I've just got back from a brief trip to Erie, PA. It's a day's drive up there, from where I live, and a day's drive back. Luckily, the route is through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania - beautiful scenery everywhere, especially now that it's fall and the leaves are changing color.
On these long drives, I've taken to listening to Christian radio. I'm not religous (I vacillate between being an atheist and being an Omnian) but I find it amusing to listen to the various preachers these shows have - 99% of 'em men, 90% of 'em guys with southern accents, all of them saying stuff out of the Bible that just makes me shake my head as to how people can believe that stuff...
So I tuned in to the Dr. Vernon McGee show, and its at the opening, and he reads a poem from a woman, written after Mt. St. Helens erupted. (It happened in 1980. Most of these religious shows recycle content from the 50s through the 80s to save on money today. For example McGee died in 1988, yet his material is still aired today and I've never heard anyone mention that these are old recordings. Of course I only hear them a couple of days out of every six months or so...)
Anyway. May 18, 1980. Mt. St. Helens erupts. 57 people die. Now admittedly, that's not very many. The flooding of New Orleans killed around 1,500 people.
But the point is, this woman writes this poem, which Dr. McGee reads on the radio. "God has spoken. Is anyone listening?"
And I'm thinking to myself...so Mt. Helens wasn't a natural disaster. God made it happen. He spoke. And just what was he saying?
Well, what was he saying, by this natural disaster? What was going on in 1980 that was so heinous that he must needs kill 57 people and cause millions of dollars of property damage? What was his message, exactly, and did it get out to the world?
And I've have to say, no. Now, if he'd gone about it a bit differently... if instead of blowing the top of of Mt. St Helens he'd caused all the rubble to fall into the discernable shape of Jesus Christ... now that's a message that you can see, understand, and believe in. But something that is a natural disaster? That kills 57 people .... presumably all of 'em white, all of 'em straight, ya da ya da... what was his message???
Of course that got me thinking of Jerry Falwell, who said that God destroyed New Orleans because the US Army allowed gays into the military.
And there again I'm thinking, what kind of God do these people worship? 1,500 people killed...probably only 3% of them gay, billions of dollars of property damage, and God kills all these people because he's upset that the US is letting gays into the military? If he's so upset about gays, why doesn't he just send a lightning strike to kill everyone in a gay nightclub. Some undeniably god gesture that is also undeniably aimed at gays, rather than just at a few thousand innocent people?
I think about that, sometimes. I don't believe in God, but if I did believe that God exists, I still wouldn't worship him, because he's nothing but a psycho!
Well, having finished that little rant let me end by saying tha tof course I'm quite grateful to be living in a secular Christian country. Christianity got over its barbaric period 300 years ago, or however long it's been since the Inquisition. Islam, however, is still in its barbaric period. A secular Islamic country is just one fundamentalist fatwa away from being a Shariah country, with women reduced from being people to being property, imprisoned in their homes, stitched up from head to foot in burquas for God forbid they inflame some otherwise honorable man to lust!
Atheism...humanism....Objectivism.... that's the only way to achieve peace on Earth... but unfortunately I don't think it's ever going to happen, as anyone who dares to not believe in Allah will be getting their heads chopped off or their family stoned, or something...
Scary, scary times...all thanks to religion. Another reason to thank God! Halleluhah. If, on May 18, 1980, he'd caused volcanos to erupt simultaneously in every country, with the lava flow solidifiying imto either Jesus or Mohammed (or some kind of Islamic symbol, since no one, let alone Muslims, is allowed to draw pictures of a human figure, let alone of Mohammad), then the question of which religion was the "one true religion" would have been satisifed then and there. But no... he contents himself by causing one measly volcanic eruption, that to the untutored eye could so easily be passed off as just a natural disaster....that God's great message just got lost.... Too bad, so sad...