God acting in Japan?

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.

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4 Responses to God acting in Japan?

  1. SapperDoc says:

    Is God acting in Japan? Without question. Was it a message to the atheists? There are those who believe it was. I don’t know if they are wrong or right. However, I do know that God is acting there now. Missionaries and disaster relief workers from around the world are carrying God’s love with them as they reach out and lend their backs to the work. Christians worldwide are donating their funds to help with the efforts. And we are lifting the people of Japan up in our prayers.

    God doesn’t change because we do. He is the same now, yesterday, and forever. He loves us all and desires that we all come to Him through his Son. He does not protect us from the pain that entered into this world with our sin, but He does deliver us from it in Heaven, if we only accept Him.

    • peddiebill says:

      Fair enough with your comments about God being seen in relief efforts and other examples of good will SapperDoc. I agree with that because for me, God is Love, which means any expression of compassion is illustrative of what this concept of God should include. I wonder however if you have unintentionally glossed over my main concern which is that God is thought by many to have deliberately interferred with the normal processes of nature to visit punishment on the Japanese people. This idea of a vindictive God does not fit well with the notion of a God of Love and in fact may cause a few strange anomolies. For example if God wants them punished then how come moving to help the victims fits with that intention.

  2. Noel says:

    Peddiebill. Thanks for visiting my blog. I think we agree for the most part. Our responsibilities as Christians, or simply people who say they believe in compassion, is to respond actively with charity. It is a commander, not a suggestion, from God. I also believe that God, being an unexplainable omnipotent Being, allows disasters to occur so that we have the opportunity to express love to one another. Some might call this belief wishful thinking or justifying God’s “evil acts”. But I don’t think he allows it to punish, but to help us grow by unifying us even more. Crisis always bring people together, not the everyday routine. Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t wish for disasters so that we can get closer to each other, but I do believe we need to love one another more so that we we don’t have to go through another crisis. Instead of asking, why did God punish us? I rather ask : What does God want us to do about it? Blessings.

    • peddiebill says:

      I suspect we may still disagree in part in that you appear to know a little more about the creator of the Universe than I. The difficulty in saying that God allows something to happen for helping us relate better to one another – and see this purely in relation to people, is that it implies that “he” could have stopped it. The person who has just lost their child – or has had their body crushed and must live out the remainder of their days in constant and helpless pain might not be so easily assured that this was a great idea. Perhaps the wonders and complexities of nature are not accessible to interference in that what ever the laws of nature are – there seems to be no indication that they have ever been – or could be – any different.
      Maybe the problem is that we think of God in relation only to the human race – and even there really only in relation to the part of the human race that has had a similiar religious and cultural background to ourselves.

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