The question is a serious one. I would love for a Christian – Catholic preferably – to explain to me what precisely their god is good for.

What’s your god good for anyway?

Make a list. All the things god might be good for. I can imagine what a number of things in that list might be.

I started considering this after I saw something on TV last night, which started a train of thought. Let me get to the point. I would like to understand what Christians do in their heads to make what is clearly an untenable, indefensible situation acceptable and defensible.

The situation I am referring to is the abject apathy from the deity which Christians label as ‘all loving’ and ‘all good’ and ‘all powerful’. I realise that any given number of Christians will come up with a similar number of apologies on behalf of their deity, to justify the disturbing lack of action on its part but even unreasonable people have to draw the line at some point.

What I can’t wrap my head around is how, on god’s green earth, does anybody justify the abject apathy from their deity when it comes to the rape and abuse – on an absolutely epic scale – committed by priests in the Catholic church against children.

People might not appreciate what I mean by ‘an absolutely epic scale’ so let me clarify that phrase for you. What I mean by ‘epic scale’ is this:

The report stated there were approximately 10,667 reported victims (younger than 18 years) of clergy sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002:

  • Around 81% of these victims were male.
  • Female victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests tended to be younger than the males. Data analyzed by John Jay researchers, shows that the number and proportion of sexual misconduct directed at girls under 8 years old was higher than that experienced by boys the same age.
  • 22.6% were age 10 or younger, 51% were between the ages of 11 and 14, and 27% were between the ages to 15 to 17 years.
  • A substantial number (almost 2000) of very young children were victimized by priests during this time period.
  • 9,281 victim surveys had information about an investigation. In 6,696 (72%) cases, an investigation of the allegation was carried out. Of these, 4,570 (80%) were substantiated; 1,028 (18%) were unsubstantiated; 83 (1.5%) were found to be false. In 56 cases, priests were reported to deny the allegations.
  • More than 10 percent of these allegations were characterized as not substantiated because diocese or order could not determine whether the alleged abuse actually took place.
  • For approximately 20 percent of the allegations, the priest was deceased or inactive at the time of the receipt of the allegation and typically no investigation was conducted in these circumstances.
  • In 38.4% of allegations, the abuse is alleged to have occurred within a single year, in 21.8% the alleged abuse lasted more than a year but less than 2 years, in 28% between 2 and 4 years, in 10.2% between 5 and 9 years and, in under 1%, 10 or more years.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases)

Consider that for a minute.  Then thousand victims. All younger than 18 years old. In 52 years. By only Catholic priests and in America alone. The Catholic church has been around for nigh on two thousand years and we know pretty damn well that for a thousand of those years – we call them the dark ages – some pretty heinous things were done in the name of that particular religion.

But wait, there’s more:

The Associated Press estimated the settlements of sex abuse cases from 1950 to 2007 totaled more than $2 billion. BishopAccountability puts the figure at more than $3 billion in 2012.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases)

The Catholic church has, in the United States of America alone paid three billion dollars in settlements in 57 years for child abuse committed by its priests.

Let me sum up the problem that I’m having trouble wrapping my head around. You’re a Christian, a Catholic perhaps. You say things like ‘god is good’, ‘god is great’, ‘god is love’, ‘god is all powerful’ and ‘all things are possible in god’ while every second day of every year a priest in the service of that god is literally raping a different child in America. Let me put that another way. In 52 years there have been – according to one report - 10,667 different victims. Reported victims. That’s not counting all the possible victims, of which I’m sure there are many more. If each victim was molested by a priest just twice – and to be blunt, a significant percentage of victim suffered over many years – it means that every day of every year and twice on weekends for the last 50 years a child was molested by a representative of the almighty creator of the universe in America alone. While this god watches. And does nothing.

Can you even begin to appreciate the scale of the horror? Could you sit idle and do nothing as little children beg you for help, to be saved from abuse, molestation, anal rape, every day of every week of every year for decades and decades? Could you even have a response of pure apathy?

So I ask Christians, if your god cannot – or will not – stop the rampant abuse and rape of innocent children on a truly gigantic scale in his own organisation, what precisely is that god good for?

To paraphrase a cogent meme:

If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would. That is the difference between me and your god.