Disgusted But Not Surprised


By now, everyone has seen the opportunistic god-botherers climbing over the still-warm bodies of six year-olds to plant their “We told you so!” flag of self-righteous triumph. Apparently, God is a spiteful Zeus, permitting if not actively facilitating (though I fail to see how an all-powerful being could be an innocent bystander) the senseless deaths of children. Here’s a round-up of some of the more hyperemesis-inducing examples you may have missed:

Billy Graham sez that suffering is a good thing because it let’s you empathize with people who are suffering:

Because tragedy happened to you, it gives you a greater sense of oneness with others who experience tragedy. You can feel for them in that suffering situation. Because we have been comforted through the Word of God, we in turn may be able to comfort others.

Various non-celebrity Christians: Actually, it’s a good thing those kids died. They’re way better off now.  This image has been floating around Twitter.

Mike Huckabee thinks that “tax-funded abortion pills” (aka, emergency contraception) pissed off his vengeful deity. Over the weekend, he blamed the massacre on the fact that we’ve taken God out of our schools.

Many Christians are understandably disgusted by this theology, but it’s hard to argue with it if you know much about the bible or modern apologetics. God regularly commanded or personally inflicted the indiscriminate murders of children. In Exodus, God hardened Pharoah’s heart so that Pharoah would not release the Hebrews from captivity. He then murdered every firstborn in Egypt to persuade Pharoah to release the Hebrews. What kind of sick game is that? Luckily, the evidence that the Hebrews were ever enslaved by the Egyptians, much less that Yahweh strangled a bunch of babies, is scanty.

Modern apologists look at other wholesale slaughters of infants, such as the infamous Canaan incident, and use basically the same logic as described in the image above. Apologist William Lane Craig defends the slaughter of the children of Canaan thusly:

Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God’s grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

Of course, this batshit reasoning does raise the interesting question of why exactly they are against abortion – 100% of fetuses go to heaven, but only a fraction of that number, if birthed and raised, would pick the right sect and go to heaven – but that’s another digression for another day.

Clay Jones and Sean McDowell wrote a book, Is God Just a Human Invention?, that made the same argument. I’ll excerpt the post I wrote on my own blog about it:

Undoubtedly, some children would have died at the hands of the Israelites during the conquest, but all the children who were killed would wake up in god’s presence. (Page 175).

James Dobson blames The Gays:

I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me and we have killed 54 million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences, too.

And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the scripture and on God almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on.

Bryan Fischer: God permitted the massacre because he’s a fancy gentleman, and because you don’t pray enough at football games.

Frank Viola: God allowed the massacre because maybe he’ll explain it someday, so shut up and drink the faith kool-aid:

Here’s a lesson to learn: Life always comes down to trusting in the Lord rather than trying to figure out His ways via our finite, limited understanding. Yet together, we can better discover and understand what’s in pages 300-400, and thereby learn to live more effectively within them. I hope blog posts like this contribute to that goal.

Dear Frank: no. Your blog post does not contribute to that goal. This post is bad and you should feel bad.

For a change of pace, it was Satan’s fault. Oh, and Satan gets to continue existing because it’s also our fault:

All human beings are victims of Satan’s hatred of God and His plan, and Satan takes out his anger and frustration on human beings in the form of killing by crime and murder. He often takes advantage of troubled human beings to carry out his evil schemes.

I could keep going, but I think y’all get the point. What are we to make of this? It really looks like the belief in an omnipotent God is not just a comfort in times of tragedy to some, but a serious motivation to justify tragedy and atrocity as though they were perfectly good and fine and lovely.

And frankly, that sickens me.

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  1. attempts at theodicy really bring out the anti-theist in me. nothing disgusts me more about theism than providentialism. but even considering my general antipathy, these are so awful. the idea that suffering exists in order that we can understand other suffering (which presumably happened so that those people could understand other other suffering, etc, etc ad absurdum).

    i’d also like to note the general gross double standard whereby god-botherers love to claim credit on behalf of god whenever something nice happens (hell, they even took credit for the heroic actions of the teachers and rescue workers here!) but as soon as tragedy strikes? you can’t explain that.

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