness of the inner conversation. And how would we live such a faith? How would I live such a faith? By seeking intimate connection with your inwardness. The kind of relationships when deep speaks to deep. If God is in all people, then there is a meeting place where my relationship with you becomes a three-way encounter. There is an Indian greeting, which I’m sure some of you know: “Namaste,” accompanied by a respectful bow, which, roughly translated means, “That which is of God in me greets that which of God is in you.” Namaste. And how would one deepen such a faith? By seeking the inwardness which is in all things. In music and poetry, in the natural world of beauty and in the small ordinary things of life, there is a deep, indwelling presence that makes them extraordinary. It needs a profound attentiveness and a patient waiting, a contemplative attitude and a generosity and openness to those whose experience is different from my own. When I stood up to speak to my people about God and the tsunami, I had no answers to offer them. No neat packages of faith, with Bible references to prove them. Only doubts and questioning and uncertainty. I had some suggestions to make — possible new ways of thinking about God. Ways that might allow us to go on, down a new and uncharted road. But in the end, the only thing I could say for sure was, “I don’t know,” and that just might be the most profoundly religious statement of all. Thank you.

100 thoughts on “Rev. Tom Honey: How could God have allowed the tsunami?

  1. What a bloody nutter.

    He basically affirmed the very reasons why atheists are atheists. …and yet now he'll go back to his church telling his congregation that they need to pray to an invisible man in the clouds so that they won't go to a firey invisible place after they die.

    21:30 of absolutely ridiculous bullcrap.

  2. A theological question:

    How hard does god have to fuck you in the ass for you to stop worshiping him?

    ( Not intended to be answered by gay people )

  3. Show me a 'valid analogy' empirically….we must decide on a philosophy of language that is common sense based as retarded as they may sound to a……intellectually challenged person:)

  4. 'Not every immaterial idea is true'
    So you concede the immateriality of ideas and the concept of truth. Your on my page after all…

  5. Whose interpretation of science? Yours? Michael Denton's? Michael Behe's? Stephen J Gould's? Only atheist's? Your too narrow.
    I wouldn't believe in Jesus if there was not evidence both sacred and secular. No evidence my butt. Have you disproved the resurrection of Jesus? Rhetorical questions all, I know how your ilk thinks as I was one the first 3rd of my everlasting life:)

  6. The scientific method does not preclude thought. Even philosophical thought. I think there are many who would argue that he used the mental exercises to derive his theory, not simply to rationalize them.

  7. Sorry about mixing the singular and plural there… blame it on being sleepy.

  8. I wonder: if he has so many doubts why doesn't he just do the next logical step and become an atheist? The way he is trying to get out of his dilemma doesn't seem consistent to me at all.

  9. I'm an atheist, but this guy's God is one I could consider. The all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing version is obviously inconsistent with the world as we find it, but the spirit of seeking and the forces which permeate the universe — yeah, that wouldn't violate my sense of reality.

    I'm sorry so many people were "bored" or so fixated on the traditional notion of God that they couldn't hear and consider what this man was saying, but I think it's worth pondering.

  10. Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God? – Epicurus

  11. It was so very weak pathetically liberal often a precursor to syncretism. It was so relativist which also very much a precusor if not necessary to approaching syncretistic or automatically being syncretistic in thought.

    It was so very weak and devoid of theology just philosophy and this context makes his points just dead

  12. Well hot damn, this man feels exactly as I do about god, the universe, all that is, etc.
    Very touching talk. I did not expect this.

  13. In my view the tsunami made so many victims because we the people have come to the point that we are disconnected with the knowledge that stoped passing from generation to generation and the signs of nature, if that knowledge had passed we would have a clue to what was coming.

  14. The real story that some tribes in that area that new those signs and run away from their near the sea houses to higher ground is a fact that this ancient ways of living still hold that passing knowledge and use it even if events only happen once every 2 or more centuries. For me it has nothing to do with god but the way we are evolving

  15. fuck…god ain't exist, if he does, fuck him. Shit happens and those victims will be reborn and keep walking on the road of evolution. Feel sorry about the victims? Don't worry, they'll be reborn and keep going by their karma's balancing action. Mind your own ass and just be as nice as you can to anyone coming into your life.

  16. Problem is, many who believe in a god, do so for selfish reasons; – go to heaven etc. Fact is, idea of God is a delusion. But if you have bought into this delusion, the only thing you can do is making a loving, caring god of it/you, and passing some of it on. That's what Rev Honey is saying, using the "namaste" greeting as an example. Believing in a god is to manifest good/beauty. Makes sense. At least he's honest enuf to say "I don't know".

  17. What a load of horse exhaust! Because they cannot come up with an answer for why Jesus allows natural disasters, they play the "compassion is more important than righteousness" card!? Organised religion typically has no problem with the latter.

    This is nothing more than another pathetic attempt to recreate God in our own image. Another pointless failure to deduce stuff by wishful thinking.

    At least he said "I don't know"… welcome on the road to atheism.

  18. "At least he said "I don't know"… welcome on the road to atheism."
    I disagree.I'd say – "welcome on the road of agnosticism/skepticism

  19. "I disagree. I'd say – welcome on the road of agnosticism/skepticism"

    Fair enough. That is indeed a better greeting…

  20. I always cry when I watch this video.How much moral honesty and courage it required for Tom to make it?Bravo,Tom!

  21. "How much moral honesty and courage it required for Tom to make it?"

    Isn't honesty and courage what we expect our religious leaders to show? Or have we tacitly accepted the sad fact that religion is dominated by lies and cowardice?

    Don't get me wrong, I like the direction in which rev. Honey is going, but it's none too soon. In fact, it's grossly overdue.

  22. oi. Isn't he just talking about deism, or maybe panendeism? Anyways, he seems very caring, and for that I am appreciative. This is the first time I will be voting low on a Tedtalk video. Doubt is a cop out. Either you believe in magic or you don't. Putting a god in everything makes it a cardboard box, a hammer, and a rapist. By moving a god further and further into the undefinable you make it a more and more useless god. So go on and hide it so well that we never have to hear about it again.

  23. I admire his honesty, but IS HE SERIOUS!? He sees the flaws in the bases of what he believes in but can't see what they mean! If God can't be as he alledgedly is, he probably isn't!

  24. what a lovely and intelligent man. He questions everything rationally and decides he doesn't know – only one more step. Take god out of the equation. The problem with his take on things is that it is going to bore the audience. He just delivered everything that he possibly can in one sermon – why come back next week for more questions? I think he needs to become a scientist so he has something interesting to fill the gaps with. such a soothing voice would do evolutionary biology justice.

  25. Maths can be God and people can meditate on equations while they wait for their DNA worshipping session. 🙂

  26. "Jesus", for a lack of a better exclamation. I actually cringed when he mentioned people telling him how god got them a parking space. Thats is beyond delusional, and more than a bit egocentric. Yes, an all-powerful creator of the universe changed reality to make your day a bit more convenient. Now who's the master in this relationship, again? And then people wonder why religious people scare me.

  27. Hi, I have the subtitles in french for this video and tried to get this back on you tube in french, but I can't send in more than ten minutes of video…and I would really like the french people to understand…anyone can give me a tip on how to get this there? please???

  28. He's not actually saying he doesn't know, he is trying to hang on to the idea of a god by tucking it away in hidden ways so he can still have his cake and eat it too. But when your magic book says he lives in the sky and you decide to put him somewhere else to put off his distruction by reason, then you fail. You fail at being the religion you claim to be and you fail to save your god, you just water him down to nothing. His god fails Epicurus and he should know better than to fake it.

  29. @moonlight7171

    the threat of hell is useless against atheists.

    We came from Africa.

  30. Now there is Haiti…Seems the time for Rev. Tom Honey to speak again…

  31. Obviously, that sentence wasnt ment to be taken literaly. But I find the thought that a person is more or less coddled by an all powerful being, who exists outside the boundaries of what we know is possible, to be celf-centered in a mind boggling way.

  32. Actually Im with Hitchens when it comes to Mother Theresa, but I see your point. My counterargument would be that for every good deed done in the name of religion, there has been an evil one. An inquisitor for every samaritan, so to speak.

  33. This guy seems to have joined most of the dots. Now he just needs the balls to step back and see the picture — Christianity ( / any religion) is a man-made fairytale.

  34. an honest response from a struggling Christian. I wish all Christians would be so honest.

  35. @dommarthal Why? It is always interesting to know the way people think. Please don't misunderstand, I'm atheist and I still think we should show respect to each other. I think TED organizers think this way.

  36. i never knew who or what i was before i was born…. what makes you think i will know anything when i am dead? i had no brain before i was born and i will not have one after my death (at least not a functioning one) i have learned everything i know along the way, including a god figure. but that still doesn't change any facts.. and

  37. very simple my Friends the tsunami happen because the epicenter
    was the place where the French exploded an Atomic Bomb under the ocean
    so Don'T blame God by Men made problems

  38. Tom Honey is going to become an atheist if hasn't already become one. I use to be a devout Christian and had many of the same ideas and questions he did. That time in my life was just one major step on the path to me becoming an atheist.

  39. Awesome. I am simply amazed. In awe. First of all I would like to say I am no christian neither do I associate myself with any religion. May be I can describe myself as Absurdist, Existentialist or Agnostic. But If I had to strictly choose between Atheism and Religion I would rather choose Atheism.
    Anyway, About the Video:
    First of all I would like to say being a "priest" for 20 years and investing in a religion so much you would need real courage to come up on a public forum ……contd.

  40. contd…and put your faith in question. Best thing about tom honey is without fearing being caught by devil(as per his christian religious beliefs) puts his beliefs at test and he honestly does admit that he doesn't know the truth. He does not commit himself to regular bible blabber and present his view of what the world is and how the world should be. I do understand that he does not give the solution to the question. But you shouldn't have watched this video with expectations of any answers…

  41. contd… Do you think he could have answered a question in 20 minutes which have puzzled mankind for thousands of years.
    Well, Then why should we watch this video.
    Probably for the same reasons why we watch any other video. Why we listen to any other opinion and just like fanaticism, accepting that we have no knowledge is also a point of view or for mere stimulus of ideas or even for simple entertainment.
    Should there be or Is there answers to every question? Even though science is progressing

  42. contd….we know that there are so many things science will not be able to answer or will not be able to answer within our lifetime. So though answers to those question might exist in abstraction but they certainly do not exist in relation to our lifetime. So even though we expect science, logic and reasoning to answer every question to mankind eventually they do not exist for us at least individually. Which in itself seems quite abstract, nonsensical and infuriating.
    All we can say is "I Exist"

  43. Boy oh boy… This is pissing the evangelical Christians and orthodox Jews off, because they are taught not to question their teachings. Its blasphemy.

  44. Why is it that I exist? Why is it that I can see my own reflection in the mirror, see through my eyes, and get to experience life at all? This does not compel me to believe in a deity, it compels me to wonder if this is the way existence works. There has to be one point at which one feels "I exist" while others think they are separate, but are not. That my existence was just one variation of one unit meant to live in the illusion that I am separate, and we don't know why… Yet.

  45. The real issue is missed. What he should be trying to deal with is perceiving God as simultaneously eternal and durational infinite and finite creator and created. This is why he's attempting to logically give human standards to What Was Before The Creation of The Universe. This is the classic sympathy for the devil argument…
    "If God is so cruel he doesn't deserve our worship." It's understandable though. 1000 years of The Inquisitional Flame is one hell of a transgenerational mental block.

  46. Wait, so is that how religion works? You can make it up as you go along? I think that's intellectual cowardice. I cannot understand why this guy didn't just go the extra step and ask "does god exist?" Answering "no" is a much more logical solution to his conundrum than the mental gymnastics (and self-deception) he had to do to come up with a god that fits into his modern, liberal moral code!

  47. 16:49 The phrase "rigid doctrines" apparently sounds very similar to the name of a famous english evolutionary biologist 🙂

  48. Other TED talks do give answers to 1000 year old questions in 20 minutes. The expectation bar is very high… of course we expected him to give an end theodicy with a scientific or technical answer like most TEDsters. Not our fault he did not meet our expectations, he should have tried harder.

  49. I don't see problem with regarding the tsunami as strong evidence that a loving, knowing all-powerful God does not exist. Not to regard this as evidence can only be done with unacceptable rationalizations. My biology teacher keeps telling me "this is the great mystery of God… why he allows bad things…" Nah, that shows me at least that such God does not exist. Sorry :/

  50. Around 17:30 he describes a sort of mysticism that I like a lot. But that has suddenly nothing to do with Christianity. It is a rejection of the God of the Bible. But why doesn't he say that openly? Why is he still a Christian? Why? Isn't it more reasonable to simply abandon the myth and stay with the mysticism and do so openly rather than be like "I am a mystic at heart but I still lie to the kids by making them believe in this crappy book."

  51. From 1 Kings 19. 11-13.
    And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
    AlgeKalipso, Would you say this is not mystical? Does this not support Tom Honey's questioning?

  52. The God of the Bible talks and interacts with humans in many many occasions. Maybe we can keep the God King 19 describes, but not the God of other parts of the Bible. I don't see the point of keeping the whole book.

  53. God is not supposed to stop a MANKIND tsunami done by the Americans. Americans simply dont care about you nor your culture because they themselves feel sorry of not having a culture. God does exist and always will. Everyone has the choice of believing what they want to believe. Consequences are between their hands.

  54. King David, King Solomon, Job and Jeremiah the weeping prophet were a few of many who dared to ask the dreaded question from God – "WHY?"!!!! It is a question that children are taught not to ask from their parents and teachers in school. The church is often the worst culprit at that. Yet these individuals found it within them to put their hope, trust and faith in God even while in great anguish at which they would without hesitation say "The Lord gave and the Lord took".

  55. Ah. To put it very simply, this speaker has become a Christian Atheist.

    How ironic, and yet, it rings as very good news to someone like me. If more religious people could reach the point that this speaker has, I dare say the world would be a much more accepting and truthful place.

  56. Evil, pain, and suffering are the consequences of departure from God. Discommunion is what made them possible. I thought the Church of England believed in free will? Why is it so hard for this man see that in fact the world has been given to us by God. He gave it to His created beings, which is why Satan is called "the Prince of this world." We do with the world as we please.

    The dynamic of the Christian life, is to receive what God has given, and then to give it back to Him in our lives.

  57. If I don't know is the answer, then what is the point in believing in a GOD. One might as well be an atheist..

  58. The answer is here. Write "Tom Honey Answer" to search box, hit enter, you will see it.

  59. Please give me a logical reason why approaching this question with a belief that there is no god will make it more honest? And what makes his belief in a god make him dishonest?

  60. You're right, but a religious person saying "I don't know" instead of invoking god in everything he doesn't understand is a step in the right direction.

  61. But he does commit himself to a point of view: that god exists. He's a christian vicar that redefines god into such vague terms that no one knows what to think or believe anymore – into something that is counter-biblical with no scriptural basis whatsoever, if not at most partial. He betrays his chosen religion and church. Kudos to him for honestly asking himself those crucial questions… but he should now attempt to answer them honestly too… perhaps there is no god.

  62. Wow, I just barely fell asleep… or was it a trance? He kinda trips you out doesn't he? lol

  63. @fourdotsYT I wouldn't say that there's no scriptural basis for what he's saying. There's actually quite a bit, it's just that it isn't the bits that most Christians like to quote.

    For the idea that God doesn't do good things to people he likes and bad things to people he doesn't like, see all of Ecclesiastes. 

    See also, Luke 17: 21 "the kingdom of God is within you". And Acts 17:28 "in him [i.e God] we live and move and have our being". The Bible says that we are in God just as God is in us. To me that seems to be the essence of what Mr Honey's trying to say. Honestly it isn't even a new idea. Meister Eckhart was expressing pretty similar sentiments a long time ago.

    P.S. I'm not a Christian trying to convince you of anything. I'm just somebody of no particular religious belief that sometimes gets a bit upset about how little people know of what's actually in the Bible. And that includes way too many Christians…

  64. Too bad he doesn't look at Genesis 3,  but he's on the wrong track entirely by talking about Evolution.  This is what happens when you throw out the first 11 chapters of the Bible.

  65. Reverend Tom Honey, Wow!  I am on the fence with god, leaning towards "no faith".  Your sincere questions have helped me to not be alone with my deep questions.  I'm reading/studying your TED talk transcript like a good book!  Thank you, for that… 🙂 …1Cor.13

  66.  "He's wrong, although he is respectful and skeptical about his own beliefs, which I admire. Still, I don't think he's worth TED's time. He's incorrect, therefore he's not TED quality."

    The guy finishes by saying I don't know, if you say he's wrong  you're implying that he does know. You're incorrect and therefore you're not TED material.

    But blatant trolling aside; it saddens me to see that the vast majority of people is actually not capable of listening. They may actually sit trough 20 minutes, HEAR him talking about how maybe we should forget about our preconceptions about god.  Then they go, take those preconceptions to argument against the person, obviously not the content, to confirm their own worldview. That's putting an argument into your "opponents" mouth, a classic manipulation tactic, and just about as dogmatic as it gets. (not exactly the case i trolled but just scroll a bit)

    The man is trying to define a new meaning to the word god. One detached of the man made fairy-tales you're accusing him to believe in. I'm not even sure he believes in god. But it's obvious he has faith in god (or he is a very good actor/liar). But to you that's all the same…

    Can't two living things interacting be more than the sum of their parts? Then things like justice, logic, and other man made ideas like god do not exist in the real world and are, following your logic, not worth pursuing. See? I just did it myself, humans are disgusting! I'll just go put a syringe of heroin into my dickgina.

  67. The doubt comes from reason, the faith from belief
    The doubt shows us the mystery, the faith leads us to accept it
    The doubt gnaws us, the faith soothes us
    Only trust or ignorance allow us to live in peace with this "I don't know".
    As far as I am concerned, I choose the trust and to live in peace.

  68. There is no use in debating how did a god let this happen. It is clear that all the struggle that some people have to go through to make sense of their unjustifiable assumptions about the nature of the universe its just unnecessary.

    There are much simpler explanations that don't make any presuppositions about the nature of god. His struggle arises from making assumptions about what he (and most religious people) wants this entity to be like: almighty, all good, all knowing, etc… because of course it follows naturally that if there is a god he/she must have all those properties.  

    He is seeking an explanation from god which is quite easy to come up with: don't try to define what god is and you wont have expectations of how a god should behave. It is the pious desire for god to do good, but look around the world and you will fail to see his/her goodness.

    If he really wants an explanation, there are many scientific papers explaining why it happened. It is a waste of time to seek answers to questions that can't be answered because they are based on assumption which can't be justified. Its unfortunate that a tsunami hit South Asia, but natural disasters do happen. The problem we face after natural disasters is what are we going to do about it!

    P.S. Perhaps he should become an agnostic, or perhaps he should read Spinoza if he has not.

  69. Nothing could confirm my atheism more than this talk. If you assume that there is simply is no God, you have answered all of these questions in 2 seconds instead of wandering around them for 20 minutes.

  70. <<<— The GIANT ORANGE DOT ( Represents The INFINITE ALL.
    Apart from The Infinite All, NOTHING Exists. (Represented by the BLACK SQUARE)
     You and I and everyone and everything can not be a part of the—NOTHING
    Therefore we must all be a part of the GIANT ORANGE DOT. AKA – – GOD.

  71. THIS IS FASCINATING!. If this Priest or Vicar had read the Bible that he is supposed to read to lead and feed his sheep he would have found all the answers to his questions. Ironically he fulfilled the very words of Jesus that he is criticizing. at 8:23. The foolish man built his house on the sand and a TSUNAMI destroyed it. Was his faith based on children songs?. Did he ever read those passages to see the context?.It is so easy to be fooled by credentials. If I say that I studied in a seminary to be a catholic priest and then became atheist and hated all religions , would that make me more believable if I defended the Bible?. Never to an atheist to be sure. I thing what this guy is doing is unethical. He should renounce his vows, and preach to atheists; they need preachers like him to confirm and establish them in their FAITH. As all atheists he is WISER, MORE LOVING, MORE COMPASSIONATE, MORE JUST ETC than the GOD and the CHRIST of the BIBLE. Oh! how deceitful is the heart of man!. More and more is calling good what is Evil and evil what is GOOD.

  72. He had the opportunity to say that JESUS suffered pain, much more then us all, but unfortunately he seems like just one more person WHO DENIES GOD! This is realy sad! He should repent about this presentation. I know exactly what happened in Tsunami in 2004, and I asked same questions to GOD and GOD answered me! If some need I can then explain for those who are interested, but by heart to heart not by human interests, ok? Just tell me.

  73. wow. not what I expected. this is incredibly sad!!! I pray that he was removed as a leader of the flock and that someone mentored him to understand the truth of God's word. Jesus allowed John the Baptist to be beheaded. When John was in prison he sent and asked if Jesus truley was the Messiah or should they seek another. He couldn't understand why Jesus would let Him suffer so. In another book we read that before Jesus walked out to the boat on the water, He watched for a good long while as the disciples fought against the waves. It says He was going to walk right past them until they saw Him. The Bible specifically tells us that we will suffer for His sake. The entire book of Job attests to that. Reading Genesis, we know that the earth is cursed, our bodies riddled with disease because of the fall of man, when we blatantly disobeyed God. Furthermore, in the end times the bible says there will be war, rumors of war, and natural disasters, such as tsunami's. Must we forget that as believers, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord? Must we forget that the Bible says no man has an excuse to be an unbeliever? God makes Himself known to us everyday. We can't think that since the fall in Genesis, that life here on Earth is going to be easy. God gives us so many blessings despite our sufferings and those who sin against us. The point is we KNOW sin and death exist, if anything we know this. So, we should be asking ourselves, what will happen when I actually die? To say we are without sin is a lie and therefore proves we are sinners. How can we be reconciled to a Holy God if we have sinned and don't meet up to His glorious perfect standard? How will I know that I can live without the effects of sin, sadness, and death? John 3:16 gives us this answer. Read your bibles. Truley delve into this question that this man asks, because he truley has not found the answer. The answer is in God's word. The whole word. The whole story. If you want to know Gods heart, you need to fully commit to getting to know Him in relationship. The bible also says we will be learning about Him for ETERNITY. We will never know His reasons for everything.

  74. You are messing the great message of your existence and why you are here in this world.
    You are not here to live happy or here to waste your time..
    Why did god create humans? to worship him
    What is the meaning of life? life is a test for human kind. they have to CHOOSE to believe. If they Believe, the reward is eternal happy life in heaven. No one can dream about an eternal happy ending and this is a great reward. In the same time, if you CHOOSE to fail the test and dont believe then you receive the opposite outcome.
    We are not here to ask him why he does this or that. We are here to pass the test and choose him. In this life test, you have to go through pain, grow out of misery and choose his path each time. The harder the test you go through, the higher the reward.
    This an answer driven from our book Quraan from the god, god bless you.

  75. It's very oriental, what he is suggesting. Good to see Christians open to spiritual growth.

  76. First you must prove God is not just a figment of your delusional imagination, then ask how could God have allowed the tsunami.

  77. There goes 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back. This man needs to study his Bible.

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