What crime, what fault, have these infants committed Who are crushed and bloody on their mother’s breast?

After the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, which killed 30,000 and left the city in ruins, Voltaire wrote a poem that questioned the Leibnizian notion, expressed most pithily in Pope’s famous words, “Whatever is, is right.” Divine providence being benign, this notion holds, all must be for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds, despite appearances to the contrary, and nothing could be other than it is. Voltaire sharply challenged this view in his “Poem on the Lisbon Disaster; Or an Examination of the Axiom that All Is Well.”

Will you say, on seeing this pile of dead:
“God is revenged, their death is the price of their crimes”?
What crime, what fault, have these infants committed
Who are crushed and bloody on their mother’s breast?
Did Lisbon, which is no more, have more vices
Than Paris, than London, which are sunk in pleasures?

Theodore Dalrymple

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood pPilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, q“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you rrepent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in sSiloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you rrepent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13

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