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Why Does He Do It?
Entry 1146, on 2010-01-21 at 21:48:31 (Rating 5, Religion)
I read an interesting article at the BBC web site recently. It was titled "Why does God allow natural disasters?" and was provoked by the natural disaster in Haiti. Its a good question really, isn't it? Why does god (assuming a god even exists) allow natural disasters to happen?
Well there are several possible answers...
The first is the most obvious and the one which is true in my opinion: there is no god. If there was no god then we would expect natural disasters to occur occasionally simply because of the laws of physics. That is what happens and it all seems to fit but it isn't the only possible answer.
Another possibility is that god exists but he doesn't care about what happens on Earth, at least he doesn't care about issues on the scale of a single natural disaster. This contradicts the beliefs of just about every religion but I'm confident that if there is a god he bears no resemblance to the one described by religions anyway, so that's not necessarily a problem.
Maybe god exists and cares but can't do anything about it. Maybe he doesn't have infinite powers (like many religions claim) and is just as distressed as the rest of us when these things happen. If he can't help out with these disasters even though he wants to then he's not much of a god though, is he? I tend to reject this idea.
Its not like god hasn't been asked to help. The majority of people in Haiti are religious and millions around the world have been praying for the survivors. So what has happened? Another earthquake hit today. Surely god would have heard the prayers for help and at least stopped that from happening. Apparently not.
So maybe god exists, cares, can help but doesn't because he's evil. Certainly most descriptions of the god of the main religions (Christianity, etc) do make him look evil. So sending another earthquake after his followers were praying for help seems like just the sort of thing an evil, sadistic bully would do. That does make sense.
An excuse often used by Christians is that God gives us free will so he cannot interfere with natural events like earthquakes. That's like letting your child be crushed by an out of control bulldozer because you want to give them some freedom. There is a point where any responsible entity will intervene even if he does rate freedom highly.
And these are the same people who pray for God's help a lot and believe God intervened in creating the universe and guiding events on the Earth for thousands of years so their theory has about as much credibility as the other nonsense Christians come up with: approximately zero.
The final possibility, and one which Christians also often favour, is that God is making a point. Maybe there was some behaviour going on in Haiti which he disapproved of. Many Haitians practice Voodoo and other non-Christian superstitions, so God might be jealous (he is certainly portrayed as being jealous in the Old Testament).
If he was making a point why not kill all the people doing the things he doesn't like and leave the babies, children, and other innocents alone? Apparently he doesn't work that way (even in the OT myths he was rather non-selective about who he slaughtered which gets back to the evil god theory again).
There is one other possibility I didn't consider until now. That is that god is doing something which makes perfect sense in the "larger picture" but that we can't understand it. Maybe the people he killed will have a great time in the afterlife. This is really one of the most despicable lies Christians follow (and they follow plenty of others).
If we cannot understand god then all bets are off. Its a total appeal to ignorance and we might as well just admit we are no better than superstitious savages. We surely expect his actions to make sense in some way: why have a baby born then kill it (possibly slowly and in great pain) so that it can have a good life in heaven? What a load of dishonest nonsense!
The church leaders have no answers either. From the BBC: Faced with this question, Archbishop of York John Sentamu said he had "nothing to say to make sense of this horror", while another clergyman, Canon Giles Fraser, preferred to respond "not with clever argument but with prayer".
I have had several people email me appeals to offer prayers for Haiti. I emailed them back and told them to get some morality. The first thing I did was donate money (to a non-religious charity). That's actually helping. I have nothing but contempt for the pathetic Christian scum who think praying (or worse: the ultimate insult of sending the Haitians Bibles) is OK and excuses them from doing anything useful like parting with the cash that many of them value so much.
And yes, I do accept that there are some Christian organisations who genuinely help but I do think that if everyone was an atheist the help for Haiti would be far greater after it was stripped of useless gestures like prayer and copies of the Bible.
I read this in an Associated Press article: "Sunday night, as downtown residents began burning some of the bodies that have been rotting on the streets for five days, a woman walking by in an orange dress pulled out a copy of the Bible. She flung it into the fire." The best thing for it!
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