We’re just now beginning to see the destruction left behind by Hurricane Florence. Despite Pat Robertson’s shield of protection spell, the eye of the storm made landfall last Friday, yet parts of the Carolinas are still being drenched with rain, with some areas expecting upwards of fifteen more inches. And to add insult to injury, all the rain that’s falling inland has one direction to go: out towards the already flooded coastline. And tragically, as of this writing, the storm has killed 23 people and left hundreds of thousands of people still unable to return to their homes.
The death toll includes a mother and an infant who were killed when a tree fell onto their house.
So, for many of those who are religious, this has led to the question “Where is god during a hurricane?”
A priest and Fox News contributor, Johnathan Morris, was on Fox & Friends yesterday to answer this very question. And his answer might surprise you.
… Or maybe not.
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Morris said a hurricane “is a time in which we can become better people and focus on our relationship with God and our purpose for existing or else we can become bitter and we can just lose all hope.”
Host Katie Pavlich then explained the situation where the mother and her infant died, during which Morris said it was “senseless,” or “feels like it.”
I agree with Morris here. It’s completely senseless and there is zero benefit for the father (who survived after being cut free) or for the first responders, who will undoubtedly incur secondary trauma from the incident. There is absolutely no reason for an all-powerful and loving god to kill two people, and seriously injure a third, like this.
Pavlich eventually asked asked Morris “How do people keep their faith when it just feels like the whole world is crumbling?” After suggesting that the reason the first responders prayed to god was to give them meaning, he said:
And I believe there is meaning. I believe there is life after death. I believe there is salvation and redemption offered to us if we accept that. And of course, innocent life like this as a child, we can have great confidence that God, of course, will have mercy and that there is hope, there is life after death.
That’s a verbose non-answer to the question.
Besides, your god had the option to have mercy for those he killed, but didn’t. Your god has failed to have mercy for the lives of 23 people so far, and the likely tens of thousands of people who lost their homes.
What his answer essentially is though is to double-down on the faith. Because when you’re questioning your faith, the answer is to use more faith.
Morris continued, saying:
So many people say in a situation like this, ‘Gosh, so many people came to my aid.’ That is also tapping into God’s purpose for situations like this.
So god’s purpose here is to cause a massive amount of trauma to hundreds of thousands of people, changing their lives forever, and even killing some of them… For what? So that some brave individuals can risk their own lives to save people who were needlessly put into harm’s way? If he exists, this god sounds like a real idiot.
Christians will often say “god doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle,” but what about the people who die in tragic, horrific ways like in this hurricane? They’re no longer around to rebut this statement.
(Watch the full video here if the embedded video of the interview doesn’t load)
What this is getting at is the problem of evil. If god is truly all-powerful, all-loving, and all-knowing, why is there evil, pain, and suffering in the world? This is cognitive dissonance that Christians simply cannot find resolution for, because if they did, they wouldn’t be Christians anymore.
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The Christian response to this is standard cut-and-paste, as Morris regurgitated while on Fox & Friends. They claim that god doesn’t give us any challenges we can’t overcome, and that god’s love is reflected by the outpouring of help to those who are displaced or injured by disasters such as Hurricane Florence. What they’re doing here is taking a conclusion (shit is pretty fucked up) and working their way backwards to make the conclusion fit their narrative.
If god is actually running the show, then he’s some kind of monster who isn’t worthy of respect in the first place. There’s no reason for him to send a storm like Florence to the East Coast, unless he’s just bored.
Additionally, crediting god with the rescue and cleanup effort is a disservice to our first responders and other relief effort workers. It’s minimizing the risk and sacrifices they’ve made – and will continue to make – and gives the bulk of the credit to god.
The same god who caused the problem in the first place.
It’s rewarding behavior that created a crisis.