Jan. 08, 2005 #01.

Tsunami Theology as Wrath of God-- Fundamentalist Clerics Ride Tsunami Wave onto Shoals of Medievalism.

            Given the abundant evidence of the medieval mentality of so many fanatically fundamentalist Muslim clerics, it's certainly not a shock that many of them have crafted "wrath of God" explanations for the December 26, 2004, earthquake that caused the Tsunami, which, if there were to have been in place a Tsunami warning system comparable to the one in the Pacific, would have caused a tiny fraction of the casualties (although just as much damage to property and ecology).  However, it is a shock when ostensibly modern thinkers such as Joe Scarborough give a platform to ostensibly modern Christians expressing comparable "wrath of God" explanations for a disaster so easily understood (though certainly not easily predictable) by anyone with a modicum of scientific knowledge.

            At a time when modernity is engaged in mortal combat with medievalism, backsliding into pre-modern thinking is both foolish and dangerous.  Each group begins competing for the prize in devising the most "plausible" theory about what group of people's behavior was so offensive that a Creator would manipulate a natural disaster to slaughter the innocent in order to punish the guilty.  One would expect the Creator would have "smarter" smart-bombs than modern technology has developed and thus have not only the power, but also the moral inclination, to do a better job at distinguishing between the "sinner" and the "righteous" than smart-bombs distinguish between military targets and innocent civilians.

            I'm confident that the vast majority of modern Christians (and probably a majority of Muslims) don't subscribe to such medievalist "theology," which is why I found it so bewildering that Scarborough has twice devoted part of his program to serious consideration of such "theology."  One can understand how pre-modern people struggling to interpret aspects of phenomena beyond their comprehension tended to construct theological explanations.  One can also understand how modern people embrace theological explanations for the Cosmos as a whole given the fact that science cannot yet (and may never) provide a definitive explanation.  However, one has difficulty understanding why modern people would continue attempting to construct theological explanations for phenomena that science does understand.

            It reminds me of the off-hand comments about 9-11 initially made by Jerry Falwell implying a "wrath of God" theory.  Not only has Pat Robertson has made comparable comments, but several years ago he credited "prayer" for sparing Virginia Beach the effects of a devastating hurricane-- ostensibly, the Creator is a Virginian but wasn't too fond of New Jersey, where the hurricane wreaked havoc after turning away from Virginia Beach.  I'm all for religious tolerance but not for equating medieval theology with modern theology.  Such "wrath of God" explanations for natural disasters are as offensive as the Secular Fundamentalists' intolerance towards modern theology.  Although I'm a non-theist, I've often defended the exercise and expression of religious faith against intolerant, bigoted attacks by Secular Fundamentalists.  However, in a society that values freedom of expression and religion, for adherents to modern theology (as well as ecumenically-minded non-theists) to remain silent in the face of such medieval theology would be to act as enablers. 

--Jim Wrenn, Editor at PoliSat.Com.

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Jan. 08, 2005 #01 Daily Update at PoliSat.Com, where satire is always commentary, but commentary isn't always satire

Title:  Tsunami Theology as Wrath of God-- Fundamentalist Clerics Ride Tsunami Wave onto Shoals of Medievalism.

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