Reflections on an Angry God

George Zimmerman, a man known more for his desire to chase down unarmed teenagers than for his theological musings, recently said it was “God’s plan” for him to kill Trayvon Martin.

After the tragic theater shooting last weekend, former presidential candidate (and minister) Mike Huckabee blamed the shooting on America’s “sin problem,” noting:

And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, communities, the military, and public conversations, we really shouldn’t act so surprised when all hell breaks loose.

These are just topical twists on the classic Wrathful Deity theme, which goes back to the earliest people, the cave-dwellers who thought lightning was the sure sign of Someone Up There being really pissed off. Various religious leaders revive the idea regularly–Jerry Falwell blamed hurricanes on God’s furor over gay rights, while Pat Robertson blamed a Haiti-Satan alliance for that nation’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake. My own grandmother tells me that our nation would be vastly improved by the return of school prayer (though, to her credit,
she has never linked the separation of church and state to any specific tragedy).

Why do people buy this stuff? Perhaps large scale horrors are beyond understanding, more pain than we can comprehend. Maybe some folks just need a scapegoat, and God–all things to all people–is there, ready to be blamed. (Zimmerman, especially, would love to pass the buck on a killing he admits to committing.) And maybe all this talk of God distracts from other things, like discussing gun control or considering our country’s relationship with impoverished nations in our hemisphere. Either that, or people just aren’t that much smarter than we were ten thousand years ago, huddling in fear of the thunder.

I have no beef with people of faith. Most of them are good people, and most of them realize that blaming tragedies on heavenly temper tantrums is a thoughtless, idiotic thing to do. Most believers feel that God is Love, after all.

If you do believe that God punishes large groups of regular people for things unrelated to them–like abortion or gay marriage or school prayer–if you believe in a literal Flood or the destruction of Sodom–I have a question:

Why are you worshipping such a dick?

I am not a believer. But if I did join a church–if I did worship a Higher Power–my God wouldn’t kill children because of the political decisions made by people 2000 miles away. I would never want to spend an eternity with a Supreme Being whose plan involved shooting a kid for wearing a hoodie. I wouldn’t give offerings to a Force who ruined cities because two men could get married. If you believe these things, your god is s bully and you are a victim. I feel sorry for you.

Note: Some people might now be worried that this post will lead to further tragedy, as the Lord will be angry with me. Fear not! I lack influence and importance. This will probably lead to no more than a car being keyed somewhere in Maine.


About semiblind

Bringing you stark existentialism since 1981.
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8 Responses to Reflections on an Angry God

  1. mixedupmeme says:

    When I first began following you, I felt so sorry for your eyes that are not seeing well.

    My pity should really go to those who will be blind to the words you write.

    Great post!

  2. As a Colorado state resident, liing two hours south or Denver, folks around here believe this tragedy was the result of one F***ed up person who required serious medicating. Granted that he will most likely be incarcerated in an institution for the criminally insane right here down the road a piece…we don’t exepect he’ll live very long past sentencing and transfer. The door will be shut on his ass, and everyone else will be left to deal with their losses of life, limb and illusion as best we can.
    Happy thoughts never hurt those we send them too, but damning thoughts only sour the stomach of the sender.

  3. Matt says:

    I think a lot of times when people make a claim like Huckabee’s, they’re saying that our morals and attitudes have gone down the toilet because of not having prayer in schools. Not so much that God is punishing people for it, just that we’re more messed up as a society because of it. Not that either one is based in reality (especially considering, as I’m sure you know, prayer is not banned in schools).

    • semiblind says:

      That’s a subtle distinction, but one I should have made. Thanks for clarifying.

      And, yes, the “kicked God out of schools” thing is a myth. All we did was make it so the government isn’t mandating religion. Kids can pray at lunch or before a test. The issue is red meat for the rubes.

  4. Lee says:

    Another reason certain simple-minded people say “God did it to punish us” is that they need to feel, in their own black-and-white way, that God is in control of this world. Evil looks powerful to them. So if God can’t or won’t do terrible, destructive things to people that God is angry with, God looks weak to them, and not worthy of “fearing” and following.

    Those who see evil and destruction as weakness rather than strength have no need to see God as a vindictive, destroying being.

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