Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Response to One Skeptic About Katrina and Faith in God

Rich at Uncommon Sense, apparently a religious skeptic, poses some important, valid concerns on his blog post about Katrina today. Even if his concerns are expressed a bit too roughly for your tastes in his post, I Hate to Point This Out, I think that they're worthy of considering:
I'm watching a seemingly endless stream of people on Fox News thanking the Almighty for saving them from the fate of death that certainly befell hundreds of others in New Orleans and surrounding areas. I visited New Orleans for the first time just a few short months ago (May, I believe), and was staying at a place dead-center of the French Quarter. The destruction is heartbreaking.

The disaster is just that, I hate to see it, and anything that comes forth from the mouth of anyone involved is certainly understandable, given the dire predicament that so many face. Just as with the Tsunami in southeast Asia over the holidays, I'll send some money -- if for no other reason, as a symbolic gesture that the State does not need to hold a gun to the head of rational and productive people (taxes) to lend a helping hand when the need is so clear and the victims have no hand in their own demise.

However, has anyone asked the question: if the Almighty is mighty enough to save them from such terrible circumstances, is he not mighty enough to prevent the terrible circumstances in the fist place? I mean, isn't it rather like thanking the assailant who shoots you, for dropping you off at the hospital?

As I said a couple of posts down: God is a real asshole. Rational people who believe in His existence ought to be asking themselves why. (Emphasis mine)
I felt compelled to respond:
I do consider myself a rational person. Only a fool would say that events like Hurricane Katrina don't raise questions about their God and faith in Him.

But I feel that life contains many mysteries I can't explain. Why would God, inifinite and beyond my comprehension, be any different?

Whether all those people who invoke God really were spared by Him, I can't say. I see God as neither a Cosmic Watchmaker, who sets the timepiece and then walks away, or as the Constantly Intervening Orchestrator, who causes every single thing to happen in the world.

I believe that the world is a fallen place in which bad things happen to the good, the bad, and the ugly. I believe that God intervenes when invited and when it conforms to something He wills. But I also believe that miracles are, by definition, rare and that God allows the forces of nature, corrupted though they have become, to work as He designed them to work.

As a one-time atheist, I can only say that years ago, I came to feel that atheism was untenable intellectually.

But once I allowed myself to get to know God through Christ, making God very personal, very accessible, I came to believe in Him as a compassionate deity--that is, as one who "suffers with" us, that being the definition of the world compassion. I also came to believe that the God Who could transform His own seemingly senseless (and undeserved) death on a cross into a resurrection could hold out the valid promise of doing the same for me and for anyone willing to entrust themselves to their fellow sufferer, Jesus.

I've come to rely deeply on the promise that Paul writes about in Romans that "nothing" (and that includes hurricanes) "will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I've written quite a bit about this on my blog.
I feel that while I may disagree with Rich on lots of things, he's honest and rational. I appreciate that.

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