Pro-Christian Tsunami

Overheard during the holidays:

“Have you noticed that the tsunami only affected non-Christian countries? God has ways of making his point.”

Since I am resolved to be less judgmental this year, the comment will have to speak for itself. Suffice to say I couldn’t decide whether to roll my eyes or be infuriated.

Music: Scarab :: Fall of the Towers of Convention

19 Replies to “Pro-Christian Tsunami”

  1. A question on my mind these days is: Should one be tolerant of intolerance or intolerant of intolerance? Or really, how tolerant of intolerance should one be?

  2. I suppose the same people that the reason San Francisco always has earthquakes, is because of the Large Population of Individuals who engage in Sodomy, and has nothing to do with the intersection of two very large Tectonic Plates.

    The Bubonic Plague only affected Roman-Catholic and Protestant Countries. Allah has a way of making his point too.
    Meanwhile, the Islamic Countries which propagated the Plague to repel the invading “Crusaders” had a healthly fighting force. Coincidence, or does Modern Medicine owe a lot to a non-domineering Religion like Islam.

  3. You forgot the just-war-punch option after rolling of eyes. You needed to show that person some divine love.

  4. (sigh) I swear this is becoming the face of Christianity. I wonder what mainline/progressive Christians like me should call ourselves ?

    OK, how about a positive plug for my church, the Episcopal Church, USA, and what they’re doing for the tsunami victims ? Have a look at what Episcopal Relief and Development is doing at ERD Assists Families After Tsunamis in South Asia. Note that ERD is one of the best run charitable organizations in the country, giving more than 73% of its budget to programs, 17% for fundraising and only 10% for administrative costs.

  5. How quickly they forget the four hurricanes that pounded the bejezzus out of Florida – hurricanes which, strangely enough, vented most of their wrath on the more red-tinged of the purple counties.

    Yes, yes, the divine has ways of expressing itself, indeed.

  6. > Um, Scot, is your resolution to be less judgemental, or to express it less? Because clearly you’ve judged… :

    Sean, you kind of stopped me cold in my tracks with that comment. It’s a good question. On one hand, to BE less judgmental is what would really represent a change of heart. If one is not judgmental, then of course there would be no judgmental expression. But of course we can’t turn off our thoughts so easily. I can’t flip a switch and suddenly not have a negative reaction (internally) to such a comment.

    On the other hand, if the goal is simply not to express judgmental ideas, then there’s a question of sincerity — of perhaps thinking judgmental thoughts without expressing them, i.e. of masking one’s feelings and thoughts.

    As Amy pointed out, maybe a good start would be to limit the project to what appears on this blog. In other words, just don’t blog items like this to begin with. “If you can’t think of something nice to say…” But gosh, how bland. Doing that would just take wind out of my sails. Make this site that much less interesting to read, I think. Maybe that’s the price you pay for being non-judgmental.

    Sheesh, I don’t know. This is harder than I thought, and we’re not even through the first week of 2005. Need to think more about what “judgmental” actually means; not as clear-cut as I thought it was.

  7. Be infuriated.
    You may resolve not to expess your opinions as much, but who doesn’t judge? My judgements about what’s right and wrong guide my actions in the world (and my vote). I believe that thinking people and liberals being “tolerant” of intolerant viewpoints and keeping our polite mouths shut has let things get as bad as they are today. To take a page from their book, you can love the sinner, but lets not forget to hate the sin.

    And referring to Daniel’s comment about the Plague, a great novel by Kim Stanley Robinson is based just on that. The Years of Rice and Salt – fabulous book, explores the question of what would the world be like if all of Christianity and western europe had been wiped out by the plauge. The answer – not better, just different.

  8. There’s also the distinction between “judgment” and “opinion.”

    In my mind, the term “judgment” has the implication of being final. A judgment is a wholly formed opinion, tested against all salient facts and deemed to be correct. An opinion is a nascent judgment. It has not been exposed to all the facts, and therfore stands on its own, and may be deemed to be incorrect by others. Which in most cases would be their opinion, too.

    Scot, you and have have often discussed your post where you said a vote against Bush was a moral imperative. I found this to be somewhat problematic, as you know. The reason being that it was expressed as a judgment. A fiat imperatur for all people. Now, if you had phrased it as “Anyone that shares my particular political views and my distaste for the current administration probably feels like I do. That a vote against Bush almost rises to the level of a moral imperative. It does, at least, in my mind,” it comes off far more like an opinion than a judgment.

    Who could argue with that second phrase? Certainly not any rational human being that knows they are not in your mind. Who is to say how your mind operates besides you? Oh, and of course Amy, who has the final say over such things anyway. ;)

    Sometimes being judgmental is all about delivery. Expressing your thoughts as opinion, and unique to your own head leaves the door open for dissent and discussion. A judgment, to me, does not.

    So, to the topic at hand. This bashing of Asia by Christians is bound to lead to a reaction. How could it not? “American Christians have gone nuts and are now immoral,” is a judgment. “It seems to me that there’s a (perhaps minority) of American Christians who have lost the kernel of meaning in Jesus’ teachings and promote distrust and judgment of others rather than harmonious brotherhood (‘Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone,‘ anyone?)” is an opinion.

    And in this country everyone is entitled to their opinion, and is granted the freedom to express it.

    Does that make sense?

  9. Well said, mnep. A distinction between judgment and opinion is helpful here. So by that reckoning, the relevant bit of my post — “couldn’t tell whether to roll my eyes or be infuriated” — speaks only of my own vacillations of opinion on the person’s statement, without making declarations. So maybe I wasn’t being entirely judgmental after all. Although I do confess that my inward reaction was one of disgust, and that I felt certainty (judgment, by your definition) that the speaker was being un-Christian on several levels.

  10. And that interior versus exterior dialog is the difference between saying to yourself, “Man, I’d like to kill my boss!” and a lengthy stay in San Quentin. ;)

    A frivilous analogy, but not entirely without merit. What we think versus what we speak aloud is often the difference between a viewpoint changed and an argument lost.

  11. I must admit, for a short nano-second a small part of me wondered why this disaster couldn’t have happened a little closer to the USA. Until I realised that, not only was this an evil thought, it also meant that a whole bunch of my friends would die and the assholes in the middle of the country would end up feeling even more smug than before. Nah, what we need is… I dunno, a plague of locusts, death of the first-born, something more along those lines.

    Scot, please don’t stop being opinionated (I don’t think you ever were judgemental).

  12. Scot, there’s also the issue of how “tolerant of intolerance” we’re supposed to be. This is often debated on mainline/progressive religious blogs when some wingnut is trolling the comments section. They start accusing us of being “intolerant” because someone is calling it like they see it over some religious conservative’s bigotry or other nastiness.

    Basically, it’s bullsh*t. Don’t fall for it :)

  13. Well, perhaps that explains why it is so hot here in Texas, God is punishing my agnostic ass. My apologies to all the Christians for which I have ruined Texas.

    Oh, and In my book it’s ok to be judgmental of the stupid, otherwise we wouldn’t know who is stupid and who is not. One of which I just may be.

  14. “Coincidence, or does Modern Medicine owe a lot to a non-domineering Religion like Islam.”

    It is true, but there is a distinction to be made: modern medicine, which resembles its Greek archetype, was trasmitted not through the Islamic religion but through Arab culture, of which we derived Greek medical and scientific texts (and of course, algebra).

    But it certainly humbles Christians to treat others as peers.

  15. I mentioned this to a friend, who has a degree in theology. His comment:

    “I thought Jahweh prefers to afflict his own people with disasters. Unless of course the Old Testament isn’t gospel?”

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