Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The warped inhumanity of faith.

Normally I don't run videos of faith addicts like this one. But watch it, watch the joy on her face as she describes the massive earthquake in Japan. This is just monstrous and contemptible. (It is also very well done satire but it very well done precisely because it so accurately catches the attitudes of many of the people I knew back in the old days.)

The logic doesn't surprise me. On one had she says that the earthquake was an answered prayer to show the world that God loves them. God apparently showed his loved by raining destruction on Japan. She actually takes this a proof that God is love, because he killed all those people.

A man, with multiple children, beats a small child to death. Does that prove his love? What sort of sick masochistic personality would argued that beating children to death is a loving thing? (Oops, I forgot, the Bible certainly endorses beating them, just as long as you stay shy of actually killing them.)

The faith-inflicted reinterpret reality to fit their religion. She prayed that God would show he was loving, thousands of people are killed in a natural disaster, and that is proof that God answered her prayer. It takes a thoroughly demented mind to say that, but it illustrates the length to which believers will go in order to convince themselves that their is proof that their imaginary friend is real.

I'm an atheist, not that you haven't figured that out already. Does this dingbat really think that a god with bloody hands would convince me he existed and was loving? Anyone who would inflict such misery is not loving but a monster. Now, obviously I don't think it was a god who did this. I think it was the forces of nature acting in accordance with physical laws. Plates shift in the earth, they do it all the time. When they do, the ground shakes. Sometimes that causes tsunamis. All too often, people die.

Nature is full of forces which act in ways that are inimical to life. They are not the thoughtful actions of a thinking entity. If they were the actions of a thinking entity then the entity in question can not be reasonably called loving.

The only reason this disaster triggers this sick mental reasoning in this silly woman is that the disaster took place after "Lent" began, when Christians were asking God to prove his love to atheists. The Christchurch earthquake a few weeks earlier apparently was not involved because the Christians weren't on their knees instructing their deity how to behave.

Of all the Christian beliefs prayer, to me, makes the least amount of sense. Why do they need to pray? Can they possibly be telling their God anything he doesn't already allegedly know? How can their actions change his mind? Doesn't he already know precisely everything that will happen? I honestly see a Christians belief in prayer as a way to feel in control of the God they claim to believe in. It is like a belief in magic. It is a means by which impotent people convince themselves that they can direct the universe, or it's creator, to behave in certain ways that are commensurate with their own desires.

And why Japan? How does God, beating up on the Japanese, convince atheists of anything? No answer is giving. She just assumes atheists will look at this horrendous tragedy and think her twisted faith was responsible for it. Surely there are areas of the world where, if God were tapping on the shoulders of atheists, it might be more noticeable. An earthquake in Japan isn't exactly uncommon. It is actually rather anticipated. Now and then they are much bigger than one would expect, but this is no divine sign.

Clearly God is loosing his umph, if anything. If he wanted my attention a fireball dancing across the sky spelling out "repent" might do it. An earthquake in Japan doesn't surprise me, given that the fault lines run through that region of the world. No earthquakes there for decades would be impressive. A god who can't act in a manner inconsistent with what we already know about the nature of reality is not impressive.

And when I think of God sending natural disasters, at least in the United States, he seems to spend more time hitting the God-believing regions of the United States. The most religious area in America is the South followed by the Midwest. The least religious areas are the New England states and the West. So where did God send the worst natural disasters in American history?

• Galveston, Texas, 1900. A hurricane in this part of the Bible-belt killed somewhere between 6,000 and 12,000 people.

• San Francisco, 1906. Earthquake kills 3,000 to 6,000.

• Florida, 1928. Hurricane hits this Bible belt state killing 2,500.

• Louisiana, 1893. Hurricane hits this Bible belt state killing around 2,000.

• Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, 2005. Hurricane hits Bible belt states killing 1,836.

• Central and Southern US, 1980. Heat wave kills 1,700 in the two prime religious areas of the country.

• Fire, 1870. A huge fire sweeps rural Wisconsin killing somewhere between 1,200 and 2,500 people.

• Heatwave, Chicago region, 1995. Some 739 people die in this Midwestern heatwave.

• Tornadoes, 1925, Midwest and South. Tornadoes hit killing around 700.

• Hurricane, Florida, 1919. Some 600 killed.

• Hurricane, New England, 1938. 600 killed.

I stopped at disasters with over 500 fatalities or more simply because this can go on and on but the pattern does not change significantly. If I look at natural disaster with over 100 deaths and under 500 the regional count still shows God punishing the parts of the country that contain the highest number of Bible-believing Christians. There were 19 such disasters in the Midwest and South and only 3 in New England and the West. Another two straddled both sections of the country.

There are reasons that natural forces cluster such disasters in specific areas. The South gets hurricanes because borders warm ocean waters. The West gets earthquakes because the most active fault lines are there. Blizzards hit the Midwest because it gets cold enough, and moist enough, to cause them. Weather patterns favor tornadoes in the Midwest more than in Oregon or Alaska. Natural, explainable reasons determine where natural disasters strike. A tsunami isn't going to hit Utah -- if it does we're all in trouble and THAT would truly be spectacular but I wouldn't count on it proving God existence anytime soon.

But, if there is an intelligent designer intentionally inflicting these disasters, then the pattern he uses in the US would indicate he isn't the god of Christians. He keeps hitting them the hardest.

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