An Evangelical Innovation: Houston Is Not Punishment From God.

Changing religion to fit money and politics is standard fare in Christianity. A nifty two-step is going on over the Houston flood.

When there is a President from the Democratic Party, a catastrophic weather event will be attributed to God’s punishment. With Houston under water we heard Franklin Graham and Dobson saying things like, “Gosh, what a bit of bad luck there. Thanks to all the volunteers helping out.” Dobson even said we should not politicize the event.

Wait a minute. Houston has the largest gay organization in Texas. Surely that would make God mad and cause him to drown Houston? But no, in the new conservative Christianity God loves gay-friendly Houston and feels sorry for its bad fortune.

My imagination gave me this hypothetical conversation. Preacher A and Preacher B meet for coffee. Preacher A says, “Gosh, that was quite a storm God sent to Houston. It’s good Houston was punished for its sins. People will behave better because of what God did there.”

This bothers Pastor B. “No, the flood in Houston was not caused by God. Hurricane Harvey moved in and dumped several feet of rain on Houston. Hurricanes can do that.”

Now Pastor A is upset. “We always blame hurricanes on sin. What gives here?”

Pastor B says, “Look, Texas went for Trump. We all prayed first then endorsed him. How could God punish Texas for doing what God wanted it to do? It can’t be punishment.”

Pastor A agrees this hurricane was not punishment for sin. The others were.

 

 

32 Responses

  1. entech

    http://religionnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/webRNS-HARVEY-FLOOD3-082917.jpg

    Brown noted as much in his cautionary remarks, saying: “Houston is one of the few cities that has stood bravely against the rising tide of LGBT activism. Why would God single out Houston for judgment?”

    Another theory is that the religious right voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. Texas, a red state, voted for Trump. And while Houston’s Harris County went blue, all but one of its surrounding counties — the majority of the flooded areas outside Harris County — went red.

    “They think the election of Trump was one of their greatest accomplishments and has put the country back into the good graces of God,” Montgomery said. “If Obama was still president it might be deemed punishment for electing him.”

    Dobson may have alluded to this in his Harvey statement. “Finally, my prayer is that we as a nation would not politicize this crisis in any way,” he said. “That will not help those who are suffering. Unity is our greatest strength in times of trial so let us come together to support and serve the people of Texas.”

    Just think how much worse it would have been if America hadn’t let Trump creep in. The alternative to blaming people for annoying God and so blaming God for punishing them is accepting that the all knowing all seeing all benevolent God does not exist. Although I don’t actually believe it I will accede to the possibility of a creator that set us going and then stood back to watch (or just left). Left behind a whole bunch of self appointed representatives that are hell bent on forcing what they thing he would have wanted into the rest of the world.

  2. Jinx II

    Entech “Although I don’t actually believe it I will accede to the possibility of a creator that set us going and then stood back to watch (or just left). Left behind a whole bunch of self appointed representatives that are hell bent on forcing what they thing he would have wanted into the rest of the world.”

    Well said my friend, well said!

  3. Rob

    It’s a very small fringe group who believe hurricanes are God’s wrath.
    Nice to see people of all faiths donating and volunteering in the wake of Harvey.

    1. Rob 7:43 It’s a very small fringe group who believe hurricanes are God’s wrath.
      Maybe someone will do a poll eventually. In past hurricanes a small army of religious “leaders”, Tony Perkins, Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham and others all agreed hurricanes were do to the sinful administration of Obama. I don’t think it is accurate to use the term “a very small fringe group.” It depends on the President and the sins involved.

    2. entech

      If you believe that there was a creator of the universe and that that creator caused a collection of writings to be assembled (quoted, written, inspired no matter how caused these are the works of God and his instructions and laws for your behaviour and the expectation of what will happen if you do not obey) that came to be called the Holy Bible. If you believe this and that this God had a son who became both man and god and died and was resurrected then you may indeed be part of a fringe group when viewed as part of all the people that ever lived on this earth. It is rather insulting of Rob to suggest that it is only a “fringe group” of Christianity that believes this God punishes sin and demonstrates his wrath; this God could be considered a pretty ineffectual God if there no need to fear such a God. Actually there have been some Christians (even on this small site) that have intimated that they would be into all kinds of sins and reprehensible behaviour if it were not for fear of retribution. If it were not for fear, at some level, who would be a Christian; is heaven only an escape from hell? Pity the poor none believer limited to the idea that the reason for doing good is simply because it is the right thing to do.

      Nice to see people of all faiths donating and volunteering in the wake of Harvey. We have also seen how some are more reluctant than others, MegaChristian Joel Osteen comes to mind. MegaChristian the Donald has promised A million dollars of his own money, Rob you could make it your mission to demonstrate to all of us doubters how he has fulfilled such promises in the past and when this one come to fruition.

      Lest we get the idea that it is only “faiths and denominations” there should be mentioned that there are some of non-faith and no-denomination that are part of the effort.
      https://www.facebook.com/pg/AtheistsHelpingtheHomelessHouston/posts/?ref=page_internal
      I am sure a little google would find much more.

        1. entech

          Don’, won’t or can’t 😆
          Certainly you can’t count only abut a third of that.

          Any truth to the rumor that Trump can’t read that well and has a limited attention span?

  4. Catcher

    re. All the above. This is the result of a pre new covenant mindset. Both Atheists and radical Evangelicals.(fundamentalists) wallow in it.

    1. entech

      Not quite sure what you mean by atheists wallowing in the old testament, they/we love it for pointing so directly to how cruel the God of the Jews was compared to how kind the God of the Christians is supposed to be. Does remind of some of the things Marcion had to say!

    2. Catcher 10:12 This is the result of a pre new covenant mindset. Both Atheists and radical Evangelicals.(fundamentalists) wallow in it.

      I find wallowing in the covenant is similar to wallowing in God sending hurricanes. They have the same source, the creative imaginations of ancient writers followed by those in modern society that take the Bible literally.

      1. Catcher

        @ 10;41; 1st. you mention hurricanes; Old covenant (If you do or don’t, I will, or won’t). Indeed, as I indicated, “…followed by—(some of)– those in modern society that take the Bible —(hyper)—literally”; “of a pre new Covenant. mindset. That’s Old Covenant,– Old Testament).

        1. Catcher 11:02 1st. you mention hurricanes; Old covenant (If you do or don’t, I will, or won’t). Indeed, as I indicated, “…followed by—(some of)– those in modern society that take the Bible —(hyper)—literally”; “of a pre new Covenant. mindset. That’s Old Covenant,– Old Testament).

        2. Catcher 11:02 1st. you mention hurricanes; Old covenant (If you do or don’t, I will, or won’t). Indeed, as I indicated, “…followed by—(some of)– those in modern society that take the Bible —(hyper)—literally”; “of a pre new Covenant. mindset. That’s Old Covenant,– Old Testament).

          I don’t understand “pre covenant”, “post covenant”. They both come from reading the Bible literally. If you find there is some great difference in the level of taking things literally, and it gives you pleasure, I hope you continue with it.

          1. Catcher

            @11’16; That you can’t or don’t distinguish pre new Covenant, (Old Covenant) from the New Covenant explains your position. I notice you posted; “pre covenant” reveals a typo or sloppy reading of my post. I said “pre NEW Covenant”. Back to the books.

  5. entech

    Catcher I think the main problem is not so much Jon’s sloppy reading as much as it is your sloppy writing. Your 11:02 for example, is so jargon filled that it is difficult to understand. Now I know you think it is any lack of comprehension is on the art of the reader – but that is simply not so. You assume too much specialized knowledge and write as if everyone as your own expertise.
    There are different types of covenant, between a God and his subjects and sealed with blood (always wondered why the shedding of blood was so important for some things) is the final covenant one of an absolute commitment from on to the other, a promise from God to Abraham, from sovereign to subject, the great nation etc – a promise kept in spite of Abraham’s sin. Then we have the redemption given by the sacrifice of Jesus. This gets a bit more complicated as it comes with conditions, belief! But the ability to believe is received as an act of undeserved “grace”, you are free to accept or reject this gift of belief but are bound to doubt or uneven unbelief without it.
    You can’t accuse people of sloppy interpretation without giving a clear concise explanation of what you are talking about. This also epitomizes the non-believers main complaint about the Bible, why is it open to so many interpretations, can it have some even contradictory meanings.

    1. Catcher

      @ 12;21; Bla bla bla. If you don’t know the words (Jargon), you or Jon don’t know the subject. If you did, it would be “clear and concise”. .It would be advisable for Jon to know the subject matter before he jumps in with his uninformed opinion.

      Perhaps he should blog about debits and credits, or the time value of money. I expect Jon to be silent now with your help.

      1. Catcher 1:49 .It would be advisable for Jon to know the subject matter before he jumps in with his uninformed opinion.

        I’m quite knowledgeable in the only important aspect of your hair splitting commentary. It is that there are people who claim not to be “literalists” but who pick out the parts of the Bible they like and take them literally. If we are trying to figure out why people believe what they do, this is the most important thing to know. Everything else is as you say, “Bla bla bla.”

        1. Catcher

          @ 5;34; As usual, you demonstrate your inability to even try to understand the subject you know so little about Well done.

      1. Catcher

        @ 8;40; When my 4 yr. old son wanted something badly , he would “borrow” from himself. He too knew what the outcome would be, as it was his desire. “…bet with myself”?; meaningless. Who paid up, one must ask.

        1. entech

          Wow, you confirm my suspicions, you are indeed a prophet, your 6:29 answering or referring to my later 8:40

          Now it is you that really needs to take note of what I say and mean, you and in your own inimitable manner are partly correct but apply infallibility to yourself. To the meanest intellect it must be recognized that a bet with ones self is purely metaphorical: as you intimate without an opposition there can be no wager, and no one to pay out or receive, however when you are are expecting something that has been oft repeated and can guess the outcome with some degree of certainty it makes it a bit more interesting (to the speaker at least). I have heard people with A high degree of certainty say such things as “I would bet my left one on it” no one in their right mind would believe that to be serious.

          Childish, of course, beyond a doubt. I have frequently said that much of what i say is in childish retaliation – to the likes of Matt just a reversal of his insulting behaviour, to the likes of you just a giggle at the condescending display of the habitual know it all.

          1. Catcher

            @ 11;48; Interesting bit of diversion from my original point @ 10;12. Jon has a problem with “covenant” or refuses to admit it is a feature in both the OT, and the NT. @ 11;16 , Jon admits his limitations on terms, and does a lateral to “literally”. Covenant is not a matter of literal or metaphor. The word is THERE. Get over it. If Jon or you don’t like it, TS.

            Now then, to get back to my first post, the point of which, which Jon can’t seem to get due to his problem with “Jargon”, The New Covenant is mostly a New Testament Gospel theme, ie. John 3;16. The Old Covenants, (plural) were mostly based, on,@ 11;02, “If you do or don’t, I will or won’t.)( The LAW.)———OT = Law——–NT = Gospel.
            The point is you fail to separate the two, and apply OT Law to NT Gospel.
            To put it another way, you (and indeed some Christians) emphasize the OT over the NT. again, Law vs. Gospel, and the distinction between them.

            “The Law’ = what must be done.
            “The Gospel”=what has been done through Christ.

            Jon and entech, the “habitual know it alls have proven they don’t know it all by admission (Jon), and misdirection, and defense of Jon.

          2. Catcher 9:18 Jon has a problem with “covenant” or refuses to admit it is a feature in both the OT, and the NT.

            That is a strange statement. I do not refuse to “admit it it a feature in both the OT and the NT”. So called covenants are there. But there are fictional deals, they are both unimportant. Both were created in the minds of ancient writers. They became even less important in modern times when people like yourself arbitrarily decide what in the Bible to take literally and what not to take literally. To read this ancient writing today and decide, “Gosh, the covenant made up by the later writers is more important than the ones made up by the earlier writers,” is to waste one’s life.

          3. entech

            @ 11;48; Interesting bit of diversion from my original point
            As usual whatever you say must be the final word.

            Just a ‘point’ for consideration until we can agree on the existence of an entity existing whith whom a suzerain relation exists and therefore have a covenentaal relationship (Biblical sense) old/new/potential/lapsed/superseded or whatever relationship you care to invoke – Mirriam Webster would have it as one definition, and probably the appropriate one here:
            “In the Bible, a divine promise establishing or modifying God’s relationship to humanity or to a particular group.”
            Without agreement on the existence of such a God there can be no covenentor or covenentee indeed no covenant.

            Jon @ 10:00 am although inclined to agree with you I do think the main point needs to come back to my favourite ignosticism. No point rabbiting on about covenants or testaments without agreement on with whom they are made and who is the suzerain and who the subject.
            And so on and on and on.

          4. Catcher

            @ 10;00 and 11;36; And again ,you boys wander away from my original post.
            I refer you back to my 9;18–11;26–and 10;22.

            By forcing OT covenants into the NT and into today, along side the New Covenant, your credibility is greatly diminished.

  6. I suggest a different take:

    “The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.(Obadiah 1:15)

    Look at all the destruction we have brought to the middle east and elsewhere with our military interventions. And who has been most supportive of these misguided adventures? Evangelicals.

    .” For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (I Peter 4:17)

    Forget gays. Just maybe God is trying to get the attention of His own people to stop their constant warmongering and be the blessed peacemaker that the Prince of Peace has called is to be

    “There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among the nations, bewildered by the roaring of the sea and the surging of the waves.” (Luke 21:25)

    Probably just a coincidence but Hurricane Harvey first formed in in the Atlantic on August 17, the day of the total eclipse. Yes, just a coincidence.

    1. Bob

      Eclipse was August 21st, not 17th!! And this eclipse only covered part of the country. So… keep on bible thumper!

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