God shakes the Earth when he hates you
When I got up this morning, the date on my phone still said 2011. I’m not wrong, am I? I mean, sometimes I have dreams that I’ve been whisked away in the TARDIS, but that doesn’t actually happen (although that would be awesome, wouldn’t it?). No, it must still be the 21st century.
Then why – WHY? – do we still have knuckleheads spouting claptrap on the radio?
The nonsense I speak of is that God is angry with you, so he caused a massive earthquake. And who, pray tell, is spreading this nonsense and tomfoolery? Glenn Beck.
Well of course he is!
“We can’t see the connections here. Now look, I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes. Well — I’m not saying that he — I’m not not saying that either.”
Right. I’m not saying that you’re unaware of basic geology. But I’m not not saying that…
Never fear, though, because Beck, in all of his infinite wisdom, knows why God sent a 9.0 magnitude earthquake – and subsequent tsunami – to Japan. It’s because we’ve all been naughty.
“But I’ll tell you this: whether you call it Gaia or whether you call it Jesus — there’s a message being sent. And that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well. Maybe we should stop doing some of it.’”
Oh, snap! It’s getting real now, people! We’re doing stuff! What stuff? Bad stuff! And it is angering God so much that he decided to pick on a relatively small Asian population. It all totally makes sense!
I’m kidding. No, it doesn’t make sense. At all.
This would just be another instance of blatant and risible scientific ignorance, in the vein of Bill O’Reilly’s weird sun/tide theory (hilariously parodied by Stephen Colbert). But it’s just so darn insulting to the Japanese people, and, indeed, anyone who has been hit by natural disasters.
(I should say as an aside that science denial – or, at the very least, misunderstanding – is not isolated to the political right, however it does seem to be whence most of the most egregious examples hail. There is plenty to go around. For example, the recent events in Japan have stirred the political left’s opposition to nuclear power. But allow me to stick with Glenn Beck for the moment.)
To say that an omnipotent deity actually causes so much death and destruction places the blame for these disasters squarely on the shoulders of the people suffering, precisely the people who are not at fault.
Let me provide an example from my own life.
I live in the American Midwest. I’ve never been in a tornado. But I don’t consider myself special. I have been living my life no better or worse than some people I know who have been through tornados. I’m not blessed. I’m lucky. (There are some, I suppose, that would call being blessed and lucky two sides of the same coin. But I dare you to tell that to someone whose house has just been ripped apart by an EF5 twister.)
To tell a country – where the majority religion is Buddhist – that God caused there suffering because of we as humanity did something bad is not only insensitive, but cruel. Not to mention contrary to what we know about plate tectonics.
But I guess Beck didn’t say God caused the earthquake. But he didn’t offer a helpful explanation, either.
Photo credit: Fox News Insider