by: John Tyrrell
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This week, Pat Robertson spouted off on peace in the Middle East. Apparently, if the US pressures Israel into making compromises with the Palestinians, then God is going to arrange for the United States to suffer some natural disasters.
“If the United States pressures Israel to try to give up half of Jerusalem, God himself is going to come against this nation. Watch it.”
We'll watch it, Pat. Apparently God takes a personal interest in American foreign policy, and whenever he doesn't like it, he sends a natural disaster.
It seems to me that if that though is true, then God has consistently objected to US foreign policy since... oh, about 1776.
Of course, the line about natural disasters being an indication of God's wrath says something about God's character. He does not care about the distinction between the guilty and the innocent. He just likes to punish indiscriminately. It does not matter to God that many of those killed might have been opponents of the policy that got his dander up.
We have seen preachers claiming a natural disaster in America was caused by God's wrath over abortion. And many of those killed were never involved in an abortion and/or actively opposed abortion.
We have seen preachers claiming a natural disaster in America was caused by God's wrath over homosexuality. And the majority of those killed were heterosexuals, and a fair proportion opposed homosexual activity.
We have seen preachers claiming a natural disaster in America was caused by God's wrath over the secularization of society. And the majority of those killed were professing Christians
What kind of God is this? And how can anyone claim God is sending a message when he is so indiscriminate in his way of delivering the message. Is he just thoroughly so stupid as to obscure his purpose through murdering predominantly the innocent?
This supposed God has a natural weapon in his arsenal which could target those that manage to offend God and leave the innocent unharmed. I speak, of course of lightning.
God doesn't like American foreign policy? Then an intelligent God, if he thought violence was the way to send a message, could strike down the Secretary of State with a lightening bolt. Repeat as necessary until the correct godly policy is implemented.
God does not like same sex marriage? Then an intelligent God, if he thought violence was the way to send a message, could strike down the couple at the altar along with the presiding clergyperson. Repeat as necessary until same sex marriage ceases.
God does not like abortion? Then an intelligent God, if he thought violence was the way to send a message, could strike down both the woman and the doctor involved. Repeat as necessary until abortion ceases.
If an intelligent God really wanted different behaviour, surely he'd use such a weapon, one which would harm only the target.
And yet the evidence is that deaths by lightning have dramatically decreased over the past half century. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
From 1968 to 2010, deaths from lightning in the United States decreased by 78.6% among males and 70.6% among females. During this 43-year period, a total of 3,389 deaths from lightning were recorded, an average of 79 per year. The highest yearly total of deaths from lightning (131) was recorded in 1969, and the lowest total (29) was recorded in 2008 and again in 2010. During the period, 85.0% of lightning deaths were among males.
I think the evidence is clear. No intelligent deity out there is expressing concern about abortion, homosexuality, secularization, American foreign policy, or any of the myriad other sins which fundamentalist preachers obsess about. That leaves only the stupid deities to be worried about. And there's no satisfying stupidity.
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