A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


There's been a whole slew of articles addressing the question of where God was in the tsunami disaster. Many of them present a view of the divine which makes one wonder why such an entity could be worshipped. Philip Jensen, Anglican dean of Sydney thinks that the disaster may be reflective of God's judgment. Albert Mohler, of the Southern Baptists agrees, arguing that Christians are required to see God's hand in this event which has killed 140,000 people while affirming God's goodness.

To have such a view, supposes that human life is worth little, and can be dispensed with if some divine 'good' can be had. In one piece, this translates into God protecting religious shrines while doing nothing to protect human life. The result is we cut God off from human good. It recently has occurred to me, that this might be a line which separates religious adherents, especially in protestantism today. Perhaps liberal protestantism in seeking to humanize religious faith ends up agreeing with Plato who says:

"God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things that occur to men; for few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good only is to be attributed to him; of the evil other causes have to be discovered."

This is not, as Albert Mohler charges, deism or an absent deity. It's rather a God which is found in those things which make for good, for life, and for deepening community. One other item of note: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has just released it's long anticipated sexuality report. The recommendations? Maintain the status quo by keeping the ban on gay and lesbian ordination and same sex unions in the church. The denomination has decided that gay and lesbians can be sacraficed for the goal of avoiding conflict. Not a high moment for the church.

3 Comments:

At 7:56 PM , Blogger isaiah said...

Albert Mohler's response on Larry King a few evening's ago was typical of 'Christainity'... close minded, judgemental, and hypocritical. He was the only guest to segragate himself and 'his God'(guests were Deepak Chopra, Albert Mohler, Jr., Father Michael Manning, Dr. Maher Hathout, senior adviser to the Muslim public affairs counsel, Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of "Tikkun" magazine, where he wrote the article where was god in the tsunami? and Henepola Gunaratana, a Buddhist monk in New York City who's from Sri Lanka one of the hardest-hit areas.)

Where is God in the Tsunami? Where is God not?

Wayne Dyer has this to say in an interview with Belief Net:

"'Swami Paramananda said, 'Self realization means that we’ve been consciously connected with our source of being and once we've made this connection then nothing can go wrong."

So you don't look at those things as 'going wrong.' Wrong is an attitude of the ego. How can an earthquake be wrong? An earthquake is. It just is.'"

http://www.beliefnet.org/story/141/story_14161_1.html

Saying 'God' causes this or that or has 'his' hand in evil doings and disasters is rooted in fear- thinking, I believe. It may be a very different story should a tidal wave wipe us out here on Hilton Head Island...I believe one really doesn't know until one meets the self in the circumstance. I have lived a very charmed, privileged life and I have been blessed in all things. Ask me where I stand in the midst of the storm, should it come my way.

Is there some place where 'God' isn't? If, as I believe, we are never 'born' and never 'die' separate from Spirit...the illusion is in believing from an egotistical point of view. I will affirm with all my might and strength, heart and spirit always...and give into, surrender to the peace found in the reality that 'everything (everything) is always in Divine Order.’

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol [Hell], behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold

 
At 12:00 PM , Blogger ChesapeakeBlue said...

This morning, I read in my local paper that recent infrared telescopy has discovered the largest black hole yet recorded. The black hole itself is larger than our solar system, and it both sucks in material and spews out radiation and material over an area 600 times larger than our galaxy, the Milky way. Yep, that's what it said - 600 times larger than a whole galaxy (50 billion+ stars in our galaxy, I believe).

So, God thinks big, on a scale unimaginably beyond ours. I've been wrestling with this issue on my blog, and have concluded that I cannot deny that God had a hand in the tsunami. If you accept evolution, as I do, and you accept that God created man, as I also do, then God had to manipulate the physical world to do it. I cannot exclude any further manipulation, simply because I am here (Man is now done, God, take me out of the oven!).

As to human life, it may be worth a great deal, but this is a complex system. How do you know the "worth" of the deaths of the victims without being able to guage the consequences (over billions of years, remember, God thinks big) of all of the alternatives? Ultimately, I think we are left with faith - whether of belief or of fidelity. I cannot possibly know why that tsunami was necessary. God is so far beyond me.

It does seem awfully presumptuous to believe that God was warning that his judgment was coming by drowning whole families. Surely, God could make his message a little more explicit and less deadly. God, for example, could quite easily start a blog, free, right here on Blogger, and say "My judgment is coming." Fewer babies would die, certainly.

 
At 9:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey,

You might check out this blog for some interesting commentary on the tsunami, from Sri Lanka and Indonesia:

www.faithfulamerica.blogspot.com

 

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