*Warning! Strong language contained in this post.*
In all the uproar over Libya, I kind of forgot about Japan. That’s not unusual for me; with my ADD, I’m lucky to hold a thought for more than 5 minutes when there’s nothing interesting going on. Add some outside stimulus and it’s off to the races. And, really, what’s more stimulating than blowing shit up? Yesterday, though, I saw an article on Huffington Post by Adam Hamilton titled Japan’s Earthquake and the Will of God. I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to like this article, much less agree with it, if only because Adam Hamilton wrote it. Nothing personal, it just seems that in the Methodist Church these days, it’s “from God’s lips to Adam’s ear”. Honestly, it seems like we don’t give a damn about a subject until he weighs in on it. Because of that I’m not an Adam Hamilton groupie like so many Methodists seem to be these days. Which is practically heresy, so I’m nothing if not consistent. Anyway, now that I’m down off that soapbox, I’ll climb up another one. Much as it pains me, I have to agree with the good Rev. Hamilton; saying that the earthquake and tsunami are God’s will, divine punishment or the start of the end times is just fucking ridiculous.
Only, he was a lot nicer about than that. In the following excerpt, you can see how he handles the idea that this was divine punishment:
“These acts of violence and widespread destruction are inconsistent with the character of God. Further, when considering whether these acts may be punishment for human sin, the central focus of the Christian gospel, which the present season of Lent is pointing us towards, is that Jesus Christ bore the punishment for human sin on the cross, they’re offering a prayer that would echo throughout history, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
But, you really should read the entire article (see the link above), because it’s a damn good essay on God and suffering. He also points out that we bring the vast majority of suffering on ourselves through our action or inaction. The only thing he didn’t say was that sometimes shit just happens. There are times when things occur in life and you can’t do a damn thing about it. That’s what we saw in Japan; some unavoidable shit happened to totally innocent people and there’s no “spiritual” reason for it. And, that freaks us out. Because, if stuff just happens, God isn’t in control. Some people seem to find great comfort in the idea that God is some celestial puppet master, pulling strings and making things happen all over the world. Not me, though. If they’re right and that’s the case, God isn’t a celestial puppet master, he’s a colossal dick.
I say that last because any God that would miraculously save one person while letting another one die is a dick. Any God whose plan includes the rape and murder of a young woman with her whole life ahead of her, child soldiers in Africa or the murder of 6 million of his “chosen” people is a dick. Any God who not only allows but causes all the misery in this world is a dick and is unworthy of my worship. But, I don’t worship a God like that. The God I worship is about love and He does not condone or cause these things. In fact, he’s taken steps to stop them…, through us. God himself doesn’t intervene because he made us to do it for him. Now, why don’t we get off our asses and do just that.