The following is a commentary in an ongoing series of “Reflections” by John Mill. John Mill is the radio persona of Ronald Bruce Meyer and can be heard on “American Heathen.” “The American Heathen” Internet radio broadcast is aired, live, on Friday nights from 7:00pm-10:00pm Central time on ShockNetRadio.com
What Can Be Done? It’s the Judgment of God
A Reflection by Ronald Bruce Meyer
The Japanese have suffered the worst earthquake ever experienced in their country – and they’ve known quite a few. It was followed by a 30-foot tsunami which has swept away many of their lives and much property. It left damaged and leaking nuclear reactors that now threaten the Japanese with radiation. Japanese babies can’t get radiation-free water.
If you think the Japanese are having a bad time, don’t relax: religion’s mean machine is piling on the invective and vituperation. Whatever the Japanese have suffered, the godly tell us, they brought upon themselves. For it is written: it’s the judgment of God. What can be done?
“There are no coincidences with God,” writes WordWeaver. “He has a reason for everything that He does, or everything that He allows to happen. Thus, I am convinced that these events were an Act of God which were wrought by the Hand of God. While it may be politically-incorrect to say so… I can't help but believe that God has allowed His wrath to be felt by the people of Japan in a very big way. Perhaps these events are meant to break their proud hearts, so that they will humbly come to Christ and acknowledge Him as their Lord and Savior.”
Not to be outdone in blaming the victims, including the children, the website WordOfGod writes with biblical fury,
"You Japan are idolatry. You worship Buddha instead of Me – Creator of the Universe, Creator of heaven and earth and everything in it. You are proud of yourself – You are rich and you can do whatever you want! So you have become the, most idolatrous country on earth. You are blind and deaf that you don't know I am the Sovereign God, the source of everything. Without Me, you are nothing and can do nothing but die!"
Perhaps the doom-blamers and sin-mongers should coordinate their assignments of culpability. The janmeador blog:
“Contrary to what so many believe, Yahweh – Almighty God IS in control. I want to share with you what I feel is very significant concerning the dates of these recent events and the possible “why” they took place. I am not the nation of Japan’s judge. God is. I am only pointing out documented facts that correlate exactly with the timing. … [March 11, 2010,] The Government of Japan deplores the decisions of the Government of Israel to give permission for the construction of 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem in addition to 112 units in West Bank… That’s some pretty strong language – language imposed against God’s people and God’s land.
Even some Japanese right-wingers couldn’t resist flogging the flood: Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, a 79-year-old novelist, stage and screen actor and champion of the Japanese political right, called the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan tembatsu – or "divine judgment on the wicked."
Always on the lookout for a way to accelerate our fears, Fox News, reports a poll by Public Religion Research Institute and Religion News Survey, saying nearly 4 in 10 Americans Say Natural Disasters Sign from God.
The Catholic reaction?
“God is all-powerful and all good. … Sometimes, in order to bring us back to Him, God allows us to experience terrible things. The world, in this case, is being shown the consequences of our sins. We should not judge the Japanese and say that they are somehow more guilty than we are… When things like this happen, it is a call to repentance and to acknowledge God's greatness….”
There isn’t a global consensus that the late troubles in Japan are God’s judgment for irreligion: The Chinese see this as retribution for atrocities the Japanese perpetrated on them during WW2!
Throughout the history of religions, natural disasters were known as flagella dei, the scourges of God, sent to “awaken and affright” a sinful humanity to repentance. The biblical Book of Luke says, “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from Heaven.” In 1580, under Queen Elizabeth, there was set forth an “order of prayer to avert God's wrath from us, threatened by the late terrible earthquake…”
But that was then: Humanity was ignorant of the causes of natural disasters. Now we can explain natural disasters, with science. Now we use reason and logic to temper our desire to see the Almighty Finger pointing at humankind in every “Wind, Famine, Plague, and Death of Kings, War, Earthquake, Flood, and Direful Change.” What can be done about doomsayers? Well, I would ask each arrogant priest and prophet, “Isn’t it time to shut your sadistic, disaster-delighting, vituperative, blame-laying, Bible-thumping, Koran-clanging, Torah-touting, doom-shouting, anti-intellectual, ignorant pie hole?”
What enraged the clerics of Dickens' day was not capitalist excess, but that Dickens took Christ out of Christmas. Scrooge is shamed into changing his narrow, grasping, capitalist ways by being shown for the first time their human cost.