I’ve just finished reading a blog posting by Father Jake, an Anglican Priest in the US, trying to explore through his blog peoples questions about where God was in the tsunami?
Like many at this time, he doesn’t have any answers, but he quotes from Rabbi Michael Learner, who appeared on a radio talk show, and said he was amazed by quite how many people phoned in with essentially the following comment:
“I am really angry at God, and this is precisely why I don’t believe in Him.”
It is worth just considering that statement, many many people are angry with God, but then use the fact that he didn’t intervene as evidence that he doesn’t exist. However if he doesn’t exist, why waste time and energy getting angry?
I highly recommend reading the whole blog posting, and I won’t attempt to repeat the whole discussion here, as it is a slight tangent from the point I’m trying to make here. However the concepts that are touched upon, reach into the very heart of faith, and ones concept of God, and are well worth exploring.
Anyway, the quote also reminded me of another quote I read today, which slightly bizzarely I had come across as a result of the current e-mails circulating campaigning against the BBC showing Jerry Springer: The Opera on Saturday night.
As I hadn’t seen the show, I’ve been finding out what I can about it. As with most stuff circulating on the Internet by e-mail I’ve learnt not to take it at face value, invariably the e-mails don’t tell the whole story, or are wrapping up something else. In the same way as I won’t click the ‘security verification link’ in some, I won’t act on something that turns up on the e-mail without checking out facts.
Anyway, I came across the line in a Daily Telegraph review. It is spoken by God towards the end of the (for Christians) controversial second act of the show. Jerry has been shot at the end of the first act, and is pulled out of limbo by the Devil, who asks Jerry to reconcile him with Jesus through the medium of his show. As anyone who has seen the real Jerry Springer show will know, a series of other people involved are brought on, one of whom is God, who sings the following line:
“millions of voices making the wrong choices and all of them blaming me”
I think it is pretty clear why the “I’m angry at God” line reminded me of this, and aside from the irony that it comes from a show being campaigned against by Christians, it does give another view of the place of God in what has happened.
The image of God given by this line is not some cosmic puppet master who either caused the tsunami to happen, or equally failed to stop it, but someone who created us with experience and free will to live in creation.
I was taught at school about the plates that form the earths surface, and the ‘Ring of Fire’ that surrounds the Pacific. On the basis of that knowledge it is no suprise that earthquakes occur in that area. Indeed as I mentioned before, the Pacific has a tsunami early warning system in the Pacific precisely because such earthquakes have occured and threatened America.
However, as people with free will we chose not to offer similar protection to all people affected by the risk. Maybe God has given us everything we need to have not let so many people die, but as the quote said, we made the wrong choices, and are now blaming God for the mistakes he gave us the free will to make.
Is that an answer or an explanation? I’m not sure, I guess like Father Jake I’m still asking questions, and this is just one possible answer.
However, whilst such questions have been, and will continue to be asked for a long time, the priority now is for those who have been affected. Donations to the relief effort can be made through the Disasters Emergency Committee website, and many others.