Is God fair?

Two questions: are you an attractive person? And, do you vote Conservative or Labour? You may think the questions are not related, but they are. Studies have shown (always a good phrase) that attractive people tend to move to the political right, while the ugly mugs tend to the left. The theory behind this is that attractive people have more social interaction, have better relations with schoolteachers, are more credible, have more useful contacts, and have a higher self confidence to support their resolve for achievement.

And there’s more to it than that. Standing in the dock you have a better chance to be found not guilty; in a civil case you are more likely to win and to get higher damages. The attractive child is less likely to be seen as the aggressor in a squabble, and more likely to be seen as intelligent. Go for a job interview and you have a better chance of being chosen. And so it goes on. You may think that appearances shouldn’t matter, but in fact they do. You may think that you do not judge by appearances but most of us do just that. And the final danger is that we are usually not aware of this bias, we like to think we are being fair.

Of course this is only a tendency, it’s easy enough to pick out attractive socialists or plain jane right-wingers – but nevertheless it makes a difference, and a difference which can follow us throughout our lives. Since I live in between socialism and toryism, but belong to neither, I must assume that my own attractiveness level is also somewhere in the middle.

It faces us again with the same old question: is God fair? Why are some people born with disadvantages, while others leave the starting line with a spurt. Why was I born in the leafy suburbs when I might have been born in so many countries where decent life and reasonable security is impossible – we hear about them every time we turn on the wireless.

Do I feel guilty about this? Not really, my guilt lies in my failure to use my natural advantages sufficiently to help those who are without them.

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
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15 Responses to Is God fair?

  1. galerimo says:

    The distribution of social or economic advantages has nothing to do with God.

    We all come to life in the same magnificent, abundant and bloody earth. How it has all been arranged before us with its different measures of advantage has nothing to do with God. Its been given to us to manage, not God. We have not been fair with each other.

    There certainly is no fairness in God and that is plain. Taking forty years to get to a destination that could have been arrived at within months, and then having Joshua distribute the land in the way he did – there was nothing “fair” about that. God is quite blatant about God’s bias. It has always been a favour heavily skewed in favour of the poor.

    What’s fair about living a life of crime and then entering into eternal glory the same day as Jesus just because you can see what is in front of you. Or arriving on the job just before everyone else is knocking off and getting paid the same as all the rest. Fair? No Jesus – not fair.

    Is God fair? As usual with any theological question the problem is not with the attribute “fair”, the problem is God.

  2. John Thomas says:

    Yes, the assumption behind this thinking is that God determines where and when we are born (and therefore, presumably, other things in life – our life – and human affairs/human history generally) – is this a correct way to look at it? I wonder …

  3. GD says:

    When we see – and live accordingly – beyond the ‘form’ of things, as God does, then we will be able to imitate & undrstand God’s fairness. Justrice & Mercy so in balance neither are applicable.

  4. ignatius says:

    “Fair” in relation to what?

  5. Nektarios says:

    This is a silly question. The reason being, because our oh so limited perception thinks life is unfair to some and not others, therefore we want to blame someone, God.

    Sin is the root cause of all our ills, political social, religious. Sin is in our nature, why did God allow sin to enter the human race? Was that unfair of God?
    On the other hand, are we being unfair to God? I suspect we are.

  6. John Nolan says:

    The most unprepossessing men have had considerable success with women; two historical examples are HG Wells and John Wilkes, the latter reputed to be the ugliest man in England, but who claimed that after five minutes’ conversation with him people would no longer notice his face. There are present-day examples.

    Wit, charm and above all money trump physical attractiveness any day. Did I say ‘Trump’?

  7. John Candido says:

    I don’t think that I could offer anything more; you have all covered this question with aplomb!

  8. John Candido says:

    As general feedback, is it worth introducing Facebook’s symbols of ’like’, ’laugh’, ’wow’, ’sad’, and ’anger’, for contributors comments in SecondSight?

    I have become so addicted by Facebook that I am on it every day.

    • Quentin says:

      Personally, I value the reasons behind contributors’ views. And those with which I disagree are important to me because they are a challenge which may lead me to a better understanding. The one-word emotional reaction does nothing for me,

  9. John Candido says:

    I am using my iPhone mostly in posting and reading comments on SecondSight.

    It is much more convenient for me.

    If any of you want to do this, there is a spelling and grammar checker that is ideal for this purpose called ’Grammarly.’

    It can be used on your desktop or laptop computer in a ’free’ version.

    There is a subscription where you get all of the bells and whistles and is well worth it.

    I have a paid subscription.

    I am not sure if there is a free version for smartphones, but I suspect that there is one.

    The website is,

    http://www.grammarly.com

    Grammarly comes with my warmest recommendations.

    Cheers!

  10. galerimo says:

    It’s just not fair how these third party keyboards that form part of the app can access all the data you type, including bank account and credit card numbers, street addresses, as well as other personal and sensitive information – even though they get recommended with all sincerity.

    • John Candido says:

      I am aware of this criticism and I have forgotten the reasons why I have come to trust that they are not going to try anything funny with my or anyone else’s personal information.

  11. GD says:

    Am i missing a few posts here? n…. Suddenly we are into pc tech …. JC do i sense a ‘euphoria’ in your ‘attachmen’t? Better watch it … there are only so many hours in the day.

  12. Iona says:

    Re John Nolan’s comment of yesterday: I doubt if the converse is true, that unprepossessing women can have “success” with men.

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