Today a gunman killed at least 12 people and wounded 59 in a Colorado movie theatre. My wife watched news coverage of the disaster this evening. She told me that a man was interviewed who praised God for saving his life.
Maybe it was this guy, Zach Golditch, a football player in an adjoining theatre who was shot when a bullet went through a wall.
And then at 8:57 a.m., he tweeted, "Thank you God for the gift of life! i promise it will not go to waste."
Don't take this too personally, Zach, but I think you're an idiot. It's understandable that you're happy to be alive. Thanking God for keeping you alive when the Holy Fuck-Up in Heaven just caused a dozen people to die is absurd, though.
You can't have it both ways, Zach (or any religious believer).
If God is omnipotent, omniscient, and all that shit, this means he/she/it is in complete control of everything that happens in the cosmos. Mass murder? God is responsible.
But if God is a detached CEO who doesn't get involved in minor details of creation, like 12 people being killed in a movie theatre, then God is worse than useless. What's the point of a divine being who looks down from on high and allows all sorts of fuck-ups to happen?
When tragedies like the Colorado shooting happen, the ridiculousness of believing in a personal God becomes even more apparent. Invariably God is praised for saving the lives of some people. God never is cursed for killing those who perished.
Yet if God saves, God also kills.
This is the God of the Bible's Old Testament. It's a nasty, vengeful, all-too-human God. But at least the Old Testament God makes some sense. Like all of us, sometimes he gets destructively angry; and sometimes he gets all lovey-dovey.
The God of confused modern day Christian theologians, though, is unbelievable. When people do bad things, it's due to the free will God gave to us. However, when good things happen, God is responsible.
Such is the attitude of an Olympics distance runner who thinks God is his coach. Somehow he manages to believe that God is the reason for his successes, yet blameless for his failures.
Ryan Hall is the fastest American distance runner competing in the London Olympics and he says he owes it all to his omnipresent coach who has been there with him every step of the way.
“I’ll just be straight forward, my coach is God,” the 29-year-old Hall told CNN.
...For Hall, running is more about the experience of peace and joy he gets from training. At times he says he does feel down and in said in the past he blamed God for not doing his best in a race, but now he said that has changed.
“I don’t think God causes me to fail in races," he said.
Why not, Ryan?
Why do you limit God's ability to fuck you up, as well as pick you up? If you're going to believe in God, believe in a goddamn macho GOD who does whatever the hell he wants, bad, good, or indifferent, not a wimpy divinity who only involves himself in human affairs when things are all orderly and nice.
George Zimmerman says it was "God's plan" that he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
That's ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as believing that God only is reponsible for the good stuff that happens in life. At least Zimmerman has a consistent Old Testament view of God: someone who murders, rapes, and pillages, then flips into a loving, caring, nurturing father-figure.
I'd rather leave God out of the "why stuff happens" equation entirely.
Having faith in a God who fucks things up so often makes no sense to me. Us humans are perfectly capable of screwing things up on our own, no God required. And also... making things better. On our own.