Tuesday, September 06, 2005


After Katrina hit, I couldn't stop wondering how the religious could still believe in the benevolence of their God. I would have posted these thoughts, but I didn't think the time had come to ask such questions. Yet, Delroy Murdock of Scripps New Service beat me to it a couple of days ago when he asked:
Would an all-powerful God stand by helplessly as Katrina sliced into America's belly like a Florida-sized circular saw?...Would an all-knowing God shrug while Katrina crafted something akin to a watery Hieronymus Bosch painting?...Would an all-loving God reply, "Whatever," as Katrina spread destruction inland from the sea, like Sherman's march in reverse?...
I've been pretty much glued to CNN for the last week and the vastness of the destruction gives me respect for the scope and power of nature. Yet, some don't believe it was mindless nature that visited New Orleans like a reaper last week, but their God. So I have to agree with Murdock when he asks:
[D]oes such a "supreme being" even deserve devotion? One can fear and respect whatever force dislodged a 1,200-ton, 200-foot-tall oil platform and slammed it into the Mobile, Ala., Cochrane/Africatown Bridge. Those behind local protection rackets also elicit fear and respect, but rarely expect to be worshipped.
Murdocks concludes his very courageous op-ed with this sentiment:
The good news is that Americans in and out of uniform already are being generous and compassionate to Katrina's victims.

A Mississippi man waded into alligator-filled waters to pry an elderly couple from their sidelined automobile. When one New Orleans hospital's emergency generators lacked fuel, staffers siphoned now-precious gasoline from their own cars' tanks to keep medical equipment running. Harry Connick, Jr., Wynton Marsalis, and other entertainers plan fundraising concerts and telethons. So far, Americans have donated $27 million to such charities as the Red Cross (800-HELP NOW/www.redcross.org).

Admittedly, many of these decent people are inspired by religious impulses. But they perform their good deeds with human hands, and the love they share appears through concrete human action, not ethereal "divine intervention."

Relying on each other and ourselves, I believe, not depending on a God who either doesn't care about us or simply isn't there, is all we humans have.

In other words, we are on our own.
So gives thanks to your brothers and sisters and not prayers and alms at the altar of an apparition.