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Old October 23rd, 2017, 12:22 PM   #1
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Post If Your God is a Jerk—It Might Be You

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“To listen to lots of Christians—God must be a real a-hole.” – A non-Christian friend

When a series of devastating hurricanes struck last month, sitcom actor turned evangelical celebrity Kirk Cameron took to social media to remind us that the series of massive hurricanes currently leveling large swaths of the planet—are just God trying to tell us something.

In a video recorded at the Orlando Airport (on his way out), Cameron sermonizes:

When he (God) puts his power on display, it’s never without reason. There’s a purpose. And we may not always understand what that purpose is, but we know it’s not random and we know that weather is sent to cause us to respond to God in humility, awe and repentance.

The storms are not random, he says, they are on purpose—God’s purpose. They are intentional creations. Never mind that scores of people have been killed, hundreds of thousands left homeless, and many in these very moments enduring unimaginable fear, Kirk wants you to know that God did it to you—and well, you need to figure out why.

This is the Christian Right’s go-to move. For decades celebrity evangelists and Bible Belt pastors have appointed themselves sanctified meteorologists; telling us why a loving but angry God is pummeling His children with tsunamis, tornadoes, and floods. They blame the abortionists and the gays and the Democrats, for the Creator of the Universe dialing up some funnel clouds and tidal waves and tearing up the place—so you’ll want to repent from whatever it is you did that pissed him off. (I mean, sure millions of otherwise innocent people are being devastated in the process of punishing a small segment of the population, but hey God works in mysterious ways.)

Cameron’s variation on this theme is more subtle than some of his preacher friends but just as toxic. It places the burden on individual people to psychoanalyze God; to somehow discern what He is telling them specifically in weather events that wreak havoc across miles and for multitudes. Talk about an ego trip: figuring out why deadly storms causing billions of dollars of damage—is somehow about you.

A few years ago I was having a rough week, I was exhausted, and really wasn’t feeling like speaking on Sunday. (Yes, pastors sometimes pray for snow days too.) That Saturday evening we were hit with a powerful winter ice storm that shut the whole city down for the weekend. When I got the news that services were cancelled, for a split-second I exhaled an involuntary “Thank you!,” realizing almost immediately how ridiculous that was; that I was somehow subconsciously connecting the dots between this destructive weather event—and my personal fatigue. It was as if I was saying, “God, thanks for paralyzing the city, cutting power to thousands, and leaving everyone house bound so that I could have a day off!”

This week, in his first Sunday preaching after the devastation in Houston following Hurricane Harvey, Pastor Joel Osteen said to his megachurch congregation which included many new refugees, “The reason it may seem like God is not waking up is not because he’s ignoring you, not because he’s uninterested, it’s because he knows you can handle it.”

So (Joel claims) God loves and respects these folk’s strength so much—he displaced them, destroyed their belongings and pets, and killed their neighbors. (A pat on the back or a new car would have been sufficient.) I’m not sure that’s a God I’m interested in and I know it isn’t a God that non-Christians will be compelled to seek: one who sounds like an abusive parent or partner: “I love you so I hurt you.”

A non-Christian friend commenting on Cameron’s video today said to me:, “So, according to Conservatives, this year God elected Trump, killed a girl in Charlottesville, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes—He sounds like a real a**hole.” My friend, like many people, sees people like Kirk Cameron or Jerry Falwell or Joel Osteen and is certain he wants no part of that kind of malignant religion.

Christians, for all sorts of reasons it’s really precarious business trying to use any painful or deadly events as a platform to preach—among them:

1) We really have no idea what God does or doesn’t do, and just how if at all, God works in weather patterns and mass shootings and widespread tragedy. It’s more than likely God has nothing directly to do with any of it, but in the absence of surety, we should choose silence.

2) People who are wounded and grieving and heartbroken need to be cared for and comforted and embraced—they don’t need any armchair theology about why this is a good thing, or how it’s a Divine personal message, or what God might be personally saying to them. It’s one thing for a victim to seek and speculate on such things for themselves, but something else for us to do it for them.

3) By trying to interpret natural disasters and terrible circumstances, we easily convert them into a sort of weaponized religious propaganda, we end up assigning to God all our fears and prejudices and hangups—we run the risk of believing and making other people believe, that God is as much of a jerk as we are.
https://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/09/08/god-ahole-might/

Some people find an excuse to behave like a "jerk", based on myopic interpretations and convenient claims.
This article hits a nail on the head.
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Old October 23rd, 2017, 12:35 PM   #2
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re-posted on facebook - thanks
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Old October 23rd, 2017, 12:57 PM   #3
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Everyone knows it's because of legalizing same sex marriage. And stuff.

But why is it that "good" christians seem to be dying at the same rate as us heathens?

That's the part they can never explain.
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Old October 23rd, 2017, 01:20 PM   #4
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God must be pissed at the US, ever since we switched from presidents who were real believers to atheists that go to church and pretend to believe to fool the shitkickers....
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Old October 23rd, 2017, 02:02 PM   #5
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God must be pissed at the US, ever since we switched from presidents who were real believers to atheists that go to church and pretend to believe to fool the shitkickers....
Yep that Obama was quite the character, going to The Church of Goddam America.
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Old October 23rd, 2017, 04:38 PM   #6
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You know how I hate to state the obvious but here it comes: GOD is not a He. God is not a SHE. God it not a puppetmaster, pulling strings. God is not Zeus--rolling the dice. God is not a person so why do we keep equating God to Humans? I guess it's the only way our little pea brains can figure things out.

Has anyone read the book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" by Rabbi Harold Kushner? Although the question is impossible to answer, Kushner says this and it may help believers:
“Is there an answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people?...The response would be…to forgive the world for not being perfect, to forgive God for not making a better world, to reach out to the people around us, and to go on living despite it all…no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it has happened.” Kushner also says "pain is the price we pay for living".
We are all fighting some kind of battle. Kindness/love is the answer. Not blame.
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Old October 23rd, 2017, 04:50 PM   #7
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You know how I hate to state the obvious but here it comes: GOD is not a He. God is not a SHE. God it not a puppetmaster, pulling strings. God is not Zeus--rolling the dice. God is not a person so why do we keep equating God to Humans? I guess it's the only way our little pea brains can figure things out.

Has anyone read the book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" by Rabbi Harold Kushner? Although the question is impossible to answer, Kushner says this and it may help believers:
“Is there an answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people?...The response would be…to forgive the world for not being perfect, to forgive God for not making a better world, to reach out to the people around us, and to go on living despite it all…no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it has happened.” Kushner also says "pain is the price we pay for living".
We are all fighting some kind of battle. Kindness/love is the answer. Not blame.
What in the hell would the creative power of the universe need a gender or a race or even a physical form for???
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Old November 3rd, 2017, 07:37 AM   #8
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What in the hell would the creative power of the universe need a gender or a race or even a physical form for???
The answers to those questions are in the bible. Study it.
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Old November 3rd, 2017, 07:44 AM   #9
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The answers to those questions are in the bible. Study it.
My apologies. I thought you were knowledgeable about the Bible and knew.
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Old November 3rd, 2017, 09:31 AM   #10
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I know the answers.

1) God works in mysterious ways.

2) God knows what's best for you.

3) It is not man's place to question god. (I guess it's OK for women)

4) Man can not know god's intentions.

And on and on.

He sends killer storms. He allows all kinds of sickness, disease and parasites that even claim innocent young babies. But he loves you - unless you don't kiss his ass. Then you spend eternity in abject suffering.
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