“Do You Think God Hates Us All a Little Bit Right Now?”

A humanist reflects on what faith means to survivors in the wake of disaster.

Article by AMANDA KNIEF for HumanistNetworkNews.org
June 02, 2010

"Do you think God hates us all a little bit right now?"

The gentleman's question hung heavy in the humid Tennessee air as I looked out over debris--first torn out of ruined homes, now spilling out into the streets of his Nashville neighborhood--two weeks after devastating flash floods had swept over more than two-thirds of the state after torrential storms on May 2 and killed more than 30 people.

I was in Nashville volunteering with the American Red Cross (ARC) as part of the organization's humanitarian mission to assist victims of the disaster. For more than a week, I had walked up and down streets caked in river silt, dodging wrecked furniture, broken glass, soggy insulation and carpeting, and ruined possessions. I'd listened to residents' stories of amazing escapes from the raging flood waters and held their hands while many of them cried.


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I ran into the same kind of thing. Lots of prayers and times I was called an angel sent by God. If they want to thank someone, they need to thank my wife. It's what she wanted to do for Mother's Day. Oddly enough, when we finished helping an older couple, we found out that neighbors of ours knew them. God works in mysterious ways, ... NAH! Our neighbor grew up in that area which made the chances likely that she knew them. Heck, everybody knows everybody in the south.
The sad thing is that religulous folk seldom employ logic to test their hypotheses, such that whenever there is a disaster, the effect demands a cause: usually, "God." Post hoc thinking is epidemic in this country. Routinely, I hear people say, e.g. "It's unbelievable she's dead. I guess God took her because He has better plans for her, but gosh, she was awfully young." If you point out that the deceased was saddled with an abnormal heart from birth and that it was just a matter of time until she died prematurely," these same unreasoning people will say something along the lines, "Well, God gave her the heart she had. He moves in mysterious ways." You cannot win with these people. They accept on faith things science disproves and reason explains.

What I want to know now is this: Where are people like the ReverEND John Hagee now that the Gulf Oil Fiasco has transpired. You remember Hagee, don't you? The evangelical preacher from Texas who was sought out by John McCain during the election, Texas Sen. John Cornyn in tow. Hagee blamed Katrina on a gay pride event in New Orleans. Where is Hagee now? Is it possible "God" brought the oil spill because "He" is angry with Hagee? After Gulf Oil Spill, therefore Hagee. Logical fallacies work both ways.
"God moves in mysterious ways."

*Shudder* One of the most annoying phrases ever. Like you say, if God gave this person a faulty heart from birth, where is the intelligent design in that?

I seriously think the primary problem with these people is an inability to understand universal standards of measure. If you look at a natural disaster across the ocean and say God must have sent it, then is your standard of measure that God sends all weather disasters? That he only sends disasters to non-Western countries but disasters in Western countries are natural? Or ever consider that your god only seems to send disasters to people you don't like but when it happens to you it's something different?

No, because they are incapable of making that connection.

The article suggests that many theists are good but misdirected. The fact that so many members of Atheist Nexus are former theists suggests this too. In dealing with good theist we should try not to throw the baby out with the bath water but some things are easier said than done.




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