"I don't know if God exists and I don't care," Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn wrote a few days ago, bucking the media tide. "God's will and design for this temporal and spatial vastness, if any, is so patently, deliberately impenetrable that I doubt any mortal has a grasp on it. The very inexplicability of sad events like the tsunami, like the AIDS crisis or even like the cancer death of the father of one of my daughter's 2nd-grade classmates last week are, to me, reminders to focus on our obligations to one another, not to the infinite; to honor the creator, if any, by honoring creation itself and hoping that's good enough."
-quoted in Norman Solomon's "Acts of God, Acts of Media," at http://www.commondreams.org
National Public Radio aired a piece yesterday on God's role in the tsunami. People of various religious affiliations spoke of sin, karma, the intelligence behind the disaster, why God does these sorts of things, what's on His mind, why all those who died deserved God's discipline. Refreshingly, a woman from India spoke instead of Mother Nature, but her thoughts rapidly turned to punishment: "Mother Nature is furious with us," she said, "for the way we've treated her."
Let anyone who thinks the following say it loudly and often: God is not a man. God is not a person on a throne somewhere dreaming up new calamities for evil humans (especially those awful babies and children, born with original sin staining their every action). (I won't even get into the dispensationalist crowd.) (As if patriarchy and authoritarianism hadn't led to insanity enough.) Sometimes, bad things happen to people without justification, even if there are reasons (e.g., "seismology").
Do you believe in a higher power, that the sum of all this is greater than its parts? I do, and I believe energy gathers around intention, human or otherwise, good or otherwise. If we do our best to be there for each other and for the planet, we will be doing what is right, eyes not fixed on the pearly gates but searching and seeing who and what is here, pulsing and needful, right here, right now.