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Why Do Bad Things Happen?

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2010 at 6:50 am

Today’s post is an offshoot of a lively discussion from our Facebook page. It began with some deep questions about the nature of God.

Why does God make tornados, tsunamis, Hitlers, and Bin Laden’s ?
Why do the good die young ?
Why do I have more than I need while other, far better folks have so little ?

I invited my friend, George Crumpler, to weigh in. George is the author of  David: The Untold Story, a historical account of King David. He is a retired high school social studies teacher living in a small town in rural North Carolina.

****

For most of man’s some 100,000 years of existence, we were polytheistic. It is with the Patriarch Abraham that the concept of one True God begins to develop, the character and nature of this God changes over time through the course of the bible. Abraham shares a meal with this God and this God also commands Abraham to sacrifice his only son to appease him, a ritual left over from paganism. This ritual of human sacrifice will be repeated with the birth of Christianity and the death of Jesus on the cross.

The Mayans, a people who practiced blood letting and human sacrifice rejected the missionaries concepts of monotheism but readily accepted the death of Jesus on the cross as a spiritual act. This concept of sacrifice is at the core of the, Hebrew, Christian and Muslim religions to the point of sacrificing their lives in war to defend their religion and also killing others to protect their religion because in doing so they believe they are carrying out the will of God.

Thus, the three great religions of the world have not broken completely from their pagan polytheistic origins of sacrifice and God/Gods micro managing the affairs of man and nature from wars to a gentle rain in the summertime.

Many Christian have difficulty, to the point of being obstinate, reconciling matters of their faith and science. If the Roman Catholic Church had had their way about it, we would all still think the earth is flat because they would put to death anyone who said it wasn’t. Even to this day, most Christians cannot, will not accept the seven-day creation story and the Garden of Eden as metaphor, when various disciplines of sciences from geology to nuclear physics prove that it is a process that has taken billions of years.

Just as the concept of multiple gods responsible for everything from the weather to fertility faded into the category of myth it is time to abandon the false belief of a God sitting on a throne directing the affairs of man down the road to Armageddon and a final day of judgment—this God invented by the Hebrews and adopted by the Christians and Muslims.

What we have is not a self-actualizing, knowing, understanding of God but rather a concept of what God is, forced upon people to the extent that their very life depends upon it both their physical and spiritual (Hell) existence.

Man reasoned correctly that he sprang forth from the earth because he observed that the earth is the producer of all life but where did the earth come from. He gazed upon the sun, moon, and stars and made them the source of creation.

We thus began four thousand years of refining our concept of where we came from and most importantly, why we are here. Maybe we are indeed God’s chosen species.

Jesus said, “…The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)

Kim said, “We are given everything and we can choose our reality.”

There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe.

A thought, in this substance, produces the thing that is imaged by the thought.

Man can form things in this thought, and, by impressing his thought upon formless substance, can cause the thing he thinks about to be created.

In order to do this, man must pass from the competitive to the creative mind; otherwise, he cannot be in harmony with the Formless Intelligence, which is always creative and never competitive in spirit.

Man may come into full harmony with the Formless Substance by entertaining a lively and sincere gratitude for the blessings it bestows upon him. Gratitude unifies the mind of man with the intelligence of Substance, that man’s thoughts are received by the Formless. Man can remain upon the creative plane only by uniting himself with the Formless Intelligence through a deep and continuous feeling of gratitude. (Wallace Wattles)

“Seek and ye shall find, ask and it will be given…” Jesus.

And he is One who subsists as a cause and source of Being, and an immaterial material and an innumerable number and a formless form and a shapeless shape and a powerlessness and a power and an insubstantial substance and a motionless motion and an inactive activity. (Gnostic Text Allogenes)

Natural disasters, earthquakes, floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes are just that—natural disasters, the forces of nature are indifferent, remember it rains on the just and unjust alike.

Wars, famine, pestilence, murder, rape, child abuse, greed, envy, et al. are the products of culture we create that stuff.

The Creative Stuff, the Source of Being, cannot, will not participate in that but the message is sent for us to love one another, nurture one another, rejoice in others good fortune, console them in their sorrow, care for the widow, orphan and the old—It is up to us to do that. We sit in judgment of our rights and wrongs.

There is a wonder source of love and energy and excitement and joy and creativity and we can tap into that Source, in fact the Source longs for us to do so but will not be disturbed if we don’t.

God may very well be sitting on a throne surrounded by a host of angels but the Creative Source of the Universe is more than likely a happy little Quark.

Many thanks, George, for sharing your thoughts. Amen and amen.

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  1. I really enjoyed this post. I completely agree that it’s time to do away with the concept of a God with all the omni atrributes – all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good.

    I’d like for you to say more to justify the statement that “thinking stuff” is that out of which things are made – and also why God would be a Formless Intelligence – I am wondering if that suggests perhaps a denigration of the material or the bodily? Also, why would God in any form not be disturbed if people don’t act in love? Doesnt’ that make God less than human?

    And can I add – its also time to do away with only talking about “Man” and “his” thoughts? Half the species is left out when we do this – plus, the tendency to talk about God as a He or Him leads people to envision God that way and relate to God as if God were male.

    Thanks for the post!

    • “…its also time to do away with only talking about “Man” and “his” thoughts? Half the species is left out when we do this…”
      God is definitely androgynous; it is our cultural influence that has us referring to God, as Him or God the Father.

      I use the term man or mankind in the general sense to include, wo-man and man besides I hate typing or reading he/she.

      I just think that the term Thinking Stuff is a cool or somewhat humorous way to refer to that which can’t be described. “What is it?” I don’t it’s Stuff. Ninety percent of the matter in the visible universe cannot be seen so scientists refer to it as Dark Matter—they could have called it Dark Stuff.

      “…and also why God would be a Formless Intelligence –“

      What form is intelligence, what form does pure thought take, the Thinking Stuff of the universe, it is a formless form, a motionless motion an effortless effort.

      “… why would God in any form not be disturbed if people don’t act in love?”

      Well, not being disturbed is a much more loving response than casting them into the eternal flames of Hell.

      Thank you for commenting

  2. Nice one!

    On a side note to address Jen’s comment on gender–I really prefer to use “it” to describe God, because the human form is just one (seriously? Must we take the whole “in his image” thing so literally?) of many physical representations o’ life on this earth. I highly doubt the divine is “sitting” anywhere with a set of breasts or testicles. I know the Mormons will argue me down on that one, but oh well. God as human? I doubt it!

    I also like seeing how we conceptualize God over the ages. Right now, using terms like “thought” and “intelligence” and “consciousness” are frequently used. Again–a human-like attribution. Obviously, we are what we are and are compelled to define the unknown. But it’s interesting to note how the language changes over time.

    Oy! I love this stuff.

    • “I also like seeing how we conceptualize God over the ages. Right now, using terms like “thought” and “intelligence” and “consciousness” are frequently used.”

      I think that it represents our evolution in understanding. I think that true knowledge and enlightenment will come when We All are enlightened, then we will fully know ourselves and the Source of Being.

      Thank You

  3. Thank you again, for guest blogging with us.

    I like the idea of God “not being disturbed” because I think again that’s our very human attempt to assign emotion and human qualities to I Am.

    Well done, my friend, your wisdom and thought provoking words are always appreciated!

  4. I see what you’re saying about not being disturbed in terms of hell. My concern here is the victims – the universe should shake to its core every time a child is raped or murdered, and if God isn’t struck to Her very heart, I don’t know if She’s worth worshipping. God isn’t a human, but shouldn’t God be at least as compassionate and empathetic as we are? I think we’re on the same page theologically but I’m just trying to pick more at how we talk about it.

    I agree that anthropocentric language is problematic – but I think its all we got. I think my preference would be to use diverse images – sometimes call God Father, sometimes Mother, sometimes He, sometimes She, sometimes intelligence, or creativity, or love. But I think that language does help constitute our reality, so if we use only one form, like He or Father, we can’t help but image God in our heads like that.

    If we just talked about Woman and womankind, would you feel yourself included? I understand that you mean for “men” to be inclusive, but I for one just dont feel included – I feel like women are subsumed under the category of men rather than having a category wide enough for all of use. I tend to use “humanity” and wither alternate pronouns or write s/he – I know that looks awkward, but that’s kind of what I like about it, that it fractures our automatic gendering of words.

    Thanks again for a thought-provoking post – oh, and my questions about thinking stuff, etc, was because I was wondering if you were into process theology.

    • “If we just talked about Woman and womankind, would you feel yourself included?”

      Thank You, I haven’t thought about it like that before and I must say I stand corrected.

      Isn’t this what dialogue is all about, that both parties come away felling that they have gained something rather than defended a position or won the argument. One of the things I like about Wattle’s, he stresses making money the creative way as opposed to the competitive method which encourages, lying, cheating, fraud, et al because the profit, the bottom line, is the only objective.

      I do not know what “Process Theology” is. I looked it up and from a quick reading in Wikipedi I can see why you were wondering if I was of that school of thought. Checking the list of process theologians, I have not read any of them but I do think along similar lines, especially the relationship to pluralism and the doctrine of incarnation. Thank You, again I have learned something from you.

    • “…the universe should shake to its core every time a child is raped or murdered, and if God isn’t struck to Her very heart, I don’t know if She’s worth worshipping.”

      Amen and Amen

  5. (side note… do you find it interesting that English doesn’t assign genders to words, but other languages do?) Why is that?

  6. Jorge, I’m wondering about this comment you made “I think that it represents our evolution in understanding. I think that true knowledge and enlightenment will come when We All are enlightened, then we will fully know ourselves and the Source of Being.”

    I’m not so sure we’ve had much of an evolution in understanding. I know this is a popular concept–that we are becoming more and more enlightened with each passing decade–but I’m not so sure about that. Have you ever read any poetry by Rumi? Really, virtually any of the great mystical (and some not so mystical!) thinkers over time would also do.

    When I look at history and set it next to today, it doesn’t appear that we are becoming more of anything outside of an increase in the potential damage of our violence. Our technologies now allow for global impact, which has had its positives and negatives, much like anything else.

    I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I think it is arrogant for us to assume that we are smarter or more enlightened than previous generations (you may not have been making that claim. Perhaps I’m interpreting what you said incorrectly?).

    Globalization has taken some terribly unenlightened things–nuclear war, human trafficking, etc.–and increased their capacity for harm exponentially. If anything, I would say that we have demonstrated great strides in scientific understanding over the past 1,000 years or so, but our collective concepts of the divine remain largely the same. Fundamentalism, new-age spiritualism, etc., are nothing new. It’s just more of the same (e.g., Rumi and the Crusaders!) with some updated language.

    I know this does little to support the theory of an enlightenment train ride to Peaceville, but I have tremendous respect for generations who have come before me and don’t see any evidence that we have grown more aware since they have passed. If anything, we keep playing the same tunes over and over, marveling at our shiny new instruments that are playing the same ol’ sounds.

    • Well said my friend, well said indeed, I agree with you.

      “When I look at history and set it next to today, it doesn’t appear that we are becoming more of anything outside of an increase in the potential damage of our violence.”

      In our five thousand years of culture, our behavior has not changed much at all. The farmer became jealous of the attention given the herder of animals and slew him, his own brother.

      Outwardly, materialistically, technologically, what humankind has achieved is remarkable and just in the last one hundred years is astounding, just the changes in my lifetime alone are unbelievable, we have gone from Sputnik, a small object about the size of two basketballs, the first artificial object to orbit the earth to the Space Station.

      However, changes in human behavior are almost imperceptible because that involves our biological, genetic makeup, which for the most part is only changed through evolutionary processes and evolutionary change is very slow.

      We existed 60,000 years before we developed culture and parallel we developed cultures and destroyed them, built up civilizations and then destroyed them.

      “If anything, we keep playing the same tunes over and over, marveling at our shiny new instruments that are playing the same ol’ sounds.”

      Yes indeed, I like the way Joe Pearce terms it a “negative cultural loop” of war and destruction. Pearce references Darwin, an act preformed over and over again becomes a habit, a habit preformed over and over again becomes an instinct.

      We continue to exploit nature rather than nurture her, we continue to compete for resources, jobs, and our well-being, rather than use creative means to procure them.

      This competitive mode encourages and promotes, lying, cheating, stealing, killing, whatever is necessary to procure it or get ahead and we keep score in dollars, euro’s, rubles, et al, worthless pieces of fucking paper, a goddamn illusion that everyone agrees to.

      We will become just another extinction unless we some how break the negative cultural loop we have long been entrapped in, the warring, conquering, enslaving, exploiting, competitive civilizations.

  7. So, essentially, we’re on our own. “God” is a construct of our consciousness, but not some cosmic can of whoop ass to be used in times of hardship and emergency.

    I can accept that. It explains QUITE a bit.
    Another question: What’s the use of prayer ? To whom, where ?

    It would appear this group construct of ours is somewhat indifferent to current events/ misery. I guess that means it’s on us to make it ‘better’. Again, I’m good with that.
    Guess that means it’s time to get busy.
    Haiti, anyone ?

  8. Robi, my pastor speaks frequently about how prayer is a “largely human conversation.” However, I don’t think that because God is not (or rather, my interpretation of God) some separate dude ready to whoop ass that we are on our own. We have each other, the greater field of life (hi earth! Hi crap we can’t possibly know of! Hi cosmic wonder!) and the power of thought. And right now, I’m thinking some relief agencies could use my cash for Haiti.

  9. To offer a perspective on the He/She conundrum; when one looks at creative spiritual energy (yes, redundant, but I’m making a point), and then looks at creative physical energy, it’s easy to see that the spiritual energy is more akin to male energy and the physical energy is more akin to female energy. Hence, “God the Father” and “Mother Earth”. It’s not a genetilia thing at all.

    Brother Crump, I enjoy your term “Creative Stuff”. Vague enough to not be able to form a clear picture of it. Brilliant! I might have to borrow the term.

  10. OLD TIME RELIGION

    Chorus

    Now give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    It was good for our mothers,
    It was good for our mothers,
    It was good for our mothers,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    Chorus

    Now give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    Makes me love everybody,
    Makes me love everybody,
    Makes me love everybody,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    Chorus

    Now give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    It was good for our fathers,
    It was good for our fathers,
    It was good for our fathers,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    Chorus

    Now give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    It was good for the Hebrew children,
    It was good for the Hebrew children,
    It was good for the Hebrew children,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    Chorus

    Now give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    It was good for Paul and Silas,
    It was good for Paul and Silas,
    It was good for Paul and Silas,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    Chorus

    Now give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    It will do when I am dying,
    It will do when I am dying,
    It will do when I am dying,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    Chorus

    Now give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    It was good for the prophet Daniel,
    It was good for the prophet Daniel,
    It was good for the prophet Daniel,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    Chorus

    Now give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    It was tried in the fiery furnace,
    It was tried in the fiery furnace,
    It was tried in the fiery furnace,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    Chorus

    Now give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    It will take us all to heaven,
    It will take us all to heaven,
    It will take us all to heaven,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    Chorus

    Now give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    Give me that old time religion,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    Ha ha ha! Yo, Kim! Us rednecks out here in Missouri (Ozark Americans is our preferred designation) prefer to take comfort and solace in our OLD TIME RELIGION. We don’t think about religion and our Creator too much ’cause doing so just confuses us. Our minds just ain’t big enough to consider the awesome Power and Mind of God. We leave that work to the theologians.

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