3 thoughts on “Rev Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields

  1. “Conception and birth are a profound mystery, second only to the wonder of life itself”.

    No, they’re not. We now know a great deal about conception, embryonic development and birth, including what can go wrong during the process and how we can treat it (see for instance https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/fetal-surgery/about/pac-20384571). Miscarriages are a sad but unsurprising side-effect of a complex process: according to some estimates, over half of conceptions result in spontaneous abortions.

    Life itself is a bit more of a challenge. The religious reaction is often along the lines “It’s a mystery, so the IMF must have done it”. The scientist replies “It’s a mystery, but we’re working on it”.

    And if anyone’s going to solve the tragic problem of late-term fetal abnormalities and miscarriages, it’s the scientists, not the preachers.


  2. Yet again, a member of the professionally pious raises a distressing and emotive issue without addressing the elephant in the room of why his omnipotent*, omnibenevolent, omniscient IMF-“creator” would allow such profound tragedy and suffering to happen in the first place.

    or not, if you’re Giles after arguing yourself into an inescapable corner.


  3. Excellent comments above. I was left wondering what the ‘faith perspective’ was, exactly. Dr Wells quoted a couple of dislocated words of scripture, no context given, but didn’t venture near the declaration from ‘Genesis’ that – because of Eve’s dreadful sinning in tempting Adam (the far more serious sin than that of tasting the fruit in the first place) all women would thereafter suffer terrible pain in childbirth. Very nice; thanks IMF. The scripture also teaches that childbirth makes a woman impure, and instructs men to avoid being contaminated by contact with them until they’ve been ritually cleansed. Again, very nice, thanks IMF. That’s about the extent of the BBoMS’s gynaecological advice – except of course the information that the IMF can by-pass the sordid, guilt-ridden sex act by making a virgin girl pregnant without laying a finger on her – and without her knowing either (no pregnancy tests then, just wait to hear from an Angel). Most rational people of course know this is all a load of tosh; religious people on the other hand are either mad enough to declare it all ‘true,’ or sufficiently embarrassed to avoid being questioned on the subject.

    I was struck by the piece before TFtD dealing with the horrific state of the COVID pandemic in India, which told how Hindus are being urged to go to the temples and pray. The utter futility of that exercise makes the tragedy even more desperate and depressing.


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