Short answer to that one – of course they do.
The bible is all well and good as a series of tales about a people long dead and how they saw the world and what laws they made for living in it. I’m never going to claim it’s not at least good for that. As historical literature, and even taking into account all the inconsistencies and errors, it still has to be one of the best books ever put together about a people across generations. No wonder it’s still popular in so many ways.
The people in those books had all the same pressures and stresses we do, broadly speaking. They still had money problems, family stress, food worries, work issues, death around the corner, and no clear idea of what actually happens next no matter how much they believed they did. They were, in all the most important ways, just like us. They were human beings, being as much (or as little) as they could be, given their nature.
And they were stupid in a lot of ways, but admirably smart in others. Without any real understanding of nature and the way of the world, they still figured out how to anthropomorphisize everything they didn’t have a clue about, and seek out answers that way. At the time, it was probably the only logical explanation for anything that happened. Lightning just hit your house? God punished you, you sinner. Pray harder next time. Sacrifice more goats! Kill your children and get three new wives to make you some new ones! Stat! Your rival merchant just fell over dead? He must have been worshiping an idol. Way to be believing in the right god, eh?
Cause and effect. They sure had trouble sorting out cause and effect. And, while reading the articles that might become blog posts, I see that this is still the case for a lot of people. I don’t want to just pick on believers, though. A lot of people have misperceptions about the nature of chance and randomness. It could have seemed like the Man was cursed after several problems happened to his car and computer and phone all in a row. I tend to worry about jinxing things if I’m too optimistic about them. Why do sane and sensible people jump to superstitious conclusions?
Long lead-in to the article, but I’m not deleting any of it.
‘God is Sad and God is Mad’ Over Oil Spill, Says Liberal Religious Leader
is the headline that piqued my interest this time. Why “Rev. Jim Wallis, editor and CEO of the liberal religious magazine Sojourners, told reporters on Wednesday” this malarky is something only he’d be able to explain, I suppose. Why didn’t Wallis just say he was sad and mad about the spill? Because everyone already is, probably, and it’s not news to come out to a journalist with such a statement. Inferring that God’s not going to clean up after us because we don’t believe in him enough is, sadly, newsworthy.
During a conference call on Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked the religious leaders, “Do you feel that President Obama has done enough? Do you think he should do more? What is your take on that?”
Wallis responded, “None of us have done enough. This is a Washington question, of course. Who is to blame? Who has done enough? Who is acting fast enough? We are trying to get to some deeper issue here.”
“We left [the Gulf] and the first impression I had was how beautiful this place is, how utterly beautiful it is,” Wallis said. “Then I saw what was happening and I thought: God is sad and God is mad. Let’s face that level first. God is sad and God is mad.”
He assures the journalist that he’s not blaming Obama’s politics for the spill (but I’m sure some religious folk are claiming it’s the reason), then says,
“This has got to be an epiphany in the Gulf,” said Wallis. “It has to convert us and change us. Let’s stop pointing fingers. And it is time for all of us to look and see what this means for all of us about our faith.”
Faith be damned. It’s time for all of us to look and see what it means in terms of the sustainability of the planet and its resources and our lifestyles. Time debating what to do is time wasted, but it’s time that has to be wasted because everyone’s stymied by the enormity of the task at hand. Every suggestion of a solution has to be considered and weighed. The time it’ll take to set the solution in motion has to be accounted for, as well as the length of time we’d have to wait to see if it’s working, and the time lost while looking for another way once more.
I’ll quote Reverend Gerald Durley out of the same piece.
“I don’t care if it is in China or America, whatever country, the people are beginning to speak,” said Rev. Durley. “I think that that jogs some of the work that might be going on or might not be going on in the White House. A lot times we don’t know the insides and outsides, whether it is political and if people are working together. But if people begin to speak out of the depth of their heart and God is on their side, we can do anything but fail. I think the administration is beginning to get that message.”
Isn’t that ludicrous? That has to be one of the most retarded phrases ever uttered. Of course we can fail. It won’t matter what god one puts trust in, it’s impossible to avoid failure. It’s mature and adult to admit as much, too. There is always a risk of failure. It doesn’t mean we should give up and stop trying to succeed, mind you; it’s just as impossible to avoid blind luck.