The Hummingbird and the Parasite

Open Parachute shared the above image with a quote from David Attenborough. This illustrates well the theological objection that is raised not by atheists and agnostics in the first instance, but by liberal religious believers. And it relates not just to matters of creation but to the implications of thanking God for the good as though it were specially arranged for you, without acknowledging that there are other things in the world for which it is hard if not impossible to give thanks.

  • Keen Reader

    I don’t think giving thanks is the problem, it’s selectively using those good things as some kind of empirical proof of theism.

  • Heyzeus14

    This reminds me of what C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity:

    “We have two bits of evidence about the Somebody. One is the universe He has made. If we used that as our only clue, then I think we should have to conclude that He was a great artist (for the universe is a very beautiful place), but also that He is quite merciless and no friend to man (for the universe is a very dangerous and terrifying place). The other bit of evidence is that Moral Law which He has put into our minds…Now, from this second bit of evidence we conclude that the Being behind the universe is intensely interested in right conduct-in fair play, unselfishness, courage, good faith, honesty and truthfulness.” (p.34 in Signature Classics edition)

    To this I would add that the main piece of evidence we have that God is good and ‘in our corner’, so to speak, is Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. This allows us to praise Him for the good things that happen, and trust Him when things don’t seem to be going well. And I wonder what people who begrudge others thanking God for good things that happen to them would say to Frederick Douglass:

    “I may be deemed superstitious, and even egotistical, in regarding this event as a special interposition of divine Providence in my favor. But I should be false to the earliest sentiments of my soul, if I suppressed the opinion. I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence. From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace; and in the darkest hours of my career in slavery, this living word of faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remained like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom. This good spirit was from God, and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise.” (Chapter V)

    • David_Evans

      I hesitate to disagree with such a great figure as Douglass, but I think I might ask him “”What of those who, praying to the same God as you, lived and died in the foul embrace of slavery?”


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