Tag Archives: punishment

Is God punishing California?

When disaster strikes a people, believers of all stripes noisily proclaim it a sign of divine retribution for whatever sins those people were believed to commit. Take Hurricane Katrina. Depending on your religious persuasion, it was either a) a warning against rampant homosexuality, b) justice for America’s support for the removal of Jewish settlers on disputed lands in the Middle East, or c) retribution against America for its “war on Islam.”

That all of these are merely examples of the post hoc fallacy doesn’t phase the believer one bit. So let’s play their game and ask what God is punishing California for.

If you haven’t been following the news, the state recently experienced another found of devastating wildfires. Included in the destruction was a Christian liberal arts college in Santa Barbara. The fires have been followed by drenching rains, which threaten even more destruction and hardship.

California, you recall, just a few weeks ago passed Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage. Clearly, this was an act displeasing to God, who has “poured out His wrath” against the people there, including Christians, in the form of fires and flooding. Or so the logic of the believer leads us to conclude. Curiously, however, you’ll search in vain for any believer pointing this out.

Let’s recap the belief of the faithful:

When the will of God is flagrantly violated, calamity occurs. Whatever actions preceded the calamity, we should repent of and correct.

Since calamity in California occurred following passage of Proposition 8, to be consistent with their own belief, the religious must conclude they defied the will of God. They should therefore repent of their transgression in supporting the proposition and work to immediately repeal it.

Obviously this isn’t going to happen. It’s doubtful the connection was even made in any of their minds. When they fail time and again to consistently apply their own beliefs, why is it any wonder to them they’re the objects of constant derision?

Does God like to punish?

Anyone who’s read the Bible knows that punishing people took up a goodly portion of God’s time.  And it didn’t much matter if you actually did anything wrong or not, or if you were under a certain age.  Guilt by association was just as much a crime as the “crime” itself–just ask the Canaanites or the pre-Flood inhabitants.

And if you think the punishments have stopped because we live in some period of grace, think again.  With every calamity–natural or not–some “man of God” dutifully proclaims it divine retribution for one human “sin” or another–gay pride parades, gambling, abortion, dancing–you name it.  Some even believe calamities are a herald of the imminent end times–the fact that the same things have been occurring for millions of years doesn’t seem to phase these people, however.

The funny thing about these prognosticators of doom is that they also believe in a god who sends the unrepentant (read: those who don’t belong to their particular sect, in their particular religion) to eternal suffering in the fiery pits of hell.  Their god, apparently not simply content with punishing us forever and ever after death, also feels it necessary to mete out punishment during our lifetimes.  And if we poor SOBs should die as a result, then tough shit.  Out of the fire, and into the frying pan!

So, you can see, God really likes to punish. And, I gotta hand it to him, in a number of really inventive ways.  A virus which progressively destroys your immune system, leaving you to die a slow and miserable death?  Who da thunk it?!

But what about the the innocent casualties?  You know, those who’re did everything right, muttered the correct magical words, dutifully contributed to the collection plate every Sunday in the red brick church.  Is God punishing them too when they get run over by a hurricane or tidal wave?

Oh, no!  They are merely being “called home.”  At the worst, they should recall that this is a fallen world, righteously susceptible to God’s carpet-bomb justice.  ‘Cause, you know, sparing the good and innocent is too much to ask of the Omnipotent Creator of the Known Universe.  If I was one of those Rapturians–people who believe they’ll be magically beamed into the sky before the real shit hits the fan–I would feel a little worried about this divine tendency to simply blow everyone away.

The really curious thing is the response of these men of God and their fellow believers.  They sometimes actually help the victims. WTF? I can think of no more sinful act than working against God’s justice.  They may think that poor, hungry child in Somalia deserves food, but they should remember, that kid has got sin-tainted blood and is almost certainly headed for hell.  Best to send ’em a Bible instead (only the KJV1611 version will do).

You can’t help but get the impression God is chomping at the bit to annihilate His creation as soon as possible, and is blowing off a little steam in the meantime.  With divine love like this…