Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ants in a Rainstorm

It has been about two weeks since the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan and after viewing numerous videos of the crushing floods and whirling tempests raging against the innocents of Japan, one has to wonder why?

Again the thought turns to God. Why would a benevolent God allow the lives of countless thousands to be cast amongst the debris ? It seems utterly senseless. Lives destroyed. Whole families wiped out.

These types of natural disasters have been happening since time immemorial and will no doubt continue. No surprise there. It is just part of the natural process of the changing earth. But when one sees tens of thousands killed in such a disaster as this and others a couple of years ago, it makes you wonder.

The thought does cross your mind that God is punishing mankind for it’s “evil” behavior and I believe there are quite a few out there that prescribe to this thought. However, I do not. Church leaders, politicians and citizens worldwide have reiterated this thought and try to put a theological framework around it. People around me have stated this fact in one way or another. The prominent thought I hear is that these disasters are in preparation for the second coming of Christ and that they will be more and more commonplace. Another is the thought that they are part of the “End of the World” scenario of 2012. Nonsense.

If on the other hand your don’t believe in a “creator” or a God, what would be your opinion of the natural disasters be ? Are we as men just mere ants roaming the surface of earth, going on from design to design, adding hope to hope and laying out plans for many years all for naught ? Are we as men subject to the punishment of an angry and jealous God for our bad behavior and egos, as Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ichihara said recently and that the disaster is “tembatsu” or “divine punishment” ? I think not. God does not get “angry”.
That is a human attribute. Not my God at least.

I personally have a hard time with that. That version of God seems antiquated to me. I could understand a cave man having those thoughts about seeing such destruction because he would not understand the great forces involved and the actual “natural” causes for natural events. That makes sense. But science has provided the “how and why” these things occur, yet this thought still permeates the common consciousness.

I recently read (or should I say, listened to the audio book) Deepak Chopra’s “How to Know God”. In it, he discusses the seven stages of man’s ideas of God. I will not go though them here, but one of the earliest stages is that of “God the Judge”. I believe these people are attaching themselves to this early “God the Judge” version of God. For me, that does not hold true. The stories in the early Bible are also using “God the Judge” to put a framework around natural disasters by trying to equate them God’s punishment for man’s bad behavior. In certain cases the bible authors use “God the Protector” view. Which ever works best for the lesson.

If you believe God is the creator of all things, do you believe he is still active daily in the lives of men ? Does he know all that you are doing and keeps track of your every thought and deed ? Sounds a bit strange to me. Sounds like a way to force people to do the right thing because someone is watching. Doesn’t God have better things to do then be a mere note taker on my behavior ? Doesn’t he have worlds to balance and universes to create ? I would think so. But maybe your version of God, created this one and only world and universe and is now sitting back judging his creation and issuing divine punishments for a failed experiment. An experiment given free will to choose, but has chosen the wrong path.

I think I prescribe to a version where God created the world and set it in motion and then “walked away”. I guess. Not really sure. But the idea of a loving God who would strike down innocent children does not fit my model. I don’t feel God in that way. God is love, not hate. God is love, not anger.

To me, God is not some bearded ruler sitting in a chair in heaven, all knowing, all judging, all involved in my daily life and the lives of countless others around the globe. The truth is, I don’t know what God is. I just know he (or she) is.

One of my favorite quotes by Paul Frost, author, sums up my thought on the existence of God.

"What do you think of God," the teacher asked. After a pause, the young pupil replied, "He's not a think, he's a feel.”

The real question remains. Why do natural disasters happen ? Is it the “End of Times” as Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) said recently ? I don’t this so.

Disasters happen. When they are man made disasters, we know whom to blame. However when a natural disaster happens, we still blame ourselves. That’s just weird.

In a way, we are all just ants wondering the surface of the planet, unaware of the dangers of life.

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