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Is God to blame?

A theologian and an atheist philosopher clash over the great theme of suffering

By AC Grayling   February 2005

A picture of the 2004 tsunami in Ao Nang, Krabi Province, Thailand

Dear Dr Grayling,

The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 killed 30,000 inhabitants, and led Voltaire to write a savage indictment of any form of religious belief that thinks God has created the best of all possible worlds. The Indian ocean earthquake has killed over 150,000, and it needs no Voltaire to remind us that God does not always act for the best.

If there is a supreme intelligence that has created this universe, its purposes clearly do not include the preservation of sentient beings from all harm. Yet it…

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