Category Archives: Religious Fanaticism

God and Disasters

In view of the horrific effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan I ask myself how Christians can continue to reconcile their unwavering belief in an imaginary being  with such cruel reality on this earth. A C Grayling’s “God and Disasters” asks the same question:

God and Disaster

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One thinks with sorrow of the hundreds of thousands whose lives have been horrendously lost or affected by the great Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which will put a black mark against this year 2011 in the annals, coming so soon after the earthquake that hit Christchurch in New Zealand. The events are almost certainly linked tectonically, reminding us of the vast forces of nature that are normal for the planet itself but inimical to human life, especially when lived dangerously close to the jigsaw cracks of the earth’s surface.

Someone told me that there were to be special prayers in their local church for the people of Japan. This well-intentioned and fundamentally kindly proceeding nevertheless shows how absurd, in the literal sense of this term, are religious belief and practice. When I saw the television footage of people going to church in Christchurch after the tragic quake there, the following thoughts pressed.

It would be very unkind to think that the churchgoers were going to give thanks that they personally escaped; one would not wish to impute selfishness and personal relief in the midst of a disaster in which many people arbitrarily and suddenly lost their lives through ‘an act of God’. If they were going to pray for their god to look after the souls of those who had died, why would they think he would do so since he had just caused, or allowed, their bodies to be suddenly and violently crushed or drowned?

Indeed, were they praising and supplicating a deity who designed a world that causes such arbitrary and sudden mass killings? An omniscient being would know all the implications of what it does, so it would know it was arranging matters with these awful outcomes. Were they praising the planner of their sufferings for their sufferings, and also begging his help to escape what he had planned?

Perhaps they think that their god was not responsible for the earthquake. If they believe that their god designed a world in which such things happen but left the world alone thereafter and does not intervene when it turns lethal on his creatures, then they implicitly question his moral character. If he is not powerful enough to do something about the world’s periodic murderous indifference to human beings, then in what sense is he a god? Instead he seems to be a big helpless ghost, useless to pray to and unworthy of praise.

For if he is not competent to stop an earthquake or save its victims, he is definitely not competent to create a world. And if he is powerful enough to do both, but created a dangerous world that inflicts violent and agonizing sufferings arbitrarily on sentient creatures, then he is vile. Either way, what are people thinking who believe in such a being, and who go to church to praise and worship it? How, in the face of events which human kindness and concern registers as tragic and in need of help – help which human beings proceed to give to their fellows: no angels appear from the sky to do it – can they believe such an incoherent fiction as the idea of a deity? This is a perennial puzzle.

Sarah Palin, her new culture war and her book of myths

  • Like the German news magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ says : “Sahra Palin’s book is full of trivial statements, historical myth and pseydo truths” (http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,730554,00.html)But she and her ‘false reality’ have to be taken seriously because its simplisitic gibberish feeds into the fears of many Americans that their country is going to the dogs if Obama stays in power. She vilifies whomever and whatever she can and her platitudes fuel the prejudices of the mostly politically uneducated electorate wo are ready to believe the lies she feeds them about Obama and the Republicans in general.

    it is worrying that her distortions of history and her nasty hate campaign against anyone who is more ‘Liberal’ than she seems to strike a chord with all those looking for easy solutions. Shei is not unlike any other deluded, unhinged political figure – Dangerous and extremely driven. No matter how ludicrous her cry for ‘reclaiming America’, the national financal stress, the unwinnable war in Afghanistan and the increasing ( right wing fuelled) fear of illegal immigrants create a fertile ground for demagoguery. She is like any other demagogue, and the similarity to Hitler is astounding, i.e. completely self-righteous, without a shred of self doubt and full of hate for particular groups of society. Many a tyrant started out being underestimated by the progressive and moderate parts of society, and if Americans do not come to their senses soon, their silence regarding the evil machinations of Sarah Palin and her powerful supporters may create a tyrannical monster that will destroy justice and democracy.

  • Thursday, 25.11.2010: 4.30 pm AEST
    as news about the fighting between North and South Korea are flooding in, Sarah Palin shows her ignorance and confusion by saying on Fox News (where else) that America has to support ‘North’ Korea. – If they don’t get rid of her now than there is no saving the United States of America.
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/sarah-palin-confused-on-koreas-20101125-18899.html?from=smh_sb

  • The Sarah Palin Watchdog Team – PALINGATES:
    http://palingates.blogspot.com/2010/08/sarah-palins-book-america-by-heart.html

 

Evangelical prosperity gospel = Jesus the money-focussed salesman

exerpt of an article by Laura Tiernan – 5.12.2005

…..Emblematic of the growth of the evangelical movement are the Pentecostal mega-churches like Hillsong, in Sydney’s north-western Hills district, which boasts a weekly congregation of 13,000. While Catholic and Anglican churches continue to register shrinking attendance figures, Pentecostal membership has grown 30 percent in the past decade.

The new churches preach a “prosperity gospel”. Believers see wealth as a mark of God’s favour, and poverty as a sign that the poor have strayed from the path of righteousness—and thus deserving of their fate. Many of the new religious orders, like the Oxford Falls Christian City Church, administer business courses offering “fundamental Biblical principles that will determine the success or otherwise of any successful business.” Hillsong’s senior pastor Brian Houston authored his own book, You need more Money, promising to tell “why you need more money and secondly how to get more money”. His regular sermons borrow heavily from the stock-in-trade techniques of motivational speakers and business coaches, with Jesus recast in the image of a money-focussed travelling salesman.