Monday, May 05, 2008

It's days like this that make me hate Christianity...

WARNING: I realise that some of my readers are Christians. Therefore, to put this angry post into context, you might want to read about my loss of faith, which explains my angry and occasionally bitter position on religion.

Myanmar believes 4,000 die in cyclone

By Aung Hla Tun Reuters - 24 minutes ago

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar's military junta believes at least 4,000 people died in a cyclone that ripped through the Irrawaddy delta, triggering a massive international aid response for the pariah southeast Asian nation. Full story here.

4,000 people dead in what used to be Burma (I think they call in Myanmar these days.)

4,000 people! In the space of a few hours! All from a single 'Act of God' that tore through Irrawaddy delta leaving a trail of wreckage and corpses in it's wake.

4,000 is the official casualty figure, but it's climbing all the time. Conservative estimates put the actual death toll at closer to 10,000.

It's days like this that I pray God doesn't exist - because if he did, how could something like this happen? If God existed, he'd be at worst a mass murderer - at best a criminally negligent landlord. Events like this are simply incompatible with the feel good crap Christians try to spoon feed us.

I mean, what's the Christian take on the events in Burma?

I remember in the days following the Tsunami how a Christian friend of mine was trying to explain that hardly any of the 250,000 South East Asians who'd been killed would go to heaven 'because most of them are Muslim.'

Apparently you have to accept Jesus Christ before you get a pass to heaven, so the quarter of a million God wiped out that Christmas morning lost not only their lives, but were condemned to eternal damnation.

Nice stuff, this Christianity.

But even the specific technicalities of Christian 'lore' fade into insignificance when you look at the big picture. How could God even let this happen?

In the Bible, terrible events normally happen for the reason. The great flood was a 'cleansing' that either wiped out the 'bad men' or, if you read some of the more juicy Catholic texts, eliminated the 'Nephilum' who were the offspring of Angels and humans.

If the Tsunami or the cyclone in Myanmar happened for a reason, what was it?

And whatever the supposed 'reason,' how can a 'loving' God coolly eliminate thousands of his children - even for some supposed indiscretion. It doesn't sound like a loving God to me - more like a vengeful, petty, brutal mass murderer. Mind you, that's how he acted in the Old Testament.

I will never understand how a Christian can witness events like these and not doubt their faith. In fact, I'm surprised how anybody who lives on Earth can still believe God is kind and loving. The cyclone in Myanmar was a more epic 'Act of God' than most, but the negligent and criminal acts God condones occur each and every day in plain sight.

A church going, God-fearing family who find out that one of them has terminal cancer. A random fire wiping out a family's uninsured home, leaving them penniless. One I witnessed myself - a regular church-goer paralysed after an accident on a trampoline, unable to move and throwing his family into poverty and uncertainty.

Surely these events are just The book of Job, reenacted by the Lord's faithful servants all across the world, each and every day.

If this is how God rewards his 'faithful,' I'm pleased I rejected such a concept. Servitude to 'God' is servitude to a petty, cruel and spiteful master who kills and condemns on a whim.

No, the only way life makes any sense is if there is no God.

If random tragedies like the thousands killed in Myanmar are just that - random tragedies. Random is easier to accept that some distorted 'message' from a celestial murderer who considers himself our 'moral authority.'


Anonymous said...

I completely understand where you're coming from. I lost my faith when a close friend died, but when Hurricane Katrina happened soon after it just reinforced my belief that the God that christians believe in can't exist.

BritGal' Sarah said...

22,000 now and apparently 40,000 missing, a total tragedy and I also understand what you are saying, despite believing myself.

Anonymous said...

the only thing i know in times like these is that God never allows an evil to take place unless a greater good can come from it.

Now that might end up being a load of crap, Roland. but sometimes it helps me understand things that don't make sense.

anyways, i pretty much have no religious faith any more myself. raised Catholic but have no connection to it whatsoever and resent it alot actually. so i'm kinda lost spiritually, at the moment. thanks for your honesty here. trust me, i hear ya, man.

ck said...

You can hate Christianity, but it is us Christians who will step up to the plate and serve this part of the world faithfully for the coming years as they try to rebuild.

Not atheist, not Muslims, not governments, but us sorry ole Christians.

The Bible puts it pretty clear, it is not because people sinned that these things happen... but it is to show the life of God through his people that things like this happen.

Tragedy happens. Wish it wouldn't. But it does. Don't pretend to understand God in this regard, but trust Him enough to understand I don't know the full picture of this situation.

Roland Hulme said...

" is us Christians who will step up to the plate and serve this part of the world faithfully for the coming years as they try to rebuild. Not atheist, not Muslims, not governments, but us sorry ole Christians."

CK, this is almost offensive.

Certainly, Christian charities are wonderful and do great work, but if you're trying to suggest that 'only' Christian charities will supply aid - well that's just rubbish.

Already millions of Britons - many who identify themselves as athiests - are sending money and aid. I'm sure muslims, athiests and jews will dig into their pockets in American, too.

During the Tsunami, athiests, muslims and Jewish people actually flew out to the site to help.

You comment suggests that Christianity's trying to take a lot of credit from people who donate or help out without any thought to religion.

That kind of attitude isn't very charitable.

"...but it is to show the life of God through his people that things like this happen."

Really? God shows us how much he loves us by natural disasters that kill thousands.

Not really a God I'd like to believe in.

I prefer how Katie put it: "God never allows an evil to take place unless a greater good can come from it."

The problem is, I can't comprehend any 'greater good' coming from so many innocent people killed.

ck said...

Take a look 2 years from now and see who is still there. It will predominantly be Christians.

80+%... and thats saying a lot when you have only about 25% or so of the world that identify as such.

patricksarsfield said...

You ask:
"I mean, what's the Christian take on the events in Burma?"

The Christian (and Jewish) take is: "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the Name of the Lord." Job 1:21. Or as it is more frequently put today--even by non-christians--"stuff happens."

If death means there is no God, then there is no God because everybody dies. But death does not mean that. Only the most naive person thinks that God invented a dangerous world but has put bubbles around those who believe in Him. In fact, my Church (the only one Jesus founded) tells me that things are not supposed to be pain free for christians, at all. To the contrary, we are to take up our crosses and follow Him.

Why does God allow "stuff" to happen? God only knows. Phrased another way: why shouldn't God allow "stuff" to happen? Again, God only knows.

I was not appointed to sit in judgment of God and it might not matter to Him what my judgment of Him is: "My ways are not your ways...." Isaiah 55:8. Or as Brother Ezekiel recorded: "Yet you say, "The way of the Lord is unfair." Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?" Ezekiel 18:25.

ginger said...

I would like to encourage believers that read this and become angry or want to argue the christian point of view .... to instead, be thankful.

Be thankful that God allows us to see ourselves from someone else's point of view. This is not just what one man thinks. We have to admit that this is a popular view of Christianity in the world today.

We should be thankful for a reality check in how we, as the body of christ, come across to those exact people who God calls us to reach out to.

And we should be challenged, to do our part in changing the view the world has of us, every day in everything that we do.

Anonymous said...

Your 'christian friend' is a moron and much like ck rather offensively prejudiced. Speak to a vicar or priest who can explain why these things happen and the greater good. I view it as similar to the legal framework when you view some individual cases the miscarriages of justice (such as murderers being released on technicalities) seem horrific but when you see the bigger picture you can see why in many cases they have to happen that way to keep the structure robust. It is the same idea that we can't create our own harmonious ecosphere. We think we are clever enough and can keep things in balance but frankly we aren't and these things generally fail. It is very naive to think we could hope to understand the great plan.

Coffee Bean said...

I have only read your post on why you lost your faith and this one.

I am a 41 year old Christian woman. I was not raised to believe one way or the other. However, I was drawn to it at an early age. I have gone through many cycles of doubt and I will be the first to say I do not understand everything. I am not particularly intelligent but I am often frustrated when I don't get the answers I am seeking.

Your writing is very raw and honest. You also bring up valid questions. It seems to me that it is human nature to try to define everything... to put ourselves into boxes... to align ourselves under the views that are most compatable with where we are at at that particular moment.

It's complicated. I don't have the answers. I have written on my blog a bit about my journey... those posts are mainly under the "Food for Thought," label that you can access on my side bar... if you are interested. I don't think reading what I have written will change your mind or anything... it is just the ramblings of an unremarkable suburbanite mom. But, I hear the heart of what you are saying here and I don't believe it is wrong to question.

linda said...

Check out this post:

linda said...

Check out this post: