(Or : “If God Existed, Hurricanes Wouldn’t”)
According to Professor Henry Higgins, “In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly happen”. The question here is not whether the indisputable fact of current climate change is the result of recent human abuse of the environment, or, on the contrary, the result of the well-known cycles of environmental changes throughout history. Few people suggest that we have the impression of an increase in the number and intensity of natural disasters today because of the greater real-time coverage of such events. The media bombard us constantly with news and views of the latest hurricane like “David” which just hit Florida, and earthquakes like the one that recently devastated Indonesia. Documentaries on polar ice-cliffs collapsing into the ocean hardly impress us any more. Rising sea-levels are projected to flood many cities, menacing millions and threatening the world economy. But no one except the Greens and other crazies seems to care.
My purpose here is to reflect on these meteorological horrors in the context of faith in a supposed benevolent Creator and divine Providence. Why do believers not blame God for His apparent indifference, and continue to beg Him for protection against disasters which he supposedly could, but doesn’t, prevent ?
It continues to amaze me that today’s undeniably worsening weather does not, per se, destroy faith in a divine Architect and omnipotent Protector. How could “God” possibly will such weather on us, resulting in death and destruction for His helpless “children” ? Few would dare to suggest that He is punishing us – as He did Noah’s contemporaries in the Deluge. Believers’ refusal to blame Him surely implies that He is not responsible for the wild weather and they plead with Him to protect them from it. When counting, after each calamity, its sometimes hundreds of thousands of victims, they never hold Him responsible. It is almost as though it makes no difference whether He exists or not. Occasionally hurricanes change course, and (naturally) God gets the credit. When they don’t, He gets off scot-free !
“Ours not to reason why” seems to satisfy the non-atheist. You have to hand it to the clergy. They have succeeded in getting people to continue to believe in, to worship, to depend on Him, and to thank Him for His … goodness. He is a God in Whom they continue to trust, no matter what. Religion as “blindfaithblindfolly” is not the hyperbole of an atheist but a statement of fact by a realist.
P. S. We put first names on hurricanes. Instead of David and Rita, I suggest we begin putting God’s name on them. “Yahweh”, “Jesus” and – to be entirely ecumenical – “Allah” could take it in turn. The next one will be “Yahweh 1”, followed by “Jesus 1”, and finally “Allah 1”. Plenty more where they came from : “Yahweh 2”, “Jesus 2” . . .