Thursday, January 13, 2005

"Where Was God?" Safire Responds, Larry Scoffs

Understandably upset when a fellow parishioner commented, "if there were more christians and less buddhists, God would have saved more people [from the tsunami]", tcrawley03, in his own words, "flipped out" on her. He blogged about the experience, calling upon an article that discussed the tsunami and how God figures (or refuses to figure) into the fray.

The article was an op/ed piece written by William Safire (pictured below) and published in the New York Times. Perhaps after you read it yourself, (it's a fairly quick read) you'll understand why I felt compelled to reply.
Read the piece here or here, then my response (below).

no offense to mr. safire, but the gambling, sadistic, passive/aggressive god has never been a favorite of mine.

on the "lesson"...
1. if the victims didn't deserve such a fate, why are they dead? where's the justice in that? and am i alone in noting that the phrase "inflicted by the Leviathanic force of nature" posits the blame on a "force of nature" which seems oddly but conveniently [removed/distinctly separate] from God? does this suggest that the supposedly omniscient, almighty god had nothing to do with the ordeal? that he was asleep? on break? washed his hands of the region in their time of peril?
[to achieve] what? for us to grieve, band together, send money, remember god and then forget everything until the next tragedy comes along to re-enliven our wonderfully wonderful humane compassion and generosity? chile please. i'd like to believe an infinite being would be a little more resourceful and a little less round-about than that.

2. as with most biblical imperatives, questioning god has as many "exemplars" as it has prohibitions and qualifications. the singular exemplar of job can not negate or counter a longstanding tradition of penalizing heresy, blasphemy and heterodoxy with several forms of death: [literal, social and, of course, spiritual]. the church and its wayward doctrine have leaned overwhelmingly toward the latter.

3. i wonder where the eff "humanity's obligation to ameliorate injustice" is in the fight for reparations and in the levying of penalties for those involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal. humanity's supposed obligation to ameliorate injustice is activated rather selectively, if you ask me... or Mumia Abu-Jamal. or my bruthas down in Guantánamo.


Blogger Kwerkie said...

I can't help myself...I feel the need to share.
There was a similar article written in our local rag here (Vancouver Province....a TERRIBLE paper that my coleagues INSIST on toting as the best paper in BC...sadly they are wrong).
Ahem. I felt the need to reply to the Editor as well. Though unlike was short and sweet.
My reply was thus:

"I am sure the LAST thing that these people need at this time of crisis for them, is to be threatened with some sort of Retribution Mythology. Converting to Christianity is not going to provide food, shelter and protection from the disease that will sweep over the lands after this disaster. Glad to know your belief in your own moral superiority keeps you safe from all manner of misfortune and natural disasters...too bad it doesn't protect you from being an insensitive jerk."

Funny enough it was even published...well...just the 1st sentence to be honest.

PS loved the poetry.

1:51 AM  
Blogger G. Cornelius Harris said...

WOW...Hey I changed a few things around on the page...Come check it out and tell me what you think...Like or dislike...You know...Well I'll keep you posted

4:29 AM  
Blogger Liza Valentino said...

*wild applause for number 3*

This is interesting, I was just listening to (my fav poet of all time) Nikki Giovanni on the radio this morning and she criticized the hell out of Bush. She stated that it was only after he saw the response to the mere $15 mil he tried to send, that his "innner philantropist" was invoked and he upped it to $350 mil. Still, Nikki and many others are not impressed, stating that this amount of money is less than was involved in the Enron scandal.

So, yes, where are we for Mumia? Why does Assata still feel the need to be in Cuba? Where are we for those captive in Guantanamo? Why did it takes us so long with Rwanda ethnic cleansing? Where are we in Darfur? "Humanity's obligation to ameliorate injustice" indeed...yeah the EFF right...

5:53 PM  
Blogger Hollambeeee said...

1 - I don't think that he asserts that they deserved death at all...unlike many Christians that feel that there was some kind of idea that this was ultimately God's will, I posted the article because I feel he is asserting the opposite...that most of the time - things just happen. September 11, people were killed. Don't look for an ultimate spiritual message (ex: "God was trying to get our attention"). The citation of the story of Job is a good one in my opinion because it shows that bad shit happens to good people...and in Job's case, he was such a good person that it caused bad shit to happen...

Relating that to the story and to how I felt about what the young woman at my church stated about them being "idol worshippers", the article answered that horrible idea to me...

2 - Although challenging orthodoxy is seen as a bad thing and has had its grave consequences in the past, I'm not ready to asser that Job is a trite example...the life of Jesus, chronicled (and doctored up) by his disciples show, if anything, that he certainly was readily willing to challenge orthodoxy - he challenged the god that the jewish leaders of his time worshipped and introduced a much more poor-folk-oriented god...

i break with orthodoxy with my views on women in ministry, sexuality, universalism, salvation, the rapture, and much much more...

3 - i humans (americans particularly), we tend to only look at some issues for justice and brush many other things under the rug...

tis the reason why white folks could go to church on sunday then hold a public lynching complete with picnic basket in the afternoon...the sense of justice was skewed...

none of this means that gods or goddesses are means that people have found ways to express gods in a very patriarchal, unjust manner...

but i ramble...i'm done...sorry

9:35 PM  

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