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Bombs and explosions: A Londoners guide to keeping the faith
I remember my first-ever religious studies lesson at school. By way of introduction, the teacher wrote on the blackboard, How can God exist if bad things happen in the world? This was a pretty testing question for a seven year old, and it continued to trouble me throughout my theology degree and for many years afterwards. Today, just a few days since the bombings in central London, I realized the answer. It has nothing to do with free will. It doesn't even have to do with original sin or the fall of humanity. It has to do with what happens after the bad things--something my teacher conspicuously failed to mention.

The explosion of love that followed the despicable terrorist attacks, the same explosion that followed the Asian earthquake and 9/11, resonated louder and prouder than any man-made device could muster.

There is an old saying that a friend in need is a friend indeed. When two planes hit the twin towers, I became your friend, along with billions of people across the world. When the timed bombs exploded in London, there was an almost simultaneous global explosion of friendship and compassion. Such is the bond of love and empathy between us all.

For many people, especially for those whose lives are directly affected by these natural and wholly unnatural disasters, their faith may falter, especially when tragedy is experienced in isolation.

But when we look at the tragedy in terms of the human and spiritual reaction it provokes, then the tragedy may serve only to fuel the fire of our faith. This is why the terrorists can never be victorious when they explode bombs, they explode something within us, all of us, which can never and will never be extinguished.

--Simon Cohen
from "Reflections on the London Bombings"

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