What’s Wrong With: Disaster Theology?

‘Terrorism is still terrorism … even if your God does it!’ / PsiCop original graphicThe last couple weeks have yielded several examples of what I call “disaster theology.” As I’ve explained many times, this is when some sanctimonious religionist announces that his/her deity either caused some catastrophe, or allowed it to happen, due to the deity’s anger over something the religionist him/herself also happens to be angry about.

The catastrophe in question can be almost anything … whether natural disasters like hurricanes, famines, earthquakes, pestilences, droughts, etc. or man-made disasters, like economic sags, massacres, and terror attacks. (In the latter case, I’ve called that “massacre theology,” but really, it’s just a different manifestation of the very same phenomenon.)

Religionists use this tactic because it tends to rile up others who think as they do, and it appears, to them, to confirm that God agrees with them. That “confirmation” is only apparent, of course … because earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, massacres, and other terrible things do happen from time to time. And they happen due either to natural forces or human nature. There’s no reason to assume a deity must be behind them; they can happen with or without the action or consent of any deity. Yet, most religious believers don’t understand this. They hear, for example, evangelist Ray Comfort say that his God — and theirs — caused a statue of Ganesh to fall in India and kill some Hindus, because s/he/it is angry they’re worshipping a “false god,” and they like hearing that … because they like the notion that their deity has that kind of power and is as angry at Hindus as they are. They find it comforting, and enjoy reveling in the feeling of being under the wing of such a powerful and vengeful God.

What they don’t comprehend is the unstated assumption beneath this kind of thinking, which is that their deity is an almighty cosmic terrorist, wantonly inflicting destruction and death, often on the innocent, in an effort to coerce humanity to do what s/he/it wants them to. A deity who’d send two powerful hurricanes in rapid succession to lay waste to much of the Caribbean and the southeastern United States (cached), is no different from the terrorists who bombed London earlier today (cached) or drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters a few weeks ago and killed someone (cached).

Which leads me to ask: Why would anyone want to worship an almighty cosmic terrorist? By all rights, no ethical or moral person has any business venerating such a malevolent being. Quite the opposite: That sort of deity must be resisted in every possible way and thwarted at every opportunity. Still, that sort of deity apparently has many worshippers, and people who claim to “love” him/her/it. That, Dear Reader, ought to make your blood run cold.

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic.

Page created: September 15, 2017. Last modified: September 15, 2017