8/06/2010 | Share this article:By Carl S --
How often we hear these words after a disaster, a school shooting, massacre, a betrayal in marriage, a con man’s being found out, a family member being accused of murder, robbery, etc.; “I can’t believe he/they did this,” or “I can’t believe God would allow this.” Considering what most Christians already believe, it’s hard to understand why they say those words.
The difference between a believer and a non-believer is that the non-believer requires evidence. The old adage of “seeing is believing” is reversed with believers to “believing is seeing,” which appears to the rest of us to be brain misfirings.
The belief that there is no god who is involved in human living is particularly troubling to them, to the point of their asserting that (after all), “God is in control.” Would the Holocaust have been worse, the sufferings and deaths of millions more intense, if God was NOT in control? If there was any time when this deity should have been in control, surely, this God would have saved his Chosen People by drowning or bringing fire from the skies to destroy their murderers. If God were NOT in control, would more people have been destroyed by the atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima? Is God in control of the sedatives given to the 82 yr. old woman with terminal cancer, who is sometimes in la-la land when I visit her? And just what has this in-control deity accomplished through mass drowning, genocides, religious wars, tsunamis and earthquakes? Is the answer really, “Thank God, it could have been worse,” as is often said?
If God is in control, then hasn’t he controlled those who’ve written for him? Why are there contradictions in those writings? Yet, believers believe the contradictions and disbelieve those who point them out.If there are witches, there are witches to burn; if the evidence shows there is no such thing as a witch, a human life is saved. If it’s shown there’s no deity intervening to help humans, then humans better damned well help each other. There’s a big difference between blind beliefs and reality, and it drives actions.
If God is in control, then surely he controls those who speak for him, guiding his followers, and controls their assertions more than any king, emperor or president. If God is in control, then hasn’t he controlled those who’ve written for him? Why are there contradictions in those writings? Yet, believers believe the contradictions and disbelieve those who point them out.
They believe the deity’s chosen representatives should have moral control. So what happens when they have moral control? Sacrifices, blood rituals, Aztec heart removal, women having to die of botched abortions, AIDS spreading because God’s reps say no to condoms, fatwas, gays deprived of human rights, and the abuse of childhood indoctrination in religious details even their parents don’t believe.
All the excuses for their god’s irrational behavior and immorality are summed up in, “God’s ways are not our ways.” (And, boy, am I happy they aren’t!) But these are the same people who say, “No one can understand the mind of God,” without seeing the obvious contradiction with the equally popular, “God has a plan for you.” How could they know God has a plan if, indeed, “No one can understand the mind of God?” What they disbelieve is that there is no plan, no God’s mind and no God’s ways. As one wit proclaimed, “It is astounding how much disbelief is needed to make belief possible.”
Just this morning I overheard a woman telling her friend,”People say things that MAY hurt you, but they don’t say things TO hurt you.” We can understand the consolation intended, but we should also understand that this is a ridiculous claim. Surely, people sometimes do deliberately say things to hurt others. And yet, the lady did not see the false claim in her words, and maybe it’s because she is used to this every day, in her “spiritual” readings.
Wrapping it up, is the quote from Charles Hirsch, Chief Medical Examiner, NYC. Reporting his findings to the family of a firefighter whom they believed a hero, but whose death turned out NOT to have resulted from 9/1/01 causes: “You know what’s in your hearts. I have to go with the evidence.” We go with the evidence, no matter how ugly, awesome or uncomfortable it is. It’s often not what we want it to be, but we can live with that since it doesn’t require the self-torture of convoluted beliefs.