Palestine, Texas

In those strangely meaningful coincidences that happen regularly in life and are inexplicable in terms of rational cause and effect, Providence (or whatever we want to call it) frequently displays what could be described as a mischievous sense of humor. Or at least it has been so in my experience. One such meaningful coincidence occurred this weekend, but was anything but funny: the Columbia Space Shuttle, with the first-ever Israeli astronaut in its crew, disintegrating in mid-air and crashing in, of all places, a town called Palestine.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 01, 2003 11:21 PM | Send

Some would say our lack of ability to understand why these brave, innocent pilots and scientists met their end so horribly yesterday must mean there’s no God — otherwise why didn’t God look after them?

Thus, for example, Bertrand Russell, expressing this same syllogism a little differently, said (during, I think, the 1930s or 1940s),

“[You ask why I doubt the existence of God?] Don’t you think that if you were omniscient and omnipotent, and, not only that, had all of eternity in which to bring your creation to perfection, you’d be able to come up with something better than the Fascists and the Ku Klux Klan?”

Some religions deal with this mystery by concluding that good and evil don’t exist, but are illusions. I’m talking of course mainly about sects of Buddhism. But every now and then a partial form of this conclusion pops up in the West (where our JudŠo-Christian religion, THANK GOD!, protects the West against the full expression and entrenchment of this particular version of nihilism) in for example the original form of Calvinism, which was not exactly this but contained a flavor of it, or in the French saying, “Tout comprendre, c’est tout pardonner,” again not exactly it but carrying a hint of it, or in some forms of present-day liberalism, in which, as Mr. Auster explains in his reply to Jody, there lurks again not exactly it, but a hint of it — liberals deny not the existence of “good and evil,” but sometimes sort of deny of the existence of one-half of that duo, namely the existence of “evil.” Mr. Auster writes,

“It’s impossible for liberals to accept these facts, for the same reason that it’s impossible for them to accept the reality of criminals or enemies. To accept that reality would mean to accept (1) that people are not basically good; and (2) that therefore the bad or evil choices that individuals make are not the fault of ‘root causes’ inhering in our society, but in the character and choices of those individuals.”

Posted by: Unadorned on February 2, 2003 10:22 AM

Does the fact that Americans and Israelis fell from the heavens over a place named Palestine have some sort of phrophetic significance? It’s just one of those things that generates an odd feeling, perhaps. My prayers go to the families of the brave men and women who were lost so tragically.

Posted by: Carl on February 2, 2003 12:34 PM

Another irony is that it was the left wing of the shuttle that caused the problem.

Posted by: John Ray on February 3, 2003 2:28 AM

Palestine is a beautiful, God fearing Southern town. Keep your filthy opinions and beliefs off of it.

Posted by: Matt Heermans on October 29, 2004 1:13 PM

You’re ridiculously oversensitive. There was nothing disrespectful said about the town of Palestine. We were talking about the fascinating and meaningful coincidence of the name.

And by the way, Mr. Heermans, is telling other people to keep their “filthy hands” off something the way you express your love of your town and your fear of God? Take a look in the mirror, and see the one who has been insulting here.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on October 29, 2004 11:55 PM
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