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Meditation 276
Damned by God

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In early November, while staying in Moab, Utah, I went to Newspaper Rock, a petroglyph site on one of the entrance roads[1] into Canyonlands National Park.

Across the road from Newspaper Rock is a Forestry Service campground. Like most such campgrounds, it operates on the honour system, pay by leaving your money in an envelope in a metal collection box, put the numbered stub from the envelope on your dashboard.

The sign at the entrance to the campground had been vandalized with the following message:

WE DON'T NEED A CAMPGROUND HERE.
TAKE OUT THIS PAY BOX OR I WILL.
WHAT YOU ARE DOING HAS BEEN DAMNED BY GOD.
WRONG WRONG WRONG

I could comment on the writer's shaky economics: the idea that his[2] own lack of need for the campground automatically applied to everyone else; or the idea that removing the pay box, making camping free, would discourage use of the campground. But this is not Economics 101.

Clearly the writer has a problem with the existence of this particular campground. Yet he is unable to articulate what the problem is. Possibly it is the proximity to the petroglyphs. Possibly it is that he considers the area environmentally unstable. Possibly he is one of those who having discovered a beautiful spot, is simply unwilling to share it with others. And these are just some of the things which might have supported his position. (Though not the vandalism.)

But rather than develop a coherent case, the writer decides that if he personally does not like the campground, then logically this must be God's position too. Thus those who disagree with the vandal are disagreeing with God, and consequently are damned.

Where do God's laws come from, whether they be reasonable laws, unreasonable laws or totally irrational laws? Ultimately, they come from individuals who think like the person who vandalized this forestry service sign.

Footnotes:

  1. On SR 211, right turn off US 191 about 35 miles south of Moab.
  2. An admittedly sexist assumption, .