Some time ago now, the world in sympathy watched as hurricane Katrina ripped and roared through southern and central Louisiana and Mississippi. Bowl-shaped New Orleans is now a byword, more or less, for disaster, a major tourist city and cultural experience that has only recently been deemed recovered from the first disaster.
A lot has changed since Katrina. New search and rescue policies have been put in place after rounds of pointing fingers and assessing blame have ceased. Not one part of this tragedy was easy to deal with. As social order collapsed into chaos, New Orleans law enforcement officers found themselves in the unenviable position of having to try and stop the looters, while at the same time not allowing themselves to be shot or clubbed to death by an out-of-control gang of thugs who, quite frankly, showed themselves to be honest-to-goodness wastes of human skin! When the brutal rapes and robberies were through, when the low-lives were finally stopped from randomly firing on rescue helicopters, and when the madness and chaos subsided, that's when the confusion set in.
Why did this happen? Lives were lost. Some citizens were just too stubborn or stupid (or both) to leave when the evacuation orders were given, but others were innocent and simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The poor, the elderly, and a good assortment of others had their lives turned upside-down, if not ended, by this disaster.
How does intelligent mankind maintain a belief in an all-loving god in the absence of acceptable answers to such questions? Well, one thing's for sure. Humankind hasn't gotten to where he is today by not having a spirit of endurance, of tenacity, the ability to bounce back after horrendous circumstances. Like the mighty cockroach, we humans always find a way to rise to the occasion no matter what disaster brings. With this admirable spirit of progress is seen a strong religious side. The churches of America are full of prayerful, mournful Christians, who have petitioned their God many times to help the millions of Katrina victims whom God forsook to the hurricane. These prayerful pious optimists really don't find it a big deal that the very God they beg in unison to aid in the clean up of the Katrina disaster was actually an accomplice to the hellish meteorological monstrosity in its reign of death and destruction! God shares the blame, yet his believers feel no anger towards him for what he allowed to happen. This is altogether amazing, but even more amazing is the fact that after diligent and motivated spiritual hearts have prayed so hard to see New Orleans finally begin to get cleaned up and get back on her feet, God once again lovingly sent the rains "on the just and the unjust" (Matthew 5:46) of Rita to thwart what valuable progress Louisiana had made at the time in the clean up of washed up New Orleans. Then we mortals had to work twice as hard to rectify the gracious Lord's undoing of our accomplishments.
Maybe God didn't want us to clean up Louisiana? Maybe God sent Katrina and Rita because he was expressing his disgust at all those topless, promiscuous hot young girls who showed off their goods to the drunken and riotous young men at Mardi Gras each year? If you are inclined to actually believe the scriptures, who knows?
"They have sown the wind. They shall reap the whirlwind." (Hosea 8:7)
In the aftermath of Katrina, an entire state economy was pounded nearly to nothing while untold numbers of people were left unemployed and countless businesses went belly up. Lives were lost, not considering the multi-billions of dollars in property damage done and the enormous expense of a long and belabored clean up. And just when we thought it would get better, it gets worse. Right when New Orleans is recovering, God, through his powerful handmaiden, Rita, has decided to kick her in the teeth when she is down once more! Even the likes of Ted Bundy and Charles Manson got nothing on God in the cruelty department!
Yes, lives have been ruined and many a tear shed, and yet God takes not one bit of responsibility for it and still demands our praises as though he deserves them. But I have no doubt that America's believers will go right on believing in and praising a god who may well be the cause of their deaths...
"Though he slay me, yet will I praise him." (Job 13:15)
It is high time America's rational thinkers quit praying to sky spirits for deliverance from storms and other catastrophic natural phenomenon. Prayer doesn't work. That we should know by now. Instead of asking spooks to deliver us from tragedy, we ought to keep our mouths shut and our hands busy continuing to work on ways of anticipating and controlling these disasters ourselves. The time has come to hand down the guilty verdict against all gods and goddesses of antiquity who cruelly and callously have chosen to show depraved indifference to human life on the most global of scales.
God is said to be a deity who gives good things to those who ask him, but the kicker is, these good gifts come with things we don't want. Katrina and Rita are only two examples of God's many unwanted gifts he gives to the world.