God Sends a Message

For Hal Lindsey, the glass is always half full:

Jesus indicates that all the natural disasters will begin to increase in frequency and intensity in concert with each other shortly before His return. And it is as these “birth pains” begin to take place that believers in Jesus are to know that their deliverance is near.

I believe we are at that time in history. As Jesus promised, He will come and deliver His own out of the worst that is to come. That is our hope. And God has never failed to keep His promises.

Yes – if we’re really lucky, we might just make it to the Rapture without being horribly killed by a sign that our deliverance is near.

Meanwhile, Jason Yungbluth tells us:

I was listening to a bit of the “Savage Nation” radio show this evening. Toxic host Michael Savage was apparently on assignment drowning kittens, but his substitute was actually using precious radio spectrum to posit this question: what kind of God would allow events like the Asian tsunami to occur

Caller after caller posited God’s wrath against Muslims or took odds on the celestial destination of the unbaptized victims or spewed theologically contaminated atheism, all in an effort to prove that they, the GED educated brood of a midnight call-in program, had Einsteined the answer to the Universe’s greatest head scratcher.

Reporting from India, Sujoy Dhar and Sandip Roy of The Pacific News Service unearth further theological “insights”:

The destruction was “God’s fury unleashed, because of the ridicule he is subjected to by the so-called educated Indians,” says Sri Dulal Chandra Naskar, a soothsayer and Kali-worshipper of the famous Kamakshya Temple. “When you ridicule the sages and in turn the God, it hurts Him and the sigh He heaves unleashes destruction like this.

…Some saw in the tsunamis retribution for more specific, contemporary struggles. In the state of Tamil Nadu, a venerable Hindu seer, the Kanchi Acharya had been recently arrested, leading to an uproar among his supporters. “The devastation by the tsunami in Tamil Nadu, could it be a caveat from ‘Up There’ about the atrocities being visited on the Kanchi Acharya?” writes columnist Rajeev Srinivasan on the online news site rediff.com.

Well, I suppose a deity like Kali doesn’t have the theodicy problem. But really, God: next time you want to send a message, why not try that star thing over Bethlehem again? Would make life a lot easier. Or how about striking down the crass opportunists who use human suffering to promote fatalism, fear, hatred, their own privileges and crappy paperbacks with titles like Earth: The Final Chapter?

But perhaps the real news story is that there has (apparently) been so little of this kind of stuff. Indeed, the very conservative Christian Agape Press news service has even been moved to publicise American Buddhist relief efforts. Most of the usual suspects you would expect to say something stupid appear to have kept their heads down. Is there a new sensitivity to the public mood (especially recalling the Pat Robertson-Jerry Falwell debacle after 9/11)? Or are they just all off on holiday?

UPDATE: Reuters has more:

“This is an expression of God’s great ire with the world,” Israeli chief rabbi Shlomo Amar told Reuters. “The world is being punished for wrongdoing — be it people’s needless hatred of each other, lack of charity, moral turpitude.”

…Azizan Abdul Razak, a Muslim cleric and vice president of Malaysia’s Islamic opposition party, Parti Islam se-Malaysia, said the disaster was a reminder from god that “he created the world and can destroy the world.

The Washington Post directs us towards the website of Christian Zionist Bill Koenig, who tells us:

The Biblical proportions of this disaster become clearly apparent upon reports of miraculous Christian survival. Christian persecution in these countries is some of the worst in the world.

But if you really want to scrape the barrel, Atrios links to Raw Print, which has the inevitable flyer from Fred Phelps…