Sunday, July 01, 2007

Suffering for our Sins

Nullifidian has informed me that, according to an article in The Telegraph ("Floods are judgment on society, say bishops"), the floods in the United States are due to the moral failings of the people.

Many atheists will instantly condemn such a statement, mostly because of its source (and its content). However, in fact, there is an element of truth about it.

The victims of this flooding do suffer because of our sins.

One of the greatest sins for which these people suffer is the moral crime of listening to bishops tell us with each natural disaster that we can avoid these types of situations if we would only cultivate more hate against our neighbors in the name of God. It's our 'godless' or 'god-defying' neighbors who are the cause of the problem, they say, and if we will only more boldy turn against them and blame them for our problems, God will love us and stop the rains and the flooding.

Human Sacrifice

Specifically, the Anglican Bishops proclaimed that "pro-gay legislation" is responsible for the floods.

"The sexual orientation regulations [which give greater rights to gays] are part of a general scene of permissiveness. We are in a situation where we are liable for God's judgment, which is intended to call us to repentance."

In other words, to prevent future floods, we need to withdraw or repeal this pro-gay legislation. These Bishops are telling people that the best way to prepare for a natural disaster is by doing harm to their neighbor.

I assure you, legislation has nothing to do with flooding. The Anglican Bishops are doing the equivalent of asking for a human sacrifice. There is no moral difference between cutting the hearts out of 100,000 living human sacrifices to end a solar eclipse, and passing legislation that harms millions of homosexual citizens in order to prevent a future flood.

Seriously, this sick and archaic way of looking at the world should have never left the middle ages. It is morally and socially outrageous that this attitude can still be used today.

What these Anglican Bishops are really advocating is that we add a level of man-made misery and suffering to that which nature has delivered. As if nature does cause enough human misery, the Anglican Bishops feel compelled to engineer society to add even more.

Working Together

Another way in which we can blame the magnitude of this disaster on our moral failings is that too many people have wasted too much energy hating their neighbors and generating political conflicts, when that time and energy could have been spent learning to work together to better respond to natural disasters.

Ironically, if there ever is a natural (or terrorist-made) disaster, the people we need to depend on most are our neighbors - the people that the Anglican Bishops want you to harm.

Think of yourself being swept away by a flood. You reach out your hand with one chance of somebody pulling you to safety (or pulling you out of a burning building, or performing life-saving surgery, or getting you and your family out of the pile of rubble that some earthquake may have made out of your home). The person in the best position to save your life may well be the gay person that the Anglican Bishop wants you to harm.

Also, consider the importance of preparing for a natural disaster as an important part of saving lives and preventing injury. The Anglican Bishops would prefer wasting time and energy on a political fight. All of that time and effort that goes into hating homosexuals and blaming them for floods, could otherwise go into understanding nature, building disaster plans, and training people to work together to protect each other.

It is no exaggeration to say that these Anglican Bishops are seeking to generate animosity and conflict among people who really would benefit if they learned to work together for the common good.

Supporting the Church

What is really going on here is that the Church is exploiting a natural disaster – with all of the human misery and suffering that comes with it – to make itself more powerful. It is committing a form of blackmail. “Either you support the Church, give us political power, and obey our dictates, or our God will make sure that you suffer the consequences.” If it works as it should, then the Church leaders become the masters, and the rest of us humbly obey (so that we do not suffer the consequence of floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, fires, plague, and the like).

I am not saying that the Church is run by a group of people who know that no God exists and who, instead, have worked out this elaborate conspiracy to trick the people. I am willing to allow that the Church leaders believe what they say. However, the reason they believe it is because they want to believe it. They are human. They like power. The sight of millions of people bowing to them and giving them homage can easily turn a person’s head.

These people look at this line of argument and, perhaps even subconsciously (rather than consciously), note that it will result in people bowing down to them, giving them social and political power and control. This triggers the pleasure centers of the brain. This, in turn, tells the person that they ‘like’ this idea. Because they like it, it must be true. In fact, religion makes this a lot easier because when the religious leader ‘likes’ something, he does not have to hold it up to the light of reason. He does not have to question it in any way. In fact, he can tell himself that it would be wrong to question it because what he likes obviously comes from God.

It is all so very convenient.

Understanding Cause and Effect

In this flooding, we are, indeed, paying for our sins. One of those sins is listening to people who denigrate science and who profess magic solutions that prevent people from taking real-world action to protect themselves from real-world risk.

One of the things that scientists have been telling us for the last few decades is that global warming will mean greater flooding. Warmer temperatures are going to cause oceans, lakes, rivers, and puddles to evaporate more quickly than before. Plants make their living by pulling moisture out of the ground and using depositing it in the atmosphere – and plants can do much more of this with higher temperatures. More moisture in the air means that more moisture is going to come out of the air when we have precipitation events. We can reasonably expect flooding to be worse in the future than it has been in the past.

Science has warned us. However, the theistic branch of society keeps telling us to ignore science. Forget about all of those findings and research, all we need to do is to pray to God, hate our neighbors, and support the Church and we will have nothing to worry about.

Because of our sins, we do not understand the real world nearly as well as we could have understood it – and we do not put as much effort into preparing for these types of events because we think that our good luck charms and God’s love will protect us. As a result, we suffer far greater harm than we would have if we simply accepted the fact that we live in a universe that really does not care whether we live or die, or how well we live, or how painfully and long it takes us to die.


The Church of England bishops are correct. We are suffering for our sins. We are suffering for the sin that too many people have, for too long, listened to people like the Church of England bishops. The Church has distracted people from obtaining an accurate understanding of how nature works, and has devoted far too much of its effort to sewing conflict among its people rather than helping them to work together to prepare for natural disasters and to help each other out in times of needs. It wants to teach people to hate their homosexual neighbors, rather than sit down with their homosexual neighbors and ask, “What can we do to prepare for the next flood?”

There is a form of cosmic justice in the world. This cosmic justice says that people who do stupid things, who fail to understand and anticipate the real world in which they live, are likely to suffer the consequences of their stupidity. A nation that spends too many centuries listening to bishops rather than scientists well illustrates this principle.


Joe Otten said...

They're talking about recent floods in the United Kingdom, specifically a mile or so from me in Sheffield.

Of course I have been virtuous by buying a house on high ground, and so escaped God's wrath.

David Cortesi said...

Joe, is nobody in the UK speaking out about this? It's the kind of wacko moronic stupidity that is too familiar in the USA, but really -- Anglicans?!?

Psychols said...

An Anglican Bishop is free to say what he will. His opinion does not reflect the Anglican communion. He speaks for himself and his dioscese.

About half of Canadian Anglicans endorse the idea of chuch sanctioned same sexed (gay)marriage. It was barely defeated on the last vote. The next vote will probably have a different outcome and gays will marry in the Anglican Church the way they do in the United Church in Canada.

Anonymous said...

We have all upset God's order of the world. It has been Redeemed, but not restored in full; we must work our way toward that. Tho' we are quite sure they come through our own experiences in growing in grace and stature, the truth is, rather, that every good or loving urge or thought we receive about helping anyone anywhere has first come from God. Any judgment or condemnation that has been mouthed by us, has come from the father of lies -- who most wants us to think there is no God, and failing that, would have us attribute our own values as being God's.