Monday, January 18, 2010


There's a part of me that says what's the use. Haiti will be as much of a basket case after this particular act of God like all the others recedes into myth. Pity the land that is made a colony of the French. Crap institutions. How blessed a thing, to be exploited by the British. On the other hand. American exceptionalism. British Empire exceptionalism. Israelite exceptionalism. None other. The poor are always with us -- most especially if they live in a culture of utter corruption ... as distinct from just the manifest corruption inherent in the human condition.

I haven't watched the news at all. More chaos. More of the same. Just more concentrated, in time and location. It matters, theoretically and actually, but I don't know any Haitians, so any compassion I might feel is theoretical, regardless of how genuine. And catastrophe victims aren't really my particular cross to bear. It must be a good thing, to not bleed for every wound that overtakes humanity. So I count myself blessed. It's what callouses after all are for.

So when Pat Robertson says Haiti made a pact with Satan 200 years ago, well, I don't need to have an opinion. One of the ways God deals with humanity is through its nations. Maybe it's true. It's no dumber than Danny Glover's statement on exactly the same topic: The earthquake came from God as a judgment because Haiti didn't do enough to save The Planet at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. As if the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere could have done anything at all. Could it even afford airfare to Denmark? At least Robertson had biblical support. God after all has acted that way, in the past. I'm surprised though that Robertson thinks he has access to the archives of Hell, to know the private arrangements between slaves and Satan. As for Glover, I'm surprised he believes in God. Must be Goddess, he means.

We race around, if only mentally, trying to find meaning. Why why why did this thing this horrible thing occur? Sin, private or public? A cursed creation? Entropy? Randomness? Job and David and every human being capable of thought has looked for an answer. Jesus gave the answer. Why do towers fall on innocent victims? So that non-victims will repent. We are all object lessons, one to another.

Take addicts, drug addicts. California legislators, among the more morally corrupt people in the world, are pushing for legalized pot. So they can tax it. Yes, to profit from drug sales is a sound fiscal policy. Of course. Is abortion taxed too? I just wonder, is all. It's a service, so it should be. But regarding addicts, I was given cause to enunciate in my own mind that there is nothing at all, ever, under any circumstance, that one can say, or do, or cause to be done, that can change an addict into not an addict. There is no formula, no thing, no performance, that is the thing to do. Wisdom is doing what is appropriate. Sometimes it's appropriate to understand helplessness. Sort of a Zen thing, where non-action is most dynamic. The still small voice, heard, where the Voice from the whirlwind is meaningless.

God is not all-powerful. I think I actually looked it up, long ago, that the Bible never says God is omnipotent. If it says otherwise, it would be the only contradiction in the Bible. Because, say, God cannot lie, or forswear himself -- he cannot violate his own nature. He cannot violate our free will. We get saved, if we do, because we accept what is offered. Chosen, yes, and choosing. Not a contradiction. Not even a paradox. Just something we can't understand. That's probably why God wants us to be like little children. We have to accept some things, not because faith is valuable in itself -- it's just necessary if we want serenity.

What's the number of Haitian dead? Up to five hundred thousand, but that isn't likely to be right. Fifty thousand? Now two hundred thousand. Out of a population of ten million. So half a percent of the population, or two percent, killed in a single blow. One and a half million, or six, if it were the USA. Seems like a lot. But everyone dies. We just prefer that the horror be distributed more evenly across time. We prefer our grief to be decoupled from horror, for all that when we are overwhelmed we become numb. A madman or bureaucrat might propose that we get the killing and dying done all at once -- more efficient and statistically less traumatic. But something in our actual humanity argues against this sort of logic. God, taking the long view, allows both perspectives free expression, that we may chose between them as we please.

I'm sure he cares. It must be that he wants us to care as well. That, and that we should repent.



Anonymous said...

Bogus -

any "limitations" He places upon Himself are a result of His Goodness and Perfection (if we as "theologians" or "philosophers" are biblically faithful). He actually WILL NOT violate His nature because of Who He is - the idea that He CANNOT is fanciful theos spun from human limitation in perspective.

There is only One Free Will. The fact that we have to wrestle with concepts such as election, predestination, calling, spiritual death et al. is part of His design. We are, after all, on a different plane - even though we are made in His image.

The idea that we are "comatose" or unconscious in our sin is simply not faithful to the argument or language of Ephesians and Romans et al. We are hopelessly dead and unable to perceive Him - let alone reach out to Him.

Children? yes (Luke 18:17). Never to mature? Again, unbiblical (Ephesians 4). Living in the tension of faith in no way necessitates perpetual childhood. If anything the scriptures teach a building maturity and understanding - though we enter as children.

Serenity? What IS that? Jesus came to bring a sword. Francis of Assisi wanted serenity. I want peace in the coming of the King (Revelation 2,19).

Jack H said...

We'll just have to disagree. That's why there are different sects. Show me where it says God is all-powerful, and I'm wrong. I'll show you where it says there are things he cannot do. CANNOT. Find scriptural support for my being bogus, and I'll modify my opinions. But my opinions are based on scripture, not my own understanding. Ah, I find a typo. I meant contradiction, not contraction. Hate it when that happens.

Sarcastic assertions attempting to distinguish between what God cannot and will not do are pure ego. Impure ego. Show me what text makes such a distinction, please. What is holiness, that it can chose? Of all things, God is least free. That's what holy is. It must do what is right. So God CAN violate his nature? So he would be ... unnatural, but choses not to be? What a vile and blasphemous idea. You, whoever, do know understand the difference between God, who is and must be true to himself, and Allah, who is capricious.

Not sure to what the comatose bit refers. Some other discussion, with someone else? Did I say something about us never maturing? Providing scripture for issues that are not under contention suggests my argument hasn't quite been understood. I provided the context if not the verses, for God's limits. Self-asserted limits, since he wrote the Bible. Acquaint yourself with the meaning of the words, perfection and maturity. Nowhere do these preclude the quality of childlike faith.

As for how you conclude, it is mete.

Will C. said...

"So when Pat Robertson says Haiti made a pact with Satan 200 years ago, well, I don't need to have an opinion. One of the ways God deals with humanity is through its nations."

"On August 14, 1791, a group of houngans ("voodoo priests"), led by a former slave houngan named Boukman, made a pact at a place called Bois Caiman. The priests sacrificed a black pig in a voodoo ritual and drank its blood. Boukman asked Satan for his help in liberating Haiti. In exchange, the voodoo priests dedicated the country to Satan and swore to serve him. They signed no Bill of Rights. They wrote no Declaration of Independence. It would be a government, of the devil, by the devil, and for the devil."
- Angels of a Lower Flight

I really need to buy this book and read it. There are only snippets out in cyberspace.

Will C. said...

"Sarcastic assertions attempting to distinguish between what God cannot and will not do are pure ego. Impure ego. Show me what text makes such a distinction, please. "

Got to thinking about that one and I see where you're coming from...but, would this count at all: God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrha because of their great sin. Abraham asked God to spare the cities if he could find 50 righteous men and God agreed. Then Abraham negotiated with the Lord further, down to 45, 40,...10, right? What does this mean to you and would it have any bearing on your above statement.

Jack H said...

It's not a tertiary source that really matters, in something as grave as this. That would be a first step, not the foundation for a potentially scurrilous charge. Yes, it does seem that parents can sell their children to Satan. It's called influence. So the presumed spiritual heads of some culture can influence followers in a dark direction. Is the ritual of blood-drinking the reason? Seems simplistic, and magical thinking.

As a historical source, the book needs extensive citations. Rumor won't do it. Legend is not history.

Re Sodom, there's no question but that he *can* destroy. Hardly a limit on his ability. That he changes his mind is problematic to those who see God as a crystaline thing. But take the Flood. God repented himself. Hm. I expect it's part of an unfolding, the way parents tell children only what is age appropriate.

Perfect things are complete. What can be added or subtracted, to what is complete?