Follow by Email

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

God, the Tornado Maker?

Being in the path of a tornado must be like looking into the fury of the devil. And, unfortunately, there have been a lot of tornadoes around in Kentucky and Indiana in the last few weeks.  So it’s not all that surprising that many tornado survivors praised God for sparing them.  Attributing their survival to God’s blessing or His hearing their prayers. 

People crushed in their homes; tossed around and thrown out like debris.  Some solidly-built brick homes, along with a lot of mobile homes, prefab homes, schools, roofs, trees, and pavement, were ripped up, tossed and later deposited as rubble at least a hundred miles away.  An EF4 tornado, or even a smaller one, must be an awesome, using the word literally, thing to behold.

After the storm one toddler, named Angel, was scooped up by rescue workers from the field near her mobile home.  The rest of her family had died in the tornado.  Angel died a couple of days later from the massive head injuries she had sustained.

If we believe God saved some people does that mean God chose to destroy Angel’s family, leaving her to suffer for a few days, and then die?  Or is the rational explanation that Angel and her family lived in a mobile home, were without a shelter from the storm, and were in the path of a powerful tornado? 

Do we want to ignore reason and facts, instead believing, as the ancient Greeks and Romans, that humans are the play things of a higher being?  God chooses whom to wound, and whom to protect?  The Greeks believed when ships were lost at sea the gods had not protected the sailors.  Or the god of the sea had been angered.  As did the Romans and many other ancient peoples.  When the crops failed or storms came, another god had been displeased.

Today we know storms are caused by cold and warm air masses colliding.  A natural event in this part of the country.  However, in 2012 Kentucky already has experienced 22 tornadoes in the first three months of the year.  When seven is the average for the entire year.  Perhaps we should consider whether we have done something to anger the gods.

On the other hand, we could consider that virtually all repeatable scientists agree human activities are contributing to climate change.  Resulting in more severe and unpredictable storms.

I don’t think it is fair to blame God for making us want to drive gas-burning vehicles.  Or eat out-of-season fruit shipped from South America.  Nor can He really be held accountable for the many other human activities contributing to a warming planet. 

No more can God be blamed for the destruction of natural or human-caused events than God can be credited with the survival of some.  In most cases, the survivors’ prayers could substitute the word “basement” or “storm shelter” for “God.”  As in, “If not for God (or the basement/ storm shelter) I’d be dead.” 

While I don’t believe the tornadoes were sent or their destructive path personally dictated by any god, I don’t discount we saw a glimpse of divinity during and after the storms.  The mother, who took her young children into their basement, covered them with her own body, thus sacrificing both of her legs, as she reassured them during the storm that they all would survive.  The many volunteers who helped with the clean-up after the storms.  Those who donated food, money or their time and effort.

If there is a God He may expect us to engage in a little self help.  Perhaps mobile home parks and communities where most homes do not have basements need to get together and build storm shelters.  If you believe government serves a purpose for the collective good, you might even say that is something government could do: help with building storm shelters in areas prone to tornadoes.  And maybe we should insist our government do more to reverse the effects of climate change while that is still possible.  Surely that would please whatever god watches over this Earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment