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Hurricane Theodicy

Posted By Rob On September 11th, 2005 @ 12:01 am In Thoughts | Comments Disabled

Hurricane Katrina, like the Christmas Tsunami, has had us all interpreting and excusing or blaming God in one way or another. I’ve mentioned several opinions in my recent posts but wanted to add a few more.

What strikes me is how little theodicy 9/11 prompted beyond ‘Allah bad, Jesus good’. There we had plenty of blame to allot and pursue and God didn’t appear to need justifying. We’ll be reading plenty [6] in the next day or two comparing these two disasters, one largely ‘natural’ the other all too ‘human’, but there’s something nagging me I can’t quite put a finger on.
I think it’s to do with fear. I think theodicy comes from fear, the fear that God might not be who we thought God was. God might be as bad as our worst nightmares. God might be as ineffectual as we suspect. God might not even be. We set about justifying God’s ways as if God needed protecting. What is being protected in all this convoluted disputation? Only our settled lives. We don’t want to change. We don’t want to see ourselves as bad as we know we could be. And we don’t want to discover how little power we might have to make a difference.
I guess theodicy gives us a relatively harmless way to work all that out for ourselves where only God’s good name is at stake. But when the evil is man-made we get to play out our fears in human loss. We wage wars. We take the battle off our own soil. We curtail freedoms. We kill people. We kill people.
We seem no more able than God to be both powerful and good.


Article printed from All Things Seen and Unseen: http://rmarsh.com

URL to article: http://rmarsh.com/2005/09/11/hurricane-theodicy/

URLs in this post:

[1] disaster and theodicy: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/08/books/08dest.html?_r=4&

[2] piece by Karen Armstrong: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2005/sep/10/comment.comment

[3] Thinking Deeply: http://thinkingdeeply.com/

[4] God’s Wrath / God’s Love: http://thinkingdeeply.com/2005/09/06/gods-wrath-gods-love/

[5] WaiterRant: http://waiterrant.net/?p=200

[6] reading plenty: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-new-ground-zero-311532.html