Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina and the Waves

I don't know that I'll ever think of the name Katrina witout reference to the recent storms that hit the Louissiana coast recently. The destruction is beyond anything that I would have imagined.

But apart from the physical destruction that the strom caused is the spiritual damage that is being caused. Of course Katrina herself is not causing it, but there are peopel, Christians and non-Christians alike, who seize upon the opporutnity afforded by Katrina to grind an axe.

So far, I have seen three such axes. The first is one that I am sure Christians have come to expect;the old theodicy argument, which essentially melts down to: "If there is a god and he is so good, how could he allow this to happen?" The problem of evil has confronted Christians, indeed all theists, from the beginning. There are some things that are well worth noticing:

1) It doesn't make sense really for people who posit a non-moral universe to attach moral values such as "evil" to what are, by thier definition, random acts of nature.

2) The presence of evil in the universe, if accpeted, does not mean that the theis is the only one with a philosophical problem. Those arguing for the non-existence of God cannot simply use evil to disprove the existence fo a good God, they have to account for the existence of evil itself.

A second axe comes from Christians who want to show that God really isn't in control of everything, or at least that he doesn't cause things like "evil storms." But that doesn't square with the Bible. The Bible does say he causes things to happen. But the Bible also says that God brings good out of things. Even calamity is a tool in His hand. Perspective is also an issue. We rush to judge something as evil and horrendous without waiting to see what good might result. Certainly I don't want to say that God is into the ends jsutifying the means, but it would be wrong to say that stroms and such show God is not in control or does nt cause, because really we need to wait and see what God is going to do with it.

A third axe also comes from Christians, and it is specifically from ones whose main focus is Israel. There are actually people who want to say that this storm is a judgment because of the American support for the current pull out in the Gaza. There are a lot of problems withthis, not least of which is a post hoc type of reasoning and a blatant sense of America at the center of all things, but the most permicious thing is the timing! The rush to judge ios smply unacceptable. This is no time to be pointing fingers and laying blame. Even if the claim is true, it is also irrelevant to the suffering going on. Those who are calling out "judgment" would be wise to show mercy and send help to those in need.

All in all I think it obvious that for the time being all the axes need to be put away or else be put to use in rebuilding and rescue efforts.

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