This, from the Dilbert blog, by Scott Adams. As an opening salvo in a discussion of theodicy, it’s not bad.
|According to MSNBC, about 50 people died in Saudi Arabia during the annual ritual of throwing stones at the devil. Apparently a stampede broke out when somebody tripped on luggage. That sounds like a poorly conceived punch line, but it actually happened. And it isn’t the first time. In 1990, 1,426 people died in a stampede while throwing stones at the very same devil. (No word as to whether luggage was involved.) And in 2004, the devil killed another 244 stone-throwers the same way. By my count, the score is Devil 1,720 and Believers 0.|
|This is on the same day that the guy who shot John Paul II was freed. Clearly, the devil is having a good day.|
|I think it’s interesting that when you pray to God for a new bike, it hardly ever materializes in your bedroom within seconds. But when you throw stones at the devil, quite often you get an immediate response. That’s an example of good customer service…|
His first commenter, Irshaad, makes a telling point about the Saudi arrangements for this ceremony:
What’s needed is for the Saudi’s to be seriously taken to book for their dismal incompetence at managing the flow of crowds during the hajj over the years. Having visited the hajj sites (not during the hajj but in the “off season” – it’s fairly evident that there are several areas where there are serious man-made bottlenecks and until those are alleviated, these unfortunate incidences are going to repeatedly (and unnecessarily) recur. The score is currently on the side of Saudi inaction and incompetence and against the pilgrims who (if they want to go on hajj) have to unfortunately put their lives into the care (ha!) of the Saudi hajj management committee.
Irshaad has his own blog, Islam From the Inside Out. He is worth reading, though he doesn’t seem to post often. I recommend looking at his images and reading the post on knowledge.