On the day of the earthquake, a site was circulated by various outraged atheists. It blamed the earthquakes on tolerance of gay people in New Zealand.
The site is now removed, but it’s still readable on cache. I had a look through the pages, and notice a couple of things that made me wonder. Specifically:
- The hateful language, as opposed to a hateful message. Christians tend not to use words like “fag”. This is actually a good tell, because the Wesbro Baptist “Church” does and gets wide publicity for it. An unitiated onlooker might assume this was common in fundamentalist christian circules when describing homosexuality. It’s not. Even in sermons that condemn homosexuality in the strongest possible terms, you will pretty much never hear words like that.
- The language is over the top, but to a point. It doesn’t escalate into more irrational ranting as would be expected from someone genuinely outraged and working themselves into a lather.
- Scripture isn’t quoted (but see later). Fundamentalists cite scripture constantly in these sorts of things to justify their position.
- Trying too hard. The earthquake, ok. The IRD and XT network? Sorry, there’s no indication in the Bible that a cellphone network outage is God’s judgement.
But none of that is certain. 1) especially is very much a judgement call. No, what sealed the deal was this page.
First thing that struck me was that I saw scripture references. Second thing that struck me was that there was a distinct agenda being pushed which was completely at odds with the rest of the site.
Step One, STOP harming those around you – stop the bullying, stop the verbal and other abuse, stop the thieving, stop the dishonesty, stop the tolerance for violence, perversion, and alcoholism….
That is the one that differentiates between humans being judged, while animals are not – so their spirit does not need to go up to God. (The original text uses the word Ruach for both human and animal spirits — ie they are on the same level — Nefesh is a lower order of soul, and Neshamah is the next one up (above Ruach); above Neshamah come Chaiyah and Yechida. The Bible uses Ruach when talking about the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaQodesh) — ie an animal Ruach is described with the same term as the Holy Spirit.
That’s a really strange place to start. If this site were genuine Christian site, steps 1 though 10 would be repentance. Yet here we’ve got a weird sermon on animal cruelty and being a nice fellow.
Step Two – look for spiritual help. There are plenty of options. Eastern religions have good stuff in them, but they can take years of prayer and meditation to produce results. There are plenty of good people in churches, but there are plenty of ratbags too — if you go the church route, check out the track record of the group you join — are they just after your money, have any of their clergy been busted for child molesting? — you will “know them by their fruits . . . !!” And don’t go expecting great spiritual truths from an NZ church — most of them don’t have a clue — that is part of the reason the country is in the mess it is.
Eastern religions? Fake Christian fail. No self respecting, Bible-thumping fundamentalist would ever push anyone in any way towards an eastern religion. Instead, they’d tell you that you had no choice – God demands you worship him, and him only. Scripture would be quoted.
Step Three — you may not be religious, but you can still pray. God cares more about how you treat other people, than how you treat God. So if you get the “treating others” bit right, God is likely to meet you more than half-way, no matter how amateurish your early efforts to pray. If you are going to pray, you can just talk to God from your heart — and you can also use the “preformulated” prayers in the Bible. Start with the Psalms — they are still valid, no matter what flavour or denomination your spiritaul heritage was (or wasn’t).
Pray it seven times each morning — the Bible way — once facing South, once facing North, once to the East, then once above, once below, and once to the West, and then once more, picturing the Divine light shining within you, and in the centre of your home. In your mind, picture the Menorahs being formed from the verses you are reading. Ask God to protect you from the evil in NZ, to protect your children, your health, your marriage — and to protect you and those around you from another earthquake.
Again, fake Christian fail. People who blame earthquakes on God’s judgement don’t consider that man’s relationship with his fellow man is as important as repentance.
There is plenty to learn on a spiritual journey, but you don’t have to do it all in one year, or in five years. Treating others better, and wishing God well, is a big start.