Enough Already with Blaming God!

We may never know why bad things happen to good people.  I am horrified what I find when I “Google” this question.  Awful things happen every single day on Earth such as the earthquakes in Japan.  Yet, even, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara called this disaster a “divine punishment” for Japanese egoism.

We live in a sin-broken world, where tragedy strikes indiscriminately.  Yet, note these findings: [1]

  • Most Americans — except evangelicals — reject the idea that natural disasters are divine punishment, a test of faith or some other sign from God, according to a new poll released Thursday (March 24).
  • Most white evangelicals (84 percent) and minority Christians (76 percent) believe God is in control of everything that happens in the world, compared to slimmer majorities of white mainline Protestants (55 percent) and Catholics (52 percent).
  • Nearly half of Americans (44 percent) say the increased severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of biblical “end times,” but a larger share (58 percent) believe it is evidence of climate change.
  • The only religious group more likely to see natural disasters as evidence of “end times” (67 percent) than climate change (52 percent) is white evangelicals.

We explain bad things by thinking they came about because of something we, our parents, or society did.  Jesus does not get into a dead-end discussion about cause by taking the bait when those in the John 9 scene ask him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  He will not engage in this fruitless pursuit that changes nothing.

Why do we have need to pile on with theological speculation about fault?  I think we are distancing ourselves from victims of calamity.  We fool ourselves into thinking we can protect ourselves from natural disasters and unexplained tragedy by thinking those who suffer brought it upon themselves.

The more helpful question we should ask following catastrophe is: How can we bring God into tragedy? We should more often speak of a God who entered into our sphere to bring each of us intimately closer to heaven.  God inserted God self into our world to strip the power that sin has to separate us from God and each other once and for all.  God walks step for step with us as bad things happen.  The good news we declare in harsh times, is not guessing why bad things happen to good people  Instead may our world hear of a God who brings sight to the blind and makes whole that which is broken.

[1] The survey was done by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service.  It was conducted a week after the March 11 earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan.


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