I have just been watching a Utube video of a young Christian explaining how God – in response to her’s and other Christians’ fervent prayers for Him to demonstrate his mighty power to the atheists, had responded by shaking Japan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UmotTE-VlY
She appeared in raptures over this mighty answer to prayer. (Perhaps the insurance companies should get her name since they may be interested in the instigators). There also appeared a total lack of feeling of compassion for the victims. I would like to think that this clip was a hoax because it was over the top. Unfortunately she is definitely not alone and I have heard a number of others making the same claim. I also encountered a post by a Christian calling himself “shortfellow” confirming that not only was God acting in the Earthquake, but He was doing so in response to a lack of faith of the Japanese people.
In shortfellow’s words:
“I happen to believe there are consequences for indifferent behavior. God is the same today as yesterday..and forever.
Were you never disciplined by a parent who undeniably loved you ? how much would God love His children if there were no ill effects for ignoring His written word ?
as surely as there is consequences for bad behavior by individuals , there is equal consequences for nations who choose to worship false gods or material goods.AMERICA INCLUDED.”
The following is a lightly edited of my response to shortfellow. Why not read it and post your own reaction.
My Reply: I know what the self-claimed commentators have written and said is meant well, but I find it quite depressing. I admit it fits with the the primitive notion of an Old Testament God who visited his enemies with all sorts of afflictions, drowned most of mankind in a great flood, later drowned a group of Egyptians, and even encouraged genocide cf Joshua receiving instructions to kill man woman and child- or Psalm 109. But surely knowledge and even theology has moved on since then. There is actually no geological evidence for a Noah-type flood and most scholars would now say this and similiar stories were only ever intended as allegories. There is also strong evidence that when Moses and Joshua etc engaged in acts of genocide they were almost certainly motivated with a cultural and ethnic desire for survival in a “dog eat dog” type of intertribal warfare. (Elsewhere I have discussed the cultural component of Christianity).
On the other hand I do see in the Bible a story of a people searching for eternal truths and gradually, if uncertainly feeling their way towards a set of principles finally ennunciated by Jesus as being very worthwhile – and if it comes to that, principles still ahead of anything since. I would also argue for the wonders of a world and universe created as described (imperfectly) by the laws of physics, and the mysterious forces of creation which can be assigned the name God – and a universe not specifically designed with humans only in mind and certainly not by a human type God who capriciously interfers with humans’ wellbeing on a whim…who deliberately drowns or crushes people to show how tough he is and then insists on undivided love. What would we be loving?…the ability to be powerfully nasty? If on the other hand the portrayers of such a God are shown to be right, you can count me out. There is no way I would be the slightest interested in following such an unpleasant being. I place very high value on the values of compassion, love and forgiveness which were what I believe Jesus was advocating and I need to be convinced that the alternative simplified Sunday school picture of God (described by one commentator as “man shouted loud”) is a more relevant in a better informed age.