Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How to tell if God is trying to kill you

Dear Hannah,

It should seem strange to anyone who reads the Bible that after all the talk about God judging the nations, Evangelicals think they know how He's going to do it.  The truth is that they don't; and I know this because I've tried to get judgment down to a science, and the only thing I've ever been able to conclude is that if we're going by Biblical standards, God should have drowned all the Evangelicals in a very strange series of very localized floods*.

If it seems wrong that anyone would single out Evangelicals for any kind of a divine waterboarding, we would be wrong in suggesting that waterboarding resulted from the Golden Rule.  God wouldn't be drowning them because some of them pretended to drown terrorists.  He would be drowning them because they are (very possibly) the most openly supportive of false prophets.  And this is because, aside from popular people like Pat Robertson going on television and saying that Jesus told him Mitt Romney would be the next president of the United States, we have plenty of pastors all over America telling us that God is going to give us another national disaster because of gay marriage.

This statement is what an Evangelical might call sinful for several reasons, if only he was interested in Jesus' teachings about motes and logs and falling towers.  And it is sinful primarily because, while everyone feels very comfortable bringing up Moses' prohibition of homosexuality, everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten a little passage in which Moses told the Israelites to kill their false prophets.  Jesus never was much for hypocrisy.  And if we really wanted to get sensible about the issue (which I have reason to believe we don't), we might even say, like Jesus said about tithing mint while abandoning your parents, that false prophets are more dangerous than sodomites.  They are more dangerous because a man who has sex with another man is only having sex with another man; and probably with a Godless man.  A man who goes on television and lies about speaking for God is screwing the church. 

And so knowing Moses is extremely important; not only because Moses is frequently brilliant or because he's the first recorded instance of God declaring the "legal reasons" for destroying particular nations, but because the creation of Israel was the basis of the modern "God-fearing nation" theory.  And it's very popular for Christians to quote all kinds of verses about God's judgment without mentioning that very special verse that was intended (if the Pauline Gospel was ever to be taken seriously) to completely destroy anyone's hope of working their way into God's favor.  And the verse goes something like this:
If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, [underlining mine]
right before going on to pronounce a series of curses involving your wife being raped and your donkey being stolen and your friends being murdered.

The key to the passage is the word all -- the recognition that even if someone was to do absolutely everything he possibly could, and then suddenly found his neighbor sleeping with another married neighbor (which happens all the time in America), the adulterer wouldn't only bring death and destruction on himself, but on his entire country.   And the method of judgment varied wildly.  Sometimes God waited a second, and other times He waited for a century.  Sometimes the offense was legally prohibited; other times not even implied.  Sometimes the offense was small, and other times it was heinous.  Sometimes the offense was committed by a single person, and other times it was committed by "the nation."  Sometimes the sinner got the judgment, and sometimes judgment was poured out on innocents.  And to make this whole situation even stranger, sometimes judgement was poured out on innocents, and the guilty men held on to their kingdoms (which is disheartening to all the Evangelicals who tried to impeach Clinton).  It's almost enough to make you wonder -- if you were prone to suspicion about extremely suspicious things -- whether anyone was actually behind the judgments at all.  If the Evangelicals are right, all you can know is that whatever you do, someone is likely to get you killed by God.

Now, I do not believe like many Evangelicals that America is the new Israel; but if anyone is going to take that route, the case of judgment which should interest him more than any other is the case in which an entire nation was ruined for the sins of a single person.  This was proved in the story of Achan, a man who hid some plunder under his tent, and immediately caused his brethren to be massacred.  It was proved (although with an extra person) in the story about Zimri and Cozbi, who brought a plague on all of Israel by sleeping together; and it was proved in the story about Saul, who didn't wait for a priest to make a sacrifice and ended his dynasty in bloodshed.  And after these we come to the story of David, who counted his army (which wasn't even prohibited by Law) and brought a plague on the nation that killed hundreds of thousands.  And then he committed adultery (like Newt Gingrich) and murdered Uriah the Hittite (like hundreds of Chicagoans do perennially) which caused God to ruin innocents in a civil war.

If we're going to draw anything from these lessons, it would be that if a Christian nation was ever to be held accountable to Biblical Law the way God directly stated about Israel, that we would never have really stood a chance at all.  If God had been holding Christian nations accountable for their behaviors in any kind of Mosaic sense, all Europe would have been conquered centuries ago by Muslims like Israel was conquered by Babylonians, and nobody would have ever heard of names like England, Italy, or France, except in the historical records of their conquerors.  We have almost four-hundred mllion people in the USA, and some of them happen to be rascals.  If our survival seems a miracle, it is only because we believe we have God figured out when we obviously don't.

The idea that God is going to judge men for their behavior is something everyone from any nearly sensible religion has agreed upon.  When and how it will happen is something left to God Himself.  The men who speak of His specific judgments without an active revelation are false prophets and ought to be shamed and shunned; the men who think they can be held to Mosaic standards and avoid national destruction are either ignorant or arrogant.  And if they won't hear it from Moses in the Old Testament, then they at the very least ought to hear it from Paul in the New.

I, for one, am a skeptic -- probably better described as an apostate.  I believe in God because the existence of our incredibly complex universe leads me to believe it was designed; and my battered conscience leads me to consider the possibility of an afterlife.  Some men, correctly saying this falls short of Christianity, would be quick to call me unGodly.  But there are different meanings of the word Godless.  And if I had to choose between being the man who doesn't have a God because he feels abandoned, and being the man who places himself in the position of God and falsely pronounces judgments for Him, I would much rather choose to be the first than the second. I wish that certain Evangelicals would be humble enough to choose the same.

And if you happen to be wondering how we could ever know whether God is trying to kill us, the answer is simple.  He's trying to kill all of us, because we are all going to die.

Your father,

*He said He wasn't going to flood everyone again.  His legal team insists that Evangelicals are not everyone, however highly they think of themselves.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeremy. Enjoyed your posts and your article at americanthinker.com. You ask a lot of great questions about false teachers, judgments from God, and the standing of America in the sight of God. With those questions and many others in mind, those of us who are born again Christians need to have an attitude of humility and repentance in our daily walk with Christ. We can't be finger pointers yet at the same time we are calked upon to speak the truth with love. Accusation comes from Satan, yet not to recognize sin as sin would be ignorant, unwise, and ungodly. We need a discerning spirit. This is flushed out in 1 John. I would emphasize in this regard tbe word "spirit." It's my sense that you are seeking for a reason to believe more in God than you prsently do. My only suggestion in this regard (other than the ones I have already made) is not to look for a reason to believe more, but to seek to know Jesus Christ more. It is our relationship with him that informs our identity. Best, Jeff