Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thankfully God Is Not As Prejudiced As Some of His People

graphic by Tim Nyberg
In the days since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan,  the world has marveled at the calm and courage of the Japanese people.  Their sense of unity has truly been an example to all of us.

Conversely,  the very same tragedy has, as many recent natural disasters have, brought out the ugly face of Christianity, people, identifying themselves as Christians, who can't resist making the most ignorant, hateful and un-Christlike comments.    I will not repeat these hateful comments because I'm sure that you've all heard them.  I am writing this post hoping that it might just encourage a few of the spewers of this hateful rhetoric to take the time to pick up a bible, read it, and realize the ignorance of their comments.

For the record:  GOD IS NOT MAD OR PUNISHING ANYONE!  In fact God has not been in the business of punishing mankind since, ...

oh let me see, ....

since the birth of Jesus.

Yes, the God of the Old Testament did dish out a little righteous wrath on more than one occasion.   However, isn't it amazing that so many of the same people who complain every year about a "war on Christmas"  conveniently forget the Christmas message. 

Let's review basic tenets of the Christianity.  I'll begin with what is probably the most recognized bible verse in the world.

 The Gospel of John, Chapter 3, verses 16 & 17

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  New King James Version

or as it reads in The Mesage Bible 
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
Doesn't sound like a God who just can't wait to dose out a earthquake or hurricane to me.

Then there's the Christmas story itself:

The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 8-14
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
        “ Glory to God in the highest,
      And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”  New King James Version

Gee, that doesn't sound like a God who wants to kill thousands of people.

In fact Jesus himself warned us about trying to play God by judging others.
  “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 
Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."  The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 7, verses 1-5

And lastly, as we approach the holiest of seasons in the Christian faith, let's remember that Jesus died and paid the price for the sins of ALL mankind.  Therefore God is not angry with mankind, just read the New Testament.

Of course, there is much more to the Christian faith.  But these are the basics.

Oh, there is one more that I'll share now:
Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 12: verses, 28-30

So Christians please stop saying stupid things in times of crisis. And please, please stop lying on God and pretendng that he shares your prejudices. 

Related posts:

Some People Think Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami are Payback for Pearl Harbor, Really
by Gil Asakawa for Huffington Post

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's Aide Resigns Over Japan Remark

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