Things that don’t help

For the record, when it comes to massive disasters, it does not help to blame the victims or to insist that this so-called “act of God” (why in the world would we call disasters that?!?) is somehow justified.

I’m disgusted by and feel sorry for individuals whose understandings of God are so limited that they have to twist around other people’s suffering into some sort of divine retribution. Pat Robertson (who claimed that the earthquake and the poverty in Haiti happened because Haitians ‘made a pact with the devil’) and his ilk articulate a kind of faith that to me is so immature and inapplicable that it’s simultaneously pitiable and dangerous. Pitiable because the theories they espouse reflect a brokenness in them and a belief in a nasty monster of a God, and dangerous because sometimes they have microphones and TV cameras and seem to forget the awesome and daunting responsibility that comes with trying to claim to speak the Word of God to any audience, and falling back instead on own our words, our own fears, our own limitations.

Fellow United Methodist blogger Erik Folkerth wrote a very good post on the subject yesterday, and Don Miller of Relevant Magazine offered words of rebuke and compassion as well. Wise folks, who challenge me to be gentle and loving in the face of those who are often anything but.

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6 Responses

  1. When I hear Pat Robertson say idiocy like his most recent rant, I realize that if such was my only source for an understanding of God, I would be a raving Anti-Theist. One wonders sometimes what God it is that Mr. Robertson believes in, he seems to be cruel, vindictive, capricious and mildly sociopathic.

    In frankness, it strikes me as the antithesis of the idea that we are made in God’s image. The God mentioned by Mr. Robertson and his ilk is a pseudo-Deity, made in their own image, and therefore reflective of their prejudices, hatreds and fears, and not of the divine love and wisdom of true Deity.

    • What scares me sometimes, Sidney, is that for a lot of people, Pat Robertson is a primary (if not only) source for understanding God. For some, this means he creates in his own, broken image, people just as narrow-minded. For others who hear him on the news and stuff, it drives a further wedge and convinces them that they should indeed be raving Anti-Theists.

      I agree with your assessment, and the age-old saying that God created us in God’s image, and we were only too happy to return the favor. I definitely don’t believe in Robertson’s god, and I think that god reflects more about Robertson than about the Holy.

      Thanks for commenting,
      Becca

      • “For others who hear him on the news and stuff, it drives a further wedge and convinces them that they should indeed be raving Anti-Theists.”

        In many cases, that’s me. There is no amount of love or compassion that can ever make up for the evil and hatred intentionally spread by that man and his followers, not enough to convince me that “God is good” when I already have doubts about the value of religious faith anyway.

        • Exactly my case-in-point. And when we consider the fact that, not to toot my own horn or anything, but you know some of the most loving and compassionate religious types out there, old Pat has to work that much harder to counterbalance all of of that. Evangelist for atheism indeed.
          <3 Becca

  2. Sojo.net had an article up that said that people like Pat Robertson are actually Evangelists for Atheism because they drive people AWAY from Christianity through their lack of compassion. Interesting!

    • That’s largely been my experience, not necessarily with watchers of the 700 club (I don’t know that many), but with non-churchy types who react to Robertson and extrapolate their opinions about church and Christianity and God in general from his often hurtful messages. It’s a sad thing.

      Becca

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