Why blame god?

So I was thinking today, why don’t people blame god anymore? Way back when, think Old Testament, people were always asking God, why did this happen, what did I/we do? And no one seems to do that much anymore. You don’t hear farmers asking why there was a drought, or citizens asking why there was a flood, or a family ask why there was a fire. People don’t seem to blame god for the bad stuff anymore, so why is that?

I think it is a part of a natural progression. Back then, people didn’t understand a whole lot about the world around them, and the world was really big (considering how small it was) – the distance we travel to work (say 20 miles) was a good solid day long journey. Religion started as a way to explain the world around us. It served the community by explaining the things that could not be controlled or well understood, – the weather, the seasons, death and suffering. The Greeks attributed thunder and lightening to Zeus and the storms at sea and earthquakes to Poseidon. Many of the gods across cultures through history explained why various things happened in the world, and if those things were negative, it was due to angering these gods.

The Judeo-Christian tradition is hardly different. How to explain the plagues in Egypt? God is angry at Pharaoh. Why did Sodom and Gomorrah burn? God was angry at the people. Why did the Jewish people wander in the desert for 40 years? It wasn’t poor leadership, Yahweh was angry with ‘his people’ for finding a nice spot and not wanting to wage war (Numbers 32:6-15). Because there is never any poor leadership in the Bible.

So, we’ve come a long way. Most of our society (at least in the US) has come to accept the fact that the weather, earthquakes, fire, locusts, and so many other things do not happen because god is pissed about something we did, there are very clear and real explanations for all of these things. Not many farmers think there is a multi-state drought because of something he/she did – it’s the weather! That flood, it’s because of a lot of snow over the winter and strong spring rains, not due to failing to sacrifice a goat. No one seems to blame god. Now, when things are about ‘normal’ you don’t hear much about god either, but when there is a bumper crop – it’s all about god. Something has changed over the past few thousand years – humanity has learned to explain so many things, and has obviated the need for god in so many situations, but people seem to feel the need to attribute some things (seems to be generally the good things only) to something ‘other.’ You see this all the time with athletes and musicians – when they win, it is all about Jesus/God – you don’t hear the losers wailing to god ‘what did I do to be punished and lose.’

So, this is short, and there is a lot more to this story, but it’s something to think about – what do you think? Comments are open.

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~ by BK on 19 March, 2007.

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