This is an excellent piece from a blog I came across through a post on facebook (H/T Sergio Paulo Sider, I think). I am copying it here, but if the author doesn’t like me doing so, I’ll simply link it – let me know!
Anywho, good stuff from Ratthew Mobinson:
The above picture was taken just yesterday outside of Oklahoma City where a major Tornado caused a huge amount of destruction and killed 24 people.
I’ve seen a lot of people saying things on Twitter and Facebook with similar sentiments such as “God is Good.”
I saw the video of the sweet elderly woman who thought she lost her dog but then found her dog in the rubble on Live TV and said that God granted her two wishes, the first being to save her own life, the second to save the life of her dog which, as is clearly shown on video, God did.
Or it could have been the producer of the news program who you can clearly hear saying “there’s your dog” in the background.
But it’s one of those two for sure.
I teared up watching this video because it was a sweet, kind, sad, happy story about my two favorite living things on Earth: humans and dogs.
I’m gonna go ahead and cut to my premise here: the sentiment “God is Good” doesn’t make a lick of sense to me simply because, last I checked, God is supposedly omnipotent which means GOD CAUSED THE TORNADO.
Correct me if I’m wrong.
Now, I understand that there was a catastrophic event. I understand it could have been MUCH, MUCH worse. I understand that thousands of people COULD have died and instead twenty-four people died. I understand all of that.
But I also understand that if God is all powerful then he could simply decide to UN-INVENT TORNADOS.
I understand my caps lock sentence closers are designed to illicit a laugh, but I promise you I’m coming from a place of of sincere confusion. One that perhaps goes to the root of my lack of connection with religion in general.
Let’s take a step back. I have a question!
Aren’t the days where there isn’t a tornado perhaps the more appropriate days to proclaim that “God is Good”?
I’m sure people do proclaim it on those days, but let’s be honest, it’s not even 10 percent of the people who proclaim it on or around tragedies.
Obviously they all understand something I don’t understand and I’m sincerely asking for help in understanding it because it’s alien and foreign and irrational, from my perspective.
What seems rational to me is that, maybe on days when God kills 24 people with an F5 tornado, the people who whole heartedly believe that God is Good might get sort of quiet and sit wondering if perhaps it is time to rethink, or at least question, the whole “God is Good” premise?
Or at least wait until a few days have gone by where there haven’t been any tornados?
I’m not saying God isn’t Good. I’m just saying, it’s confusing to me to proclaim such a sentiment on the the same days when acts of God murder an unusually high number of people.
But it leads to a larger concern for me so we might as well take it one step further and investigate the premise of whether or not God is Good.
Ready? Let’s do it. I’ll start.
Looking around myself, taking into account all of my life experiences, the experiences I’ve heard first hand from others, and my own general daily persepctive as a person living on Earth… I’d have to say that God is… sort of Good.
Like maybe 51 percent Good? Maybe more like 50.1 percent?
I see beauty every day. I am regularly moved to tears by simple human interactions (I’ve had a rough few years, but I’ve always kind of been sensitive). I love my life. I love life. I really do. I think life is beautiful, profound and amazing. I love people. Even with all of the horrible things that have also happened in my life, the good has outweighed the bad.
So, from my own perspective I’d have to say God is pretty good. And that’s me saying that after a PRETTY ROUGH TWO YEARS.
But then I look at the world as a whole. And other people’s lives that I’ve heard or read about. And human history. And humanity as a whole.
And then The Holocaust.
And Rwandan genocide.
And every war ever.
And your dead grandma.
And that Tornado a few days ago.
And babies with cancer.
And my loved ones who have died, some of them young.
And my close friend who is currently fighting for his life in a hospital in New York City right now this second as I’m writing this. My friend who we were told might die this week but now the doctor’s say might live and the word miracle has been bandied about and everyone is too scared to believe any of it because yesterday we were preparing our goodbyes and today we’re saying there’s a chance and that makes me so happy but then that makes me wonder why he spent the last 15 years fighting cancer in the first place. Why? And if he dies tomorrow what was it for? And if he lives why did he have to suffer so?
And now you can see why I am writing this.
Because I am cursing God right now.
Like that one time on the West Wing.
And I am confused as to what God is thinking. And I see no sense in any of it. I am confused as to how he could cause this pain. And it confuses me and angers me, but moreso it just confuses me, because on these days the last thought in my head, the very last thing I could ever fathom thinking is GOD IS GOOD.
Any day but this day.
Not the day after tornados.
And the irony is my house is standing. My house isn’t rubble. My dog is sleeping in the other room not being miraculously found by God/Segment Producers and I have never been in a tornado and I don’t have cancer and I’m not fighting for my life in a New York City hospital but I feel for all of them and I feel for my friend and I feel for the families of the 24 dead people and all those who have no homes or dogs right now.
But those are many of the same ones who are saying God is Good.
And I’m confused.
Also, I don’t believe in God. But don’t get hung up on that.
I believe in people and tragedy and hope and wonder and redemption and forgiveness and bravery and the bitter sweetness of death and all the things your brain probably tells you you’re feeling when you feel you’re communing with God and he is making you proclaim God is Good even though every one of your senses and all rational thought are pointing conversely and emphatically in the other direction.
None of this makes any sense to me but I’m sad and scared but also just a little more alive and feeling guilty for taking a small bit of pleasure in that extra connection to life that comes with facing the mortality of a loved one.
But nothing today has made less sense to me than the sentiment that God is Good.
I say this with the utmost sincerity and respect: I want to understand what makes you say this and I profoundly do not.