Divine humour

My job as keeper of the Order's non-faith tasks me with some awkward questions from time to time which I can react to instinctively and/or with some research in the Order's records or elsewhere. I have to admit that, powerful and prescient as I am, there are times when I'm left utterly bemused and leave the topic of my wrath with more questions than answers. Today is one those days because it concerns our mutual bete noir, religion.

On the radio this morning I heard a London bishop say "the good lord has a sense of humour". He was musing on the existence cheek by jowl in the financial city of London of abject poverty and untold riches. I can't tell you the precise reason why he thought this was amusing because as soon as he said it I was, as they say, off on one. I was thinking about centuries of religious persecution, the crusades, the English Civil War, the French Wars of Religion, the Roman persecution of Jews, Northern Ireland, Palestine, death in the hundreds of thousands of kids from AIDS and cancer, the millions and millions of tortured souls with mental health issues, the billions of folk worldwide who have suffered and will suffer deformity and pain through no fault of their own, child prostitution and slavery.

All this buzzed through my mind as I sat comfortably in my BMW, travelling home to my secure brick-built house in a temperate climate knowing I'd be having steak for dinner and that my TV would work. For various reasons I was pondering at the same time how healthy my bank balance was but, amidst it all, I also asked myself how old our gods are? It's reasonable to assume that, whichever major divinity one follows, he or she's been around for some time and presumably knows a thing or two. If he/she's got everything under control, why can't they do something about the above issues? If they're having to wait for some special set of circumstances to materialise before doing something, who or what is dictating these factors if it's not them? On the other hand, if they could do something and are choosing not to, is it because of malice or this apparently cracking sense of humour? Oh, how I laughed.