What do earthquakes and tsunamis have in common with God?? Absolutely nothing.
Let’s be clear about my perspective on this issue. To say that God caused the earthquake or the tsunami that followed, is ludicrous. To state that God had any hand in protecting certain people from harm while others drowned is idiotic. To insinuate that God has a way of manipulating circumstances and situations to accomplish a higher purpose or will is insane. Over the past few days I have observed several conversations regarding the tragedy in Japan (mostly through Facebook posts and comments) and I am astounded at the common sense (or lack thereof) of everyday Christians.
The reason I use the phrase “everyday Christians” is because this is what is out there and this is what they believe. By and large, many of my Christian friends on Facebook are not theologians, scholars or ministers. They are everyday people who hold a very common viewpoint of how God operates and works in the world and it is flat out illogical and wrong. I can safely say it is wrong not only from my current perspective, but I argue it is wrong from their’s if they gave any thought whatsoever to what they were saying.
A few comments caught my attention. One woman, glad to know that her brother was safe in Hawaii, wrote that she wanted to thank God for his timing of the tides that kept the swells low in that part of the world. Another spoke of answered prayers for the knowledge that several her friends were safe. And finally, after seeing the footage of the devastation the tsunamis were causing, one person simply wrote that all they could keep saying to themselves while watching was “God is in control”.
Listen, I am not going to go into depth here explaining why each of these statements get under my skin, but on the face of it these are insensitive and infuriating. Insensitive because of the “world revolves around me” perspective they hold and infuriating because they lack mature and rational thought. I realize that some people need to do mental gymnastics to try and make sense of tragedy and pain in the world, but from what I can tell the only people that need to do that are those that believe in God.
If you want to believe in God, I don’t have a problem with that, but you won’t find God in the midst of any storm. That would be too obvious.