The power of God was not sufficient to prevent people dying in a devastating tornado strike on the town of Harrisburg, Illinois a few days ago. Or perhaps God’s power was sufficient, but he chose to do nothing. Maybe he was preoccupied with something else (there are a lot of starving children in the world, for instance). Maybe he even wanted it to happen as part of some grand plan involving death, grief stricken families, and destroyed livelihoods. Who knows?
The upshot of the sorry affair is that his children are left to clean up a mess he could have prevented. Ironic, I think, that the acts of fallible human beings appear to be more commendable than those of the god they believe in.
Churches are providing refuge to families whose homes have been destroyed. Undoubtedly, ministers and priests are speaking words of solace and encouraging their flock to donate time, money, food, and other essentials to those in need. And so they should. Yet it’s hard to escape the deafening roar of silence from the one entity who, according to the same ministers and priests, had the power to prevent the disaster but chose not to.
I’ve brought up the issue of God’s apparent unconcern for natural disasters many times before, but I think it’s worth mentioning every time something like this happens. Believers need to be reminded as often as possible that their god regularly permits his natural creation to commit this sort of heinous, arbitrary violence upon them. It is not a problem that can be swept under the rug. Shrugging one’s shoulders and saying things like “God works in mysterious ways”, is moral apathy, plain and simple – it’s fiddling while Rome, quite literally, burns.