Is God's Wrath Burning Oklahoma & Texas?
(I just posted this on my blog... http://blog.myspace.com/nathanatx)
As you read this, wildfires & grass fires are sweeping across North Texas and Oklahoma, burning acres of grasslands, crops & trees, destroying homes, businesses, churches and schools. Why is this happening?
This region is famous, or infamous, depending on your perspective, for being known as the “Buckle of the Bible Belt.” It is a hotbed of Bible Schools and Christian Universities. There are more churches per capita in this region than anywhere else in the United States. So why is God judging them? Isn’t this the “holiest” part of America?
When our nation was attacked by religious extremists on September 11th, 2001, one of the most prominent conservative Christian leaders, Jerry Falwell declared, “…I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say: you helped this happen.” I guess it was “ok” for God’s wrath to hit the Northeast United States, since everyone knows they’re so liberal.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, his good buddy, Pat Robertson, in reference to Ellen Degeneres being selected as host for the Emmys, said, "By choosing an avowed lesbian for this national event, these Hollywood elites have clearly invited God's wrath. Is it any surprise that the Almighty chose to strike at Miss Degeneres’ hometown?" More recently, he condemned the residents of Dover, PA, because they ousted a school board who favored the ridiculous “intelligent design” theories to be taught in public schools. He said, “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover. If there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city. And don’t wonder why He hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for His help because he might not be there.”
So, are you taking notes? Apparently right wing fundamentalists have God on retainer to do their bidding should anyone dare oppose their authority. If that’s the case, why would God turn on them and burn the fields & homes of their most faithful followers?
Did you know that Oklahoma has one of the highest divorce rates in the nation? It has massive numbers of unwed pregnancies each year and sky-high numbers of drug addicts & drug-related arrests. Did you know Oklahoma has one of the highest per-capita rates of mental illness? I assert that the link between these societal issues and the rampant fundamentalism there is crystal clear. It sure doesn’t seem like the “holy land” is as great as it’s made out to be. Maybe God is trying to burn everyone out who isn’t a “True Christian?”
You see, I just don’t think so. I think that life happens, good and bad. I think that we do make incredible contributions to what happens to us in life. A lot of the hurt and difficulty we experience in life is a direct result of our choices or the choices of other people. And sometimes things just happen. We get sick. We have vehicle accidents. Hurricanes come. Fires rage. But even some of these natural disasters could possibly be result of lack of care for the environment, the destruction of forests and the over use of fossil fuels. Scientists are saying that we have created the conditions for these disasters. It's called global warming. It's not a violent, abusive God wreaking havoc on His creation.
I think it is horribly abusive to blame disasters and tragedies on God because He dislikes certain people.
I believe the Bible is right when it says that God is a God of love and that if perfect love eliminates fear, anything or anyone that generates fear can NOT be from God or speaking on God’s behalf.
I do not believe in a God that would destroy innocent children. We condemn Muslim extremists for their use of suicide attacks that take civilian lives, including women and children, but we don't speak out against Christian extremists who say God is doing the same thing!
I do not believe in a God that would put demonizing people above having compassion. If you want to know the heart of God, look at Jesus. In my opinion his life was about two things. First, to teach people the truth about God's love and second to challenge religious authority and oppression.
I do not believe in Jerry Falwell’s god. I don’t think Jerry Falwell believes in his god, either. He's a smart man. His espoused beliefs got him where he is. I don't believe for a minute that he actually believes what he preaches.
I think fundamentalism and extremism, whether Christian, Muslim or Jewish, is about power, control and money. They use fear to intimidate and control good-hearted, Godly people. They have warped the message of love & mercy that Jesus died to deliver. And they are doing it for their personal gain and to retain their power.
I believe Robertson and Falwell make God sick when they take His name in vain so publicly.
I think it’s time for a change.
Amen - I completely agree w/ you. "...absolute power corrupts absolutely..."
Extremism, regardless of what side of the religious spectrum, is dangerous & destructive.
fires burning in OK and TX
Maybe, maybe not! Who knows? I look at stuff like this and am reminded of the what God says, "My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts." When we say we have the mind of God on certain things or that we represent God on issues like homosexuality, abortion, gun control, death penalty, I think it is high arrogance to think we can put God in such a tiny box and think that we know what He thinks. Falwell, Robertson, and all those people, they need prayer more than anything. You are exactly right. I think if Jesus were to walk into any church in America today He would be astounded at how much we have gone off the path of what His message was really all about- love, mercy, acceptance, grace. There is a song that we used to sing in church and it goes, We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord, We are one in the Spirit , we one in the Lord, and we pray that our unity will one day be restored, and THEY WILL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS BY OUR LOVE. They will know we are Christians by our love- not our judgment, not our finger pointing, not our exclusion of those we don't agree with, not our fear, not our prejudice. We show the world we are Christians by our love, and not anything else.
Maybe God is judging them, but maybe God is just allowing it to show his grace, mercy and love on an unloving group of people. Hmm, something to think about. :agree:
First of all, I have to post this http://www.snopes.com/katrina/satire/robertson.asp from Snopes. Robertson didn't blame Katrina on Ellen, but the story is so believable. I fell for it too when I first heard it. However, that doesn't negate Nathan's points.
The real question is where are these evangelical/fundies now? This is a perfect opportunity to cast blame on someone, and the LGBT community seems to be the whipping boy of choice lately. So why are they quiet on this one?
Could it be that Pat Robertson has a large viewing audience in this part of the country and it would be financially imprudent to insult them? Perhaps Robertson et al can't seem to find the connection between the LGBT community, or Pro-Choice groups, or whomever, and this particular disaster.
It's not even about whether we believe God is judging an area, community, or group of people. This is about consistency, or inconsistency. Pat Robertson seems to be at the ready to paint disasters as God's judgment. Pat is unusually quiet on this one. So why is that? Pat we need to hear from you!!!
Thanks for the clarification. I'll edit my blog to reflect the statement from "Repent America." They specifically blamed gay people for Katrina.
Done. :) The revised post is on my blog. http://blog.myspace.com/nathanatx
Ok... I guess Pat Robertson didn't want to be left out, after all...
He is absolutely appalling. That's my word of the day. Appalling.
Pat Robertson Says God is Punishing Sharon
LAST UPDATE: 1/6/2006 7:15:13 AM
NEW YORK - The Rev. Pat Robertson said Ariel Sharon's massive stroke was God's way of punishing him for surrendering parts of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians.
The statement Thursday stunned American Jews, and even the White House, which is friendly with the televangelist, was dismayed.
A Bush administration spokesman sighed when he was asked about Robertson's gibe, saying "That's just not helpful."
Robertson, speaking on his "700 Club" cable TV show, said he counts Sharon as a friend.
But the fundamentalist minister said Sharon "was dividing God's land and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course. ... God says, `This land belongs to me. You'd better leave it alone.'"
Sharon plunged Israel into a divinely ordained crisis by withdrawing from Gaza, Robertson said.
"God has enmity against those who divide my land. For any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, `No, this is mine,'" the preacher said.
In discussing what he said was God's insistence that Israel not be divided, Robertson referred to the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who had sought to achieve peace by giving land to the Palestinians. "It was a terrible thing that happened, but nevertheless he was dead," Robertson said.
The Anti-Defamation League expressed "shock and outrage" at the remarks.
"We would hope that good Christian leaders would distance themselves from Pat Robertson's remarks," ADL Chairman Abraham Foxman said.
Pat Robertson is NOT GOD
Oh my gosh, who does Pat Robertson think he is!!!!??? He is not God and he is awfully arrogant to think he has the mind of God. Who does he think he is blaming Katrina and Rita on the gays and lesbians, 9/11 on us,too, and then Ariel Sharon's stroke? Please, Pat, get off your arrogant high horse. You are not God. Humility, dude! That is what honors God, not your high arrogance, pride and lack of mercy, grace, or love. :confused:
That's all I can really think of to say. Unbelievable.
I could rant and rant but at the end of the day, what good does it do? I cannot understand how someone who has the spirit of God in them - which these men must or else they are lying about ever having given their lives to Him - can look at suffering on such a huge scale and be apparently unmoved, and instead of getting their hands dirty helping or offering hope, spout such vicious rhetoric and increase the suffering of the people involved. What is all this rubbish about "dividing God's land"? What millennium is this man living in? Does he even own a New Testament?
My thinking on the whole subject of natural disasters is somewhere between the first and second posters. God is not petty; God is not a Republican; God does not hold voodoo or abortion or perversion (even real perversion, even paedophilia) as any more sinful than complacency, love of money, ignoring your neighbours needs, hatred, or any of a thousand more "acceptable" sins. And these people who stand up and misrepresent God as petty and hateful, who work to convince people that they are abominable and unacceptable to God, they are surely causing people to stumble, a subject on which Jesus had a lot to say, mostly concerning millstones, necks and rivers.
God is, however, God, and if we try to guess why he lets these things happen we'll be guessing all our lives and we still won't get it. It distresses me that I don't understand, but I think the only option, if you believe in the real God who is just as wonderful and loving and powerful as we believe, is to trust him.
I mentioned Pat Robertson's latest antics at dinner with my parents yesterday. Dad hadn't heard what Robertson said about Sharon. I also mentioned the crazy talk about the "good citizens of Dover" and my dad went off on me. He tried to tell me that this was founded as a "christian" nation and "You" want to take that away. I mentioned that many of the founding fathers were not exactly Christian at least in the way he, and other fundies believe they were. Dad stormed out of the room. Conversation over. *sigh*
Oh dear. Keltic, I'm sorry, that's awful. The only thing you can do is keep being authentic you, and let him have a chance to see who you really are. It saddens me when parents seem to refuse to see their children as they are. But you never know when they will start to again. Best to you.
fundamentalists have a difficult time not believing the propaganda they taught to take as fact. In reality, most of the early Founders were Deists and rationalists. Deists believe in God, but they believe he went off to create new things & left Earth alone, so it was up to humans to improve the quality of life based on concepts of reason/science.
While it was true that the early colonists were Christian and still a major segment of the population, the Founders (imo) would be astonished and offended of conservatives trying to merge church & state. The founders and colonists saw what it was like in Britain with enforced doctrines; they didn't want that in the USA.
Anyway, I debated this w/ a fellow student in undergrad. college, and he merely became angry & did not offer any intelligent counter-arguments. So that happens sometimes...
Since my undergrad. degree is in History & Anthropology, I have had time to read & discuss these issues. Perhaps if your father would be willing to read historical books on the subject:
1. American Colonies by Alan Taylor
2. Christianity: A Global History by Chidester
3. Online excerpts of statements from the founders and/or microfilm/new editions of early American documents.
Hope this helps & God bless!
I am sorry your dad went off on you. Where is Christianity today? Has it gotten stuck in a quagmire of hatred, fear and judgmentalism? It seems to me that fundies are the self-proclaimed policeman for God and since obviously God isn't doing His job well enough for them, they feel they have to do it for him, because He just isn't punishing these infidels enough. Ohmigosh! God save us from people who think they need to do Your job for you!!!:(
My Pastor recently pointed out to me one of the major differences in today's opposing factions of Christians. There are "Great Commandment Christians" and there are "Great Commission Christians." Great Commandment Christians place great importance on the Love your neighbor thing, and so social justice becomes extremely important. Great Commission Christians hold "go into all the world, preach the gospel, make disciples of every nation" as being of highest value, and many times try to achieve it at any cost. Guess where the Fundies are????
It was disheartening to have that conversation with my dad yesterday. I had hoped I could say some things and he would listen (which he does at times.) His angry response implied deeper problems he has with me, perhaps the gay thing, but definitely the liberal christian stuff. He just doesn't get that prayer and Bible study have no place in public schools. Even when I said "which religion should we study? what are you going to do when a non-christian faith wants their beliefs taught?"
This is a slight tangent, but there was an interesting letter into the New Scientist the other week - a confirmed athiest commenting that they had always believed it was a good thing that Religious Education was not allowed in the US - until the whole Intelligent Design argument blew up, which set them thinking that there should be a forum for discussion of philosophical and religious questions pertaining to subjects like science, so that they didn't end up being discussed in the science classes where they don't belong. Interesting to note that there is no ID movement to speak of in the UK.
But off the subject of ID. Personally I try to be a Great Commandment and Great Commission Christian - I believe that we should be telling people about Jesus, but like Christian Aid, I also "believe in life before death". After all, how can you talk about Jesus' love without showing it? (good verse on this subject) - and people are made differently. Personally I find it easier to get worked up about questions of social justice than classic evangelism. But then, some of my best friends are crazy evangelists, and I think that's a valuable gift - as long as the crazy evangelists are balanced by the practical people who have a passion for social justice and a knack for making soup, marching in protests or cleaning graffiti off walls. Not all evangelists are hate-preachers.
It always annoys me when people rip out half of Christianity and wave it about as if it was the whole thing. And then you get two factions each waving the opposite half and arguing as if they were following two separate religions. :eek: Honestly!
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