Friday, May 15, 2020
"All things sick...evil great and small...foul": Covid-19 Virus and God
Jeremiah 14:11--16 "The YHWH said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people.
Though they fast, I will not hear their cry,
and though they offer burnt offering
and grain offering, I will not accept them.
But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”
Many, many verses from the Christian Old Testament deeply stress and trouble humans. In the numerous readings through the entire of Bible, studying its various books in depth, listening to many sermons, and reading plenty of scholarly books, the great evil of such passages grows like a cancer within our moral selves.
Where in these vindictive, slaughtering, hate-filled parts of the Bible--that claim all natural evil and human evil are brought into being by God--is there the God of infinite love of the Good News, the God who never gives up on any human, the God who is the Good, the True, the Just, the Loving?
Then besides this textural hell, more and more Christian leaders--millions of them--emphasize these passages as central to Christinaity! They base their views in part by the study and promotion of Romans 9, the chapter which claims that God hates some humans, predestined billions of us to destruction and hell.
One famous Christian leader claims that God makes some humans "toilets" "spittoons."
Most state that all humans are "worthless," and "in essence, evil."
And so on...
"11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay..."
Then there is the whole Augustinian doctrine of Original Sin.
Covid-19, the Black Plague, the Spanish flu, the Indian Ocean tsunami that slaughtered about 170,000, etc. all occurred because Adam and Eve disobeyed God. And God had foreordained their disobedience and punishment and that it would be inherited by all of the billions of infants conceived and born after them, over many thousands of years.
Even many Orthodox Jewish think that G-d created evil!
They quote Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the YHWH do all these things."
And it gets worse....
Now many current Christian leaders are applying these doctrinal beliefs to the current pandemic, that Covid-19 has been sent by God to punish America, the world.
According to the latest poll, 2/3rds of religious people (American Christians, Jews, and Muslims) think God sent Covid-19 as a message to all humans. So even though hundreds of thousands of innocent people are suffering and dying, this pandemic is God's way of warning us.
--the poll is from the University of Chicago and NORC Center for Public Affairs, May 2020
DOES THIS SOUND LIKE GOOD NEWS?
Here's a parody/satire of Christian beliefS.
from Monty Python Contractual Obligations Album:
All things dull and ugly
All creatures short and squat
All things rude and nasty
The lord god made the lot
Each little snake that poisons
Each little wasp that stings
He made their brutish venom,
He made their horrid wings
All things sick and cancerous
All evil great and small
All things foul and dangerous
The lord god made them all
"Black Death, a mid-fourteenth century plague, killed 30 to 50 per cent of the European population in just five years. The pandemic was caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria with millions dying from the disease in two major outbreaks. This image is of a plague pit in Marseille, France"
Each nasty little hornet
Each beastly little squid
Who made the spiky urchin
Who made the shocks... he did
All things scabbed and ulcerous
All pox both great and small
Putrid, foul and gangrenous
The lord god made them all
Songwriters: John Du Prez / Eric Idle / Trad
All Things Dull and Ugly lyrics
© Python Monty Pictures Ltd.,
Emi Virgin Songs Inc
So in Summation what are the “Books” of Nature and the “Books” Library of the Bible Teaching Us Humans?
#1 At one extreme are the Augustinian-creedal Christians, Orthodox Muslims and Orthodox Jews most of whom claim that both sets of books accurately describe the will of the nature of Ultimate Reality—that God causes whatever happens to humans.
Their views is already briefly described in the first part of this reflection.
HOW DO WE KNOW IF AN EVENT IS FROM GOD?
If it happens in nature or human history, then it is “God’s will.”
So, it is God’s will that Covid-19 happen.
To give God “glory,” “good pleasure,” to punish humans for failing to worship God.
#2 At the other extreme are the Naturalists, Materialists, and Atheists most of whom claim that there is no ultimate reality—that “God” or the “gods” are delusions of the human brain.
They state that there really is no good or bad, but only subjective morality, mere preferences, and that our preferences aren't really ours. We have them because it was determined by nature, the Laws of Physics, etc.
All of what appears to be horrific disasters, diseases, plagues, etc. including somewhat minor ones as Covid-19 aren’t even really "bad."
That judgment is only our subjective preference because we humans have a survival instinct instilled into us by natural selection. Besides, it was determined that that would happen because there is no free will and no moral responsibility.
"Free will" and "moral responsibility," according these thinkers, are delusions of the human brain that were determined to occur for who knows why. We humans don't choose our views or our actions.
We are "puppets" of nature.
Of course, why this happens, they state is for no reason.
So take your pick--God determined Covid-19 or the Laws of Nature/Big Bang determined it would happen.
TO BE CONTINUED--
*The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1562)