Wednesday, July 25, 2012

God to His Creation: Hey, Don't Blame Me

CNN's religion blog recently posed this question via Twitter: Where was God in the Aurora massacre? The challenge to readers was to explain why the God of their beliefs allows horrors of this type to occur. Not exactly an original question, but relevant in the face of yet another tragedy.

Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies.
Really, I'm serious.
The answers being posted fall into several familiar groups: There's the "God gave us free will" camp, the "Don't blame God for the actions of a madman" faction, and the "Devil made him do it" viewpoint. All of which sound to me like variations on a theme, namely, "I believe that God is omnipotent and in complete control of the cosmos, but He must have been in the john when this happened, because He had nothing to do with it."

If you can believe He made the world in six days,
I can believe He has to go to the bathroom sometimes.
Then there are the proponents of the "It was God's will" theory. Instead of being completely off the hook for the massacre, God actually, willfully caused it to happen. Because He felt like it. He wanted to teach us all a lesson. Unfortunately, He didn't leave us the content of said lesson - "This is for Evan Almighty" or "Stop turning my dinosaurs into gasoline" - which strikes me as odd, since it must have been a pretty important lesson for 12 people to be shot to death in a movie theater. If He thought we could figure it out for ourselves through thoughtful, structured dialogue, He must not spend a lot of time on the Internet.

In addition to typing in all caps, I am shouting at my computer
to demonstrate my sophisticated debate skills.
A subgroup of the will-of-God believers has dedicated itself to one specific reason for His righteous and extremely violent lesson-teaching: "It's because we've pushed God out of society."

What do you expect? We can't take Him anywhere dressed like that.
According to this segment of the population, American society has lost its moral compass because a) kids can't pray in school, b) courthouses can't display the Ten Commandments, c) town squares can't display Nativity scenes at Christmas (or "the holidays," as the Godless call the winter shopping season), and d) gays like Oreos. Without the specifically Christian God intertwined with our daily lives, they believe, there is literally no way to teach people that murder, rape, theft, abuse, and ass-coveting are wrong.

Get your sinful eyes out of here.
Because only a society in which government and religion are inextricably united can be free of heinous wrongdoings perpetrated by nutjobs who fail to heed the word of God.

This is Kabul, in Muslim Afghanistan.
This is Karbala, in Muslim Iraq.
This is the Jewish state of Israel.
This is America in 1930 - when it was still a "Christian" nation.
Folks, if God isn't in your heart, He's not anywhere. That's not a matter to be legislated or imposed. It's just how it is. Maybe you don't even call it God. Maybe you call it goodness or goodwill or love, and in your mind's eye it's not an old guy in a robe but a bright light or a rainbow or a tree. That's OK, too. The people who complain that "we've pushed God out of society" aren't lamenting God at all, but the marginalization of their exclusive version of God. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

It's no coincidence that the Golden Rule - "do unto others as you would have others do unto you" - not only is a concept universal to nearly every culture but doesn't mention the name or even the concept of God. It's a bigger and better idea than than the notion of a Supreme Being flipping our cosmic breakers off and on at His whim.

God: Heh heh, I'm totally sending Steve Nash to the Lakers.
Or sinking a ferry in Indonesia.
I should really label these things one of these days.
So why does God allow terrible tragedies to occur?

Shit, I don't know.

Maybe He's up there wondering the same thing about us.

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