The following was written last year, after a tornado ripped through a nearby area. I thought it would be enjoyed by my fellows in faithlessness.


Once more, that loving Christian god has shown his capricious sense of irony by hurling killer tornadoes at still another Florida trailer park. (Oops.. make that “mobile home community”…wouldn’t want to be p.i. in a godicle). The sick humor here is that this most recent assault was on a retirement community, filled with people who had worked their blue collars off for years, scrimping and saving all their lives in order to spend their final days in the Florida sunshine. Needless to say, they were also people of faith, believers in the goodness and protection of the god to whom they dutifully gave ten percent of their sweat-earned money every week.

One of the first things they did after establishing their community was erect a church in which to communicate with and sing songs to Good Old Dad, lavishing more life savings on pastors, décor, statues, stained glass and all the other accouterments so necessary to the display of humble worship. They built it solidly and strong enough to withstand 160 mph hurricane winds, with much celebratory prayer at its dedication to the prospective tenant. Unfortunately, neither structural soundness nor supplications were sufficient to prevent disaster. The entire community, including the church, was razed to the ground by a random storm last week.

Naturally, this event was the lead story on the local news channels, most of which repeatedly featured one particular sound bite, presumably to emphasize the poignancy of the situation. It shows a woman standing in the midst of the rubble, near her own flattened residence, tenderly cradling a plaster baby Jesus she had found among the church wreckage. Smiling bravely through her tears, she worshipfully tells the camera, “Oh, this gives me so much hope!”

Now, I guess most people would react to this with an empathetic “awww” or perhaps even a lump in the throat. I am decidedly not most people. It did bring tears to my eyes, but that’s because I was laughing so hard. There is so much hilariously ludicrous information in this scenario, so much blind self-deception, each point struck me funnier than the last.

To wit: A sizable group of retired men and women, having spent the better part of their lives praying to and worshiping an imaginary protector, expecting him to provide all things ~ as long as they ask often and earnestly and cough up their weekly tithe ~ have their lives ruined (and in some cases taken) by what is commonly referred to as an “act” of said protector. Not only did this generous benefactor destroy their homes and kill their loved ones, he also obliterated his own house in the process.

Does this not stir up even a little doubt in the minds of the faithful? Does this kind of wanton destruction not raise questions as to the motives of Big Daddy? Or are they perhaps blaming themselves for their own ill fortune? (“Dang! I knew that cheap wine would piss him off!”)

Astonishingly, rather than to raise reasonable doubt, this kind of punishment only serves to strengthen their belief! The worse he hurts them, they more they adore him. The meaner he gets, the more they praise his “love”. And here’s the punch line: a plaster doll that has been mass-produced by child slaves at a Jesus factory in Communist China repeatedly appears on television as a symbol of Christian hope. Nothing ironic about that!

Honestly, I’m not laughing at their hardship…just at their sycophantic glorification of the phantom hand that smites them.

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Comment by Reverend Slim / Michael Ham on September 29, 2008 at 12:00pm
TJMorgan...."I, not believing we have free-will, can't blame them for believing."
Really? That's very interesting. On what do you base this opinion and can you rationalize (defend) your position about this opinion?

I have argued to many believers that my atheism is not a choice. I just do not I suppose I agree with your theory to some degree. But no free will?...I would like to hear your thoughts.
Comment by TJMorgan on September 29, 2008 at 8:18am
I, not believing we have free-will, can't blame them for believing. They were after all, molded, shaped, and ultimately determined to believe. It's only a matter of time and change for everyone to be determined not to believe. I used to blame them for being idiots and believing in such garbage, that is, until I understood that we have no control.
Comment by Nancy Spivey on September 29, 2008 at 7:35am
Sadly, these are the same people who think GWB is a good man, because he "believes". Talk about raping the poor.... only now it is the entire middle-class that's thrown into the mix.
And doubly sad, they vote.
Comment by STA on September 28, 2008 at 11:43pm
Wonderful article, Ruth. The God Delusion is such a twisted, self-propagating sickness that to those of us who are free from it, it's mindboggling. They'll just chalk it up to tests of faith or shortcomings on their part -- cause God is always right and God is always perfect. If something goes wrong, it's probably YOUR fault. Terrible.
Comment by Penny on September 28, 2008 at 10:31pm
I can't help but be reminded of the infamous comments made after Katrina that it was god's punishment for the debauchery that was rampant in New Orleans. Ironically, the suburbs that housed the good, "god-fearing" people were all destroyed, while the French Quarter escaped untouched. If this was supposed to me a message from god, it must have come from Dionysus.
Comment by Nate on September 28, 2008 at 6:14pm
Great stuff, Ruth. Reminds me of some of the points in Ehrman's God's Problem.
Love the WYGN, Ken. That would make a lovely bracelet. :)
Comment by KenLoukinen on September 28, 2008 at 4:02pm
WYGN... for years of hearing and seeing WWJD, stories like this make me want
to ask WYGN ( Where's Your God Now)
Comment by Doug Harrington on September 28, 2008 at 2:56pm
And; not to forget all those fine folks there in the maldives, Samatra, Indonesia, Pakastan, and most recently Galveston Texas.
Those poor God Fearing people went to their respective Clerics and asked the question: "Why has God allowed this to happen to us?" Answer: "He is just testing your faith!"

This is not a God that I wish to worship, or to donate my hard earnings to.

They can take God and his huge Churches, built by the poor, and benifiting the rich, and cram them where the sun doesn't shine!

Living in American Samoa is a prime example of what the Churches stand for. Rape the poor in the blessed name of "Jesus," a guy who has supposedly been dead for 2,008 years? What gives here?

And to top it all off, where is America when we need her the most? God has allowed all of our major lending institutions to go down the tube!

I have a book published with Xlibris Corp. entitled; "The Fear Of Living" based on a near death expierence suffered by me at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in American Samoa.
In this book, I speak of what I actually seen on the other side of the Tunnel.
I was more or less a beleiver when I entered that Tunnel, but a total Non Beleiver when I re-emerged.
I emerged a total Non Believer, a Non Drinker, and a Non Smoker. I was a total Alcoholic, and a 4 pack a day Marlborogh smoker.

So much for God, Jesus, and Heaven, There are no such things.

So I thank God for being the Big Prick that he truly is, and now if we could only convince those poor people who have lost everthing to hang up the church, and start rebuilding their individual nest eggs, we will all be the better off.

Doug Harrington; a true, and devout Atheist coming to you from 14deg. South of the Equator.
Comment by Ruth Dickson on September 28, 2008 at 2:01pm
The tag was to meant to read "feeding the hand that bites you."

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