This was a very subtle transition of understanding. When I was secular, I believed that people were responsible for their own actions but when I became religious this was slowly replaced with a new and more dangerous form of understanding, that God is to blame for everything.
I found that most religious people follow this understanding and how it works is simple:
- If something bad happens to religious people, then:
- God is testing you
- It’s a blessing from God in disguise
- God has a plan, and this is part of it, (He’s Mysterious)
- God is closing a door so he can open another door
- God knows the future and is preventing a larger tragedy
- God is taking someone home to spare them
- If something bad happens to secular people, then:
- It’s Gods wrath
- God is sending a warning to change minds
- God removed someone because they are evil
- That person or people lacked faith, so God allowed it, otherwise, he would have stopped or prevented it
I’ll give you an example that comes straight from the headlines.
In 2015, religious leader Tony Perkins stated that Hurricane Joaquin, a devastating storm that hit the Bahamas, was “a sign of God’s wrath”, punishment for abortion and for the legalization of same-sex marriage. The thought here is that God attacked the Bahamas, with a hurricane, killed children, left people without homes because a handful of rich men in Washington passed laws. Adding of course that the men who passed the laws were not only spared but continue to enjoy a life well above average living. God is blamed for causing the tragedy.
Fast forward and you will see, in a surprising turn of events, a devastating storm hit Louisiana destroying Tony Perkins home in a massive flood so devastating that some called it biblical. He now claimed that God sent this deadly flood “as an incredible, encouraging spiritual exercise to take you to the next level in your walk with an almighty and gracious God who does all things well”, adding that Christians are “worthy of suffering for his sake.” The thought here is that God attacked Louisiana, with a devastating storm, killed people, left others without homes to take Tony and his family to the next level. God is blamed for causing the tragedy.
As tragedies occur with machinery, medicine, weapons, vehicles, weather, etc someone is proudly claiming that God did it for righteous reasons. God is blamed, regardless of the casualty count and the number of innocent bystanders that have nothing to do with the lives of the few who were acknowledged as being some kind of special targets. Regardless of mankind cutting corners on cost and safety. Regardless of reckless or irresponsible people. It makes you wonder when a storm happens out at sea with no one to witness it then who is God mad at?
It seems to me that when something goes wrong why not blame those who are responsible. Blame the engineers for making bad designs or drivers for not paying attention. Or blame the people using drugs and alcohol that impair judgment. In the example above why not accept the fact that homes get flooded in flood zones? The only thing stopping us is GREED. We don’t want to spend the money to move the poor and sick when tragedy occurs (GREED). We don’t want to build better escape routes (GREED). We don’t want to create state of the art early warning systems at every location (GREED). Money seems to be more important than human life but does our love of money get blamed? Nope!
I don’t say any of this to defend God because God doesn’t need any of us running defense. I say this because it’s nonsensical for us to pass the buck by blaming God and not fixing our problems and taking responsibility.
This is the last entry in my series on “10 things I learned when I became a religious”.