Science-based Religion Blog

Science and religion are not intrinsic enemies. Science strives for revelation. It is the revelation of the universe as we find it. The current picture of the universe is in perfect harmony with many religious perspectives and in stark contrast to others. This blog intends to explore these harmonies and conflicts of Science and Religion. Keep an open mind and a gentle heart please.

Location: Richmond, Virginia, United States

My family background is third generation German-American. I was the younger of two sons. My father was an English professor who had also served a Protestant minister and missionary to China. My mother was a nurse and social worker. I went to Purdue University, where I earned a B.S. degree in the Honors Physics program. I got a masters degree in Physics from the University of Southern California and also a masters and Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics from the USC school of religion. I have worked as a teacher and as an IT professional. I am married, with no children but two cats.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

God is not a terrorist!

Just a quick post to condemn the many (ir)religious among us blaming the devastation in Japan on God or Karma or anything else other than plate tectonics. If we are to believe many pious commentators, the thousands who died a horrifying death--including many children, unborn infants, and people who have lived lives of love and compassion--are being punished for atheism or some other heresy.

When someone says something to this effect, ask them, "So you're saying God is a terrorist!" If they object, point out that terrorists, such as the ones against whome we are fighting a war, routinely kill people without regard to the innocents who perish in an attempt to so terrorize a population that they capitulate to whatever the terrorists want to replace the current regime.

How is it any different if God were to destroy human life in an effort to get people to love and obey Him? It is like a parent beating a child because the child does not love the parent because the child is beaten by the parent. If we are to believe the Bible, God has been a terrorist from the beginning, starting with the flood, and following up with destruction of cities like Sodom and Gommorrah, and even killing nothing but children in the Passover event that successfully terrorized the Egyptians so much they caved to the demands of their captives.

While the ancients clearly found such a God a plausible being and one who must be worshipped for fear of being punished, we do not need to share their fear. We are part of a world which has many things that cause pain and suffering, which befall all creatures, not just humans. Many of these things have long term benefits and have shaped us into the beings we are. Earthquakes such as the one in Japan have happened very regularly since the beginning of the earth and may be responsible for the planet supporting life. The fact that we are now suffering from time to time because of earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, and such is just an unavoidable accident of our evolution. That which makes these events also makes all the things we love so much about this world, its beauty, its tender expressions of cooperation and love, and so much more.

I recommend the writings of Michael Dowd for speaking out on this issue with compassion and reason. Here is a link to something he wrote in response to those who are blaming God and in some cases praising God for the deaths in Japan.