Before we get going, I just want to direct your attention to the question mark in the title. I didn’t say it, but asked it. Incredulously, I might add.
See, earlier today I was reading about the flooding in Midland, MI, after two dams completely failed. I won’t go into it; it’s all over the news, anyway. Suffice to say, it’s really bad. I looked it up on YouTube to visually get a better idea of what was happening.
Then I made a big mistake
I read the comments. Between lots of people blaming past and present politicians, and a bunch of people calling Michigan (my beloved state) a “shithole”, there was another lane.
The God-did-it lane.
One response in particular got my attention. I half expect to see some this is a sign of the end times comments, but this one was so…I don’t know. You read it and see what you think:
God is redecoratingYouTube commentor
There are two words for this that come to mind: flippant & glib.
flippant: not showing a serious or respectful attitude
glib: (of words or the person speaking them) fluent and voluble but insincere and shallow
To poetically say this flood–that will cause millions of dollars in damage, caused thousands to evacuate during a pandemic, and might cause chemicals to spill out into the public–is God’s way of “redecorating” seems…flippant and glib.
Why do people blame God for disasters?
Because they’re scared and out of focus, so they aren’t thinking deeply–about anything. (That was a short paragraph.)
Why shouldn’t people blame God for disasters?
Well, for one–if you’re a believer–it’s sacrilege. But, since it’s kind of the thing around here, how about we take a mental health approach? According to The Journal of Positive Psychology, blaming God can actually create more psychological distress in the long run.
But remember what I said about people being out of focus, not thinking deeply enough? That article says the difference on whether or not believers had additional stress was where the individual’s focus is. “Relatively higher levels of divine forgiveness buffered the relation between later psychological distress and seeing God as playing a role.”
In other words, if you focus on God’s acts of (*air quotes and eyerolls) punishment, you miss the mark in a couple of ways. Remember the whole God-is-love vibe that Jesus had? In times of disaster, don’t ask, Why did God do this to us?, because it’s an unfathomable thing to ask, Why did God ____________? Hence, possibly, part of that extra mental burden?
So don’t add more layers of anxiety
In a cool article from The Conversation, Lynne Anderson wrote: “Some theologians totally reject the idea of suffering as divine retribution because such an act would be unworthy of a merciful God.” I find solace in that idea. She goes one later to say that “instead of dwelling on God’s wrath, we need to understand God’s kindness and mercy. And that, in times of crises and distress, it is kindness and mercy that require us to reach out to those who need comfort and assistance.”
Whether you’re religious, spiritual, or none of the above–have gratitude in good times, and look to be an agent of kindness and mercy in bad times.
For more on mental health, living authentically, and show updates, check out other posts, like 2 Tech Updates: “The Holy Spirit Ain’t Coming to Zoom” & “Is My Kid Playing Too Much Video Games?”, 10 Cool Things to Do While Sheltering in Place, Charles Barkley And His Trophies: An Awesome Take on Materialism, and MORE.
Finally, check out BetterHelp.com–a sponsor of the show–for access to affordable, private online counseling. Anytime, anywhere. Threads listeners who click the link get 10% off the first month!
Thanks, folks. Good luck out there!
Christopher Tallon writes, plays guitar, and has a collection of old gaming systems.