by Greg Spearritt
I recall Don Cupitt suggesting that the death of God should be traced to the time when life insurance entered the scene.
This excerpt from thehistoryof.net points up this connection (and contains a delicious irony):
The first American insurance corporation was sponsored by a church – the Presbyterian Synod of Philadelphia – for their ministers and their dependents. Then other needs for insurance were discovered and, in the 1830s, the practice of classifying risks was begun. Although there was religious prejudice against the practice of insurance by a church, after 1840 it declined and life insurance boomed.
It makes sense: if God is in fact who many contemporary conservative-evangelical Christians claim Him to be, insurance is nothing but evidence of a lack of faith. And surely the same should apply to medicine.
Unfortunately, a couple in the US is facing up to 10 years’ jail for manslaughter for holding this very view. Instead of seeking medical help, they relied on prayer as their daughter died of pneumonia.
Most conservative Christians would not hold views as extreme as this. The question is: why not? Nothing in the Bible suggests seeking a physician is an important adjunct to faith healing. And does God answer prayer, or not?
There's a delicious irony in a church being behind the first examples of insurance, as well as a deep sense of hypocrisy.
Esecially as I've just been reading how the Anglican diosceses of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have lost money in the stock-market. When it suits them they act as if God will provide; when it doesn't they don't.
Posted by Scott McKenzie