I've been reading about the earthquake in Haiti for several days now. In fact, it was hard not to at first, since it preempted almost all other news for awhile. There were stories about the deaths, about people who were trapped and possibly crushed, about the destruction of homes and other buildings, about all of the individuals, organizations and governments rushing to offer aid. The usual stuff guaranteed to evoke a lot of shallow emotion, but not any deep questioning. Today being Sunday, unfortunately, the news had to be about one of the survivors of this disaster. I say"unfortunately", because this survivor is an ongoing mass delusion that has survived through the most horrendous events. I am talking about GOD.
One of the big headlines of the day was "Haitians praise God after apocalyptic quake". Think about this for a minute... What if I were to come into your house and proceed to knock over all furniture, smash all the windows, plates, knick-knacks, etc., crushing your baby and giving your grandpa a heart attack in the process. Then your neighbors come along and try to help you out. If you were to start praising me and crediting me for bringing your neighbors to help, you'd be called a lunatic...
Well, here's the deal, my dear god-loving friends. If you are a good roman catholic or an evangelical christian or a muslim, your god is supposed to be omnipotent and omniscient... That means that his power is behind everything that happens and that he, thus, has the capacity to prevent each and every action that occurs. In addition, it means that he knows in advance everything that is going to happen, so he can't say, "Hey! I didn't see it coming!". In other words, if god exists, then he was behind this disaster; he killed all those people, destroyed all those homes, caused this huge, awful devastation... And you praise him?!? That's nuts.
And what is the excuse for praising him? Well, after the disaster all of these human beings decide to take various forms of action to try to help people caught in the disaster. For this, god gets the credit... But for the havoc he causes, no blame.
Of course, there is an explanation for this lunatic reaction. If god exists and is indeed omnipotent, he is obviously a psychopath. And what do you do when trapped by a psychopath who is better armed and stronger than you, if you don't want to die? You appease them. You tell them how wonderful, wise, good and merciful they are. It is undignified, pathetic and degrading, but it keeps you alive. And in the meantime you plot your escape or better how to kill them.
But there is one condition under which god may not be to blame for this and other disasters: if he doesn't exist. Of course, then he also deserves no credit for any of those good things people praise him for. Especially not the actions human beings take in response to disasters.
Over and over again, I have seen this delusional behavior, in which people are quite ready to praise their omnipotent imaginary playmate for every good thing that happens to them, while refraining from blaming him for any of the bad things that tend to be the backdrop from which the alleged good stands out. How often have you heard the story of the cancer patient praising god for a "miraculous" remission? If they had any dignity, they would be cursing him for the cancer, or better yet rejecting the faith that has made them so stupid. And then there are the theological justifications for the Inquisition, the Holocaust, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, etc. The delusional mind has to be creative.
But if Haitian christians are delusional, certain American evangelicals are downright psychopathic. While the christians in Haiti were praising their all-powerful imaginary friend, the wing-nut televangelist Pat Robertson was proclaiming that the earthquake was god's punishment on Haitians because of an alleged pact they made with another imaginary being, the devil, in order to win their independence from France. Supposed sins of the ancestors make a fine justification for mass slaughter... to a psychopath...
But, seriously, I am just a bit tired of waiting for people grow up and begin to take responsibility for their own lives. There are no omnipotent, omniscient beings paying any attention to this planet. These delusions serve no other purpose than to keep us enslaved to belief systems that give us an excuse not to grasp our lives and create them on our own terms, as well as to those who most benefit from such belief systems: popes, priests and pastors, rulers and politicians, corporate executives, military leaders and cops, i.e., everyone who prefers human beings to be obedient sheep.