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Finding meaning, direction

March 15, 2011

At this point it is enough to point at Huffington Post’s renewed relationship with Andrew Breitbart, and laugh. Breitbart, of the fake, made-up controversies that cost Shirley Sherrod her job, and cost the ACORN organization its existence.

(Breitbart in March 2010, shortly before the California AG showed him to be a liar)

Breitbart, who built up James O’Keefe, a fellow crafter of fake news and controversy, recently victimized NPR; and NPR was so craven about it that I haven’t renewed my membership. They threw their people under the bus before the O’Keefe lies about them could even get out.

Well, enough of that. I will continue to use HuffPo as an object of derision, it’s dismissed as any kind of valuable news source or gathering place of anything of value to liberals. But I have picked out another member of the priestly class to pick on today.

The priest, Elizabeth Evans, begins with a heartwarming story of a man who broke both of his legs. If that doesn’t sound particularly heartwarming, just wait!

“Breaking both of your legs was a bit of a blessing, wasn’t it?” I asked him. If Frank hadn’t fractured both femurs in a freak fall in a local tree-farm field, they might not have found the cancer until it had spread from one bone to many.

Doctors apparently found cancer as a result of treating the man’s injuries, and promised a cure. Naturally, the priest glosses over two broken legs and walks out happily, secure in the knowledge that her god chose this kindly way to reveal the disease. Well, at least for awhile. She admits to being nagged by certain doubts. Enter the tsunami in Japan.

How can one American be particularly touched by God’s grace — and an equally devout (or secular) Japanese family be taken up by a huge wave and tossed like rubbish in the wreck of their home?

Personally, it seems to defy logic, common-sense, and my understanding of who God is — the God who met me, and meets me, in the person of Christ.

She’s already missed the point of why it was necessary for her parishioner to break both his freaking legs for a cancer diagnosis to be made. Was that the best coincidence her god could rig up? But I guess the horror in Japan is just too much to miss for her.

Meanwhile, there were the usual oblivious folks on Facebook making Pearl Harbor payback references. Yep, there’s that pesky karma again, though I would guess most of them are xians. We really are driven by the need for vengeance. I try to divert my own drive towards seeking justice, but I’m not perfect.

Anyway, the doubt-nagged priest can’t help but take a swing at the imagined smug expression on the skeptic.

Already I can envision responses from non-believing readers, amazed at my naievete at engaging the question at all.

Kudos to them for having the courage to live in a world without direction, enlightened solely by human aims.

She writes it seemingly in a manner designed to insult (‘a world without direction’), although technically I find it to be true. It is odd that accepting reality is considered courageous, even mockingly so. I find no inherent meaning/direction in the world. I do use ‘human aims’ to form my system of ethics. The problem there, of course, is that she does the same thing — although she is quick to deny that.

But for those of us who choose to believe in the higher purposes of a God who incarnates love because we have experienced that power in our lives, the theodicy dilemma (why bad things happen to good people) can pose an uncomfortable challenge to those who want to affirm that God acts in the lives of individuals.

She chooses to believe — the ‘human aims’ that wrote the bible guide her. She jumps quickly to her argument from personal experience, but I am well aware of its flaws. My personal experience suggests there is no such extant god-concept. And her experience doesn’t trump mine; they are both suspect.

I do have to give the priest credit for recognizing this much, though.

I can’t say that I am reconciled to the mystery — it is part of my ongoing, and often vigorous, argument with God. It was part of Job’s, too.

God didn’t have an answer for Job. And God hasn’t let me in on the answer, either — surprise, surprise.

She does seem to understand that the might-makes-right argument in the book of Job is no satisfactory answer to the problem of evil. She chalks it up to a ‘mystery’ that ‘haunts’ her. Part of an ongoing, vigorous argument with her imaginary friend. Interesting, isn’t it, how this mystery is so easily excused? How the god-concept designed to answer questions and provide the warm security blanket of meaning and direction is shown to have a ‘mystery’ at its heart?

And yet, the ‘mysteries’ that drive scientists — like research into abiogenesis, or the instantiation of the universe — these mysteries are held up as inexcusable. The skeptic, it seems, is required to have all questions answered, no mysteries left to investigate or try to solve.

Double standard much, priest?

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