Friday, January 15, 2010

Natural Disasters and God

I know I'm not the first to ponder this subject, nor will I be the last.

But it seems that just when we can start to forget about the last disaster and beginning to enjoy "basking in god's light" as JP would say, disaster strikes again. The catastrophe in Haiti is a painful reminder of the fine, almost invisible line between normal, organized and happy life, and total chaos. 30 seconds seperated them.

Each time something like this happens, I think, "how can they really believe in god?". But they do. We humans have a tremendous ability to rationalize, deny, sublimate. We focus our energies on what needs to be done, and deceive ourselves in any way necessary in order to allow ourselves to go forward. So we choose the believe that the dead have gone to a better place. Or that the disaster happened for some good reason. Or, horrifyingly, that the victims deserved their fate. And then there's natural hypocrisy: when the disaster doesn't happen to us, when its far, far away, we don't even have to ask these uncomfortable questions. In that case we are satisfied with the naturalistic explanation. Shit happens. God doesn't really care about them anyway. Only when it happens to us, we search for an answer.

I think that on the Day of Reckoning, God will hold us accountable for having believed in Him. He'll say, "you idiots, I gave you all of the signs that I don't exist. Natural and man made disasters causing untold pointless suffering. A big brain which was able to unlock the secrets of nature and explain almost everything without the need for "miracles". I gave you "The Big Silent Treatment", refusing to communicate with you or answer your prayers. I even showed you that my Holy Book was a fraud.

Yet you stubbornly persisted in your irrational and evil beliefs, and used them to screw other people. Shame on you.

You go straight to Hell.

11 comments:

Garnel Ironheart said...

Once again, just another anti-religion blog. Boring.

G*3 said...

To be fair, life in Haiti wasn't all that organized before the earthquakes.

Ultimatly, the beleiver falls back on the unknowable divine plan. We can't uderstand God's cheshbon, we just have to trust that He knows what's best.

He's really good, He just sometimes does things that seem bad.

It's really our fault anyway for making Him mad.

If we were more careful to do exactly what He wants, He wouldn't smack us around - I mean, punish us.

We're compared to a bride, God is compared to a groom. Does this sound like a healthy marriage?

DrJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DrJ said...

"Once again, just another anti-religion blog. Boring"

In the title of my blog I clearly stated my intentions.

Sorry you are bored, but nobody is forcing you to stay here.

Garnel Ironheart said...

{Yawn}

> In the title of my blog I clearly stated my intentions.

Yes, so what does yet another irrational attack on something God didn't do have to do with JP this time?

DrJ said...

"Yes, so what does yet another irrational attack on something God didn't do have to do with JP this time?"

Read the comments on his recent posts.

What do you mean God didn't do?

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

Don't you get it? Look at yourself. You have a blog that, instead of dedicating itself to a positive expression of your beliefs, has evolved from mocking another blog into one mocking everything you pretend to believe in.

God isn't in the earthquake. He's in the response from around the globe.

DrJ said...

"God isn't in the earthquake. He's in the response from around the globe."

I recognize that from Harold Shulweis' writing.

Its a nice idea, I'm not sure I buy it-- because what does believing in God add to understanding the events?

At any rate, my post mocks JP's simplistic view of God being in control of events, not Shulwies's idea.

Garnel Ironheart said...

I have no idea who Harold Shulweis is.

Believing in God doesn't add to an understanding of events. Read that last few chapters of Iyov. The universe is far more complex that any human being can understand. Certainly true cause and effect is beyond us. So my belief in God can't help me understand why Haiti msut suffer again and again.

However, belief in God is what gives so many of the Haitians strength to go on despite these calamities instead of succumbing to hope and despair. Belief in God is what motivates so many of the rescuers to enter hell on Earth to save people they otherwise have nothing in common with. Because belief in God leads one to understand there is a higher purpose to the universe and a greater good that binds all of God's creation of humanity.
That's why the streets of Haiti are filled with people singing psalms and prayers night after night. To arrogant fools like Hitchens, they're stupid and primitive but it's their belief that God will try to help them somehow that keeps them going.

DrJ said...

"I have no idea who Harold Shulweis is."

Google him. He wrote a book called, "for those who can't believe".

"...Because belief in God leads one to understand there is a higher purpose to the universe and a greater good that binds all of God's creation of humanity."

In none of my posts do I deny the power of belief and its potential to do good. I don't agree with Hitchens. Like any powerful idea, it has the potential to be used for good or evil. The Taliban who blow themselves up in markets and mosques are also motivated in part by a deep faith in God. And I don't know whether the net effect has been good or bad, both arguments are made.

And there are plenty of secular humanist philanthropists and people who risks their lives to help people in need.

I think that you can look at faith in God as a philosophy or an emotion. To me it is intellectually unsatisfying, since it fails to answer key mysteries of life, and it offends my sense of morality to claim that an all powerful god is responsible for such suffering.

How can you, as a believing Jew, think that God DIDN'T make the earthquake? (either actively or by neglect)

Larry Tanner said...

"God isn't in the earthquake. He's in the response from around the globe."

What a silly and offensive statement! If you believe in God, He was in the Earthquake. It was His. It belonged to Him and He sent it. He inspired people to help and to give, and He inspired Pat Robertson to blurt out his well-publicized bit of stupidity.

If you don't believe that God exists - and I do not - then the earthquake happened because of natural geological processes. It was part of what it's actually like to live on our planet in this universe. People helped and give - and continue to do so - because they feel empathy and they understand that man-made and natural disasters can strike anywhere at any time. And Pat Robertson said what he said because he is a deluded, self-righteous fool.

What's the difference? If you're going to get all godly you don't get to pick and choose where god is or is not. It's your concept so fucking apply it consistently.

People in Haiti don't need god for the strength to go on. The fact is that there's not much choice but to go on. To give up means to suffer more. God doesn't motivate anything except personal delusions of grandeur, as far as I can tell.