Archive for » November, 2015 «

Honesty, and courage beyond belief

Something incredible on BBC today: the spiritual head of the Anglican Church admits openly that he doubted the presence of God. And he does not go on to reassure believers that he has since managed the contortion needed to restore unquestioning belief.

His Holiness the Pope, as the head of the other major branch of Christianity, also appears to be hinting that God may not be the biggest deal. Who knows, he too may soon muster enough courage to come out openly.

I feel for this wonderful Justin Welby. He must have a terrible time dealing with the inner conflicts. I can imagine the effort he must have gone through, trying the different theological justifications available to preserve faith. And having no higher ‘authority’ to get advice from must make life terribly difficult for the honest and courageous, when he finds the intellectual loopholes unconvincing. Disillusionment is always traumatic.

Had a head of a different religion decided to question the supernatural, he would have been instantly condemned to death by some among the ‘faithful’ – maybe even the majority. There is a lesson here. Faith must constantly be backed up by power, to survive. It otherwise gives way to reason.


Paris attacks caused

archbishop to ‘doubt’

presence of God


The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the terror attacks in Paris made him “doubt” the presence of God. The Most Reverend Justin Welby told the BBC’s Songs of Praise the killings had put a “chink in his armour”.

The archbishop said: “Saturday morning, I was out and as I was walking I was praying and saying: ‘God why – why is this happening? Where are you in all this?’ and then engaging and talking to God. Yes, I doubt.”

Archbishop Welby also said the manner in which IS militants had distorted their faith, so that they believe their acts are glorifying their God, is “one of the most desperate aspects of our world today”.



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CKDu needs only expensive, high-tech prophylaxis?

In some countries, rain water is harvested for human consumption – mainly because they lack enough ground water. We appear not to see a need in Sri Lanka. The technology to collect rain water and store it for drinking and cooking is neither complex nor expensive. And it is not supplied by a large commercial agency. So this measure is not promoted among the strategies for providing safe drinking water in areas with high CKDu. Drawbacks of using rainwater for human consumption are not very significant or hard to deal with. Adding this simple measure to those currently employed is sensible and the mechanisms that can be used to make it viable are many.

A second ignored issue is the association between CKD and tobacco use. Must we wait until causality is definitely established before making this recommendation?  The current evidence is undoubtedly strong enough to act on the basis of the ‘precautionary principle’ (see the post dated  22 Sept 2012, on this site). Again our reluctance may not stem purely from the embargo on speaking ill of the tobacco trade and its various wiles.  (After all, it is not the only cause of early deaths although likely the leading one.)  Why we do not take up smoking reduction as a relevant issue in CKDu may instead be due to it not requiring great expense on gadgetry. The community strategies available in this country to encourage smokers to quit are incredibly cost-effective but not used widely and certainly not disseminated enough beyond Sri Lanka.

When money allocated for a particular purpose has to be spent before the end of a given year, the most attractive measures are those that will manage to utilize the allocation fully and fast. But let’s try to set apart a small amount for methods to use rain water for drinking and cooking and for tobacco cessation.


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