Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Strange Music

... Or, Why do I hear an unholy mixture of Dueling Banjos and the Twilight Zone theme whenever I see an evangelist?

Well, I'll tell you. I think it's because I can't stomach theodicy any longer.

For those of you who may not know, theodicy is a term coined by the German philosopher Leibniz, and basically means a theory on how the world works in relation to God. I was reminded of it while watching the Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the esteemed evangelist Billy Graham, holding forth on the tired idea that somehow God meant to flood New Orleans and kill over a thousand Americans throughout the Gulf Coast in order to punish sin.

We've gotten this crap from several directions ever since Katrina was upgraded to Category 2 (Christian fundies, Jewish fundies, and Muslim fundies) but that's what it is: crap. If there was truly a causal connection between moral evil ('sin,' depravity, greed, etc.) and natural evil (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) then the earth would have opened up and swallowed Tom DeLay years ago.

Were all those people evil? Did they all deserve to die? I think not. So, here we are, trying to construct meaning in a random, meaningless universe.

Scant wonder that people shy away from the prospect of having to stand on their own feet, preferring to cling to the old theodicies (moral evil = natural evil, 'this is the best of all possible worlds,' 'whatever is, is right,' etc.).

Or look at it this way. Suppose these three statements are true:
1. Evil exists.
2. God is benevolent.
3. God is omnipotent.

Either way you slice it, you either end up with an impotent God or an evil God.

I yield the floor for discussion.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Malacandra said...

I've never understood how fundamentalists could think that an omnipotent God would have such bad aim: if he's supposed to be punishing the gay 'lifestyle' through AIDS, why did He take out Ryan White (or other hemophiliacs, for that matter) with it?

If Katrina was supposed to be punishing N'Orleans for its sins, it demolished a lot of churches... and largely bypassed the French Quarter.

There's no reason. And there's no arguing with the people who think that God hates precisely the same people that they do. Isn't that a coincidence?

12:08 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lies said...

Walt, Walt, Walt,

don't you know that there is a divine REASON for all that suffering? Being mere humans, we are just too dumb to understand gods ways...
If you could actually argue with fundamentalists, on a rational level, they would've ceased to exist a long, long time ago. And I know that this sort of religious stupidity has been around for centuries, but one would think science and literacy would have diminished all that. Funny thing is, it has in Europe. If anyone ever came up with that Creationism nonsense here, they would be ridiculed for the ignorant illiterate fundies they were! Please America, bring back the ridicule!

10:46 AM EDT  

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