So I went to the grocery store and when I came back, there was a multi-page newsletter from the local Seventh-Day Adventist church on it. They included an email address for "comments and questions." This is what I sent them:
I got a newsletter with this email address on it today. It was in the driver’s side door handle of my car at Ralph’s grocery.
I read it. I read it with interest, actually.
I will say this: if you truly want to glorify God with your actions, I believe that ranting and raving about which day is really the Sabbath or how the Ten Commandments are worded (you DO know that the “original version” you include in the newsletter is also a translation of a translation of a translation from the original, don’t you? It’s highly unlikely that those translations are any more accurate to the original than the ones recently done in 2006) or how many Catholics are on the US Supreme Court is hardly the course of action God would want you to take. Furthermore, wasting precious resources (the trees killed to make the paper the newsletters were printed on, most of which will just be thrown out with the garbage) that God put on this earth is shameful, especially when there are far better, more effective, and less ecologically destructive methods available to get the word out.
But let’s talk about that word.
The back page was all about how God allowed the events of September 11 to happen because the world has become wicked.
Let’s forget for a moment the truth that those events were brought about by human beings, not by God, human beings who were caught up in the trappings of their religion to the point that their beliefs were more important than the lives of those who were killed that day. Those people worshipped God in a different way than we do, and those differences led them to believe that they are right and we are wrong and therefore, they needed to prove their righteousness and the fallacy of the other versions of God’s law. Does that sound familiar? It sounds a lot like your rant on the first pages about how the pope and the Catholics are all messed up over which day is the Sabbath and how the Commandments should be worded. Perhaps the perpetrators of 9/11 started out their path to evil by putting newsletters on people’s cars. Wait, I digress.
OK, Let’s forget that it was religion that caused those events on 9/11 and just go ahead and believe for the moment that all of this was part of God’s plan.
If this is true, then God doesn’t deserve to be worshipped. You can’t tell me that all 3000+ people who were killed that day were wicked and deserved to die. I might remind you that while all humans have their faults and their shortcomings and they all make mistakes from time to time, this is fundamentally different from being wicked. Wickedness is a mindset, a way of life, and I’d venture that most of those folks who died that day do the best they can to be good people. Many of them, in fact, died selfless deaths in the process of trying to save others. If God allowed them to die because other people somewhere else were wicked, then God is quite simply evil.
There, I said it. EVIL.
If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, then God should have no trouble picking out the wicked people and punishing them, while leaving the rest of the people alone. How effective would that be, seeing the wicked people get their comeuppance, knowing that if you followed that path, a similar fate would befall you? This exact method has been used by parents and other authority figures since the dawn of time. If one of your kids misbehaves, you punish that kid, the other kids see what happens, and learn from it. God, on the other hand, apparently sees one kid misbehave and kills a couple of the other kids instead, while leaving the misbehaving one unharmed. Not to mention the grief of the other good kids who didn’t get killed, who now miss their siblings, and who also didn’t misbehave. Wouldn’t you call those parents evil - or at least psychopathic?
And what about all of the other things in the world, like famine, disease, natural disasters, starvation… these things happen to the innocent as well as the wicked. Is God such a poor judge of character as to not be able to weed out the bad stock, or is He just a really, really bad guy who toys around with us like pawns with no real regard for what we do or why we do it?
No. I don’t believe that any more than you do.
I don’t believe that God would act like that, nor do I believe that God cares whether people are Catholic or Muslim or Jewish or Pastafarian (google it).
I look at the events of the world and I don’t see God’s hand in any of it. At all.
I think that as science progresses, those things attributed to God will be explained and the stories of the Bible will be taught in schools as Mythology, alongside the stories of Zeus, Hera, Apollo, and Mars. Once we learned that the sun wasn’t a fiery chariot and that Poseidon didn’t make the surf crash against the rocks and thunder wasn’t Zeus getting angry, those gods seemed silly to us and we moved on. The same will happen with the Judeo-Christian God in time as well.
In the meantime, instead of cutting down trees for paper to rant about which day is supposed to be the Sabbath or how the Ten Commandments are worded or whether 9/11 was punishment for the wickedness of Man, I will instead spend my days being nicer to people, trying not to destroy the environment, helping out my neighbour, and all those other sorts of things that will make me a better human being, free from the man-made drama of which version of the current mythology is “right” when they’re all basically wrong.
Perhaps the time spent putting newsletters on strangers’ cars could’ve been better spent actually doing something Christ-like for your fellow man.