Sunday, 26 August 2012

Raining on the Righteous and the Unrighteous

It's a common human urge to blame disaster on personal or corporate sinfulness. A sufferer from cancer may ask themselves what they did that was so wicked. American preachers will occasionally blame hurricanes on gay marriage, or droughts on tight gun control. Others, of course, blame the droughts on burning fossil fuel. And the damp summer in Britain on burning fossil fuel. And the last, warm winter on burning fossil fuel. And the cold winters just before that on....

And so this morning I've had people coming to me to say - if there is a God why did it rain both on Greenbelt (in Cheltenham) and on the Pride event in Manchester? To which I've responded that we should think about the people that have come off worse in all this. To wit, any gay Mancunian Christians who were planning to go down to Greenbelt afterwards. Not only have they been soaked twice, they're Mancunians. If the Pride march had wanted good weather, they could have held the event in Riyadh, where they could have guaranteed it would be dry. They would have had other problems, of course, but then so would the Greenbelt organisers if they tried the same thing.

No, we are too ready to ascribe bad weather and similar issues to God's apparently random justice. When the city of San Fransisco is destroyed in a giant earthquake, it won't be because God hates gay people. It will be because you shouldn't build major cities on major geological faults. When (if) the people of Nauru have to leave due to flooding it won't be because they've been particularly sinful. it's because the Americans mined out all the bird droppings.

Now, I must get off and help Young Keith. We're all set up to release a plague of frogs towards Drayton Paarslow's house. That should bring on a decent bit of repentance.


  1. Splendid post. I remember a well-known Christian speaker recounting the tale of how God miraculously intervened to save the lives of some people in a catastrophic fire on a river-boat that resulted from someone leaving the cap off a petrol can. The moral, for some inexplicable reason, was that God can intervene in circumstances that appear disastrous. Not that you should check the cap of your petrol can. Was Francis Maude on that boat?

    1. And I remember somebody telling me about a terrible train crash, and a Christian girl missing it by being five minutes late. I did ask whether all the people that caught it were pagans.

  2. 'The rain it raineth on the just
    And also on the unjust fella
    But mainly on the just because
    The unjust stole the just's umbrella'
    Spike Milligan

  3. I've always thought that all of this stuff is coincidence. There is no such things as pre-destination.

    I don't believe that God actively intervenes. Most things happen because of man's action or inaction or nature's actions.

    There is no such thing as luck, just coincidence.

    And before you suggest it, it's just a coincidence that God created the world with coincidences in it.


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