I saw this sign yesterday while travelling through South Somerville, Maine. If this were a valid ding against the scientific theory of evolution — which doesn’t claim that evolutionary pressures create absolutely optimal biological design — then wouldn’t it also be a criticism of the religious theory of God — which does claim that its alleged divine being is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent?
Number of prominent Christian pastors who say that weather is the instrument through which God delivers His Divine Judgment regarding homosexuality: at least 6
Number of days since Rhode Island legalized same-sex marriage: 4
Number of warm, sunny days since Rhode Island legalized same sex marriage: 4
Five years ago, in 2008, Catholic priest and media personality Father John Corapi predicted divine punishment for abortion and godlessness, railing in dire tones:
"If we do not soon stop the genocide of abortion in the United States, we shall run the course of all those that prove by their actions that they are enemies of God—total collapse, economic, social, and national."
Eight years ago, in 2005, Rabbi Rafael Cohen issued his religious condemnation of pop figure Madonna for singing a song that, according to him, used the name “Yitzhak Luria.” Madonna pointed that the name “Yitzhak Luria” actually doesn’t appear in the song, but like other observable facts, it didn’t stop the Rabbi, who like Father Corapi predicted divine punishment:
"Jewish law forbids the use of the name of the holy rabbi for profit. Her act is just simply unacceptable and I can only sympathize for her because of the punishment that she is going to receive from the heavens."
How’s that working out in 2013?
- Abortion is still legal in the United States
- The ranks of the godless in America have grown to one in five
- Madonna’s song still doesn’t contain the name “Yitzhak Luria”
- Madonna continues to make music and make money
- The United States has not entered “total collapse,” either economically or socially
- Rabbi Rafael Cohen has retreated into obscurity
- Father John Corapi has been defrocked after being caught using drugs, racking up wealth and cohabiting with a prostitute.
In a New York Times article this week, Susan Jacoby counters the frequent claim that “there are no atheists in foxholes,” that in the face of suffering and loss religion is a comfort while atheism offers no comfort. Jacoby’s response echoes that of Fyodor Dostoevsky from The Brothers Karamazov in a deeply personal way: as a girl, she witnessed her young and innocent friend suffer and die from polio. When she asked the grownups in her life why a God would allow innocents like her friend to suffer horribly, none could answer, and all showed anguish over the question.
As an atheist in her own adulthood, Jacoby notes, she endures no such existential anguish in trying to explain the the suffering of innocents. While her religious peers contort themselves with rationalizations and vague references to the “mystery of faith,” Jacoby takes the more straightforward and consistent position that sometimes Life Sucks and that there need not be a good and divine reason for innocents to suffer. Jacoby focuses on the human reasons for suffering and takes comfort in the possibility of people changing their behavior and the world around them for the better.
In the last week of 2012, gay couples started getting married in Maine.
In the first week of 2013, there was an earthquake in Alaska.
Or is God dyslexic? Yeah, that must be it. He just can’t tell the difference between “East Coast” and “West Coast” on a map.
Genesis 2:19-20 tells the story of Adam’s task:
"Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals."
If you’re a believer in the literal truth of the Bible, you should be interested to know about the recent work of Camilo Mora and colleagues. The 2011 journal “How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?” (Mora C, Tittensor DP, Adl S, Simpson AGB, Worm B. PLoS Biol 9(8): e1001127. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127) uses taxonomic estimation to determine that there are 7.77 million species of animals on planet Earth:
If the Lord God brought all the wild animals to Adam to be named, all 7.7 million of them, then Adam must have been at it for quite a while. If Adam got up each and every day at 6 AM, and named a new animal every 2 seconds (try saying “Thompson’s Gazelle” in less than two seconds), not stopping until 6 PM every night, then Adam would have been at it for an entire year.
The need for speed would explain “Bonobo.”
The morning after the 2012 elections saw a starkly changed American landscape, changed in a very literal sense as large sections of the North American landmass collapsed into the ocean.
As the dawn rose over the United States of America, it quickly became apparent that the entire states of Maine (where voters approved same-sex marriage by a margin of 53%-47%), Maryland (where voters approved same-sex marriage by 52%-48% margin) and Washington State (where voters approved same-sex marriage by a 52%-48% margin) had disappeared under the waves. NSAT-5 and NSAT-7 satellite imagery quickly pieced together by the Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration of Very, Very Straight but Clergy revealed a new composite image of the American coastline:
Reaction was swift from conservative quarters. “By their actions, the voters of three states invited God’s judgment on our nation,” opined theogeologist and chicken-frying magnate Dan Cathy. Fellow theogeologist Rabbi Yehuda Levin agreed with Cathy’s assessment:
The way this works is very simple: God warns us. God warns in the Bible as early as Noah that this kind of misbehavior can lead to floods. It can lead to disasters. It can lead to buildings falling and earthquakes.
So that is our tradition. It is written in our Talmud, two thousand years ago, that because of the sin of homosexuality and the, organized homosexuality, societal homosexuality is, cause, brings about earthquakes.
Innocent people then get destroyed with the guilty people, just like when a bus driver drives a bus and goes over a ravine, innocent people are killed. We don’t hold this against God. These are the regulations.
“Yes, millions of people are dead, but some ladies were planning to kiss one another. God had no choice,” added Rabbi Levin’s longtime personal assistant and groomsman, who refused to be named for this article. “God’s justice demands that we sort out our genitals hygenically.”
Update, 7:50 AM EST: Officials at the Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration of Very, Very Straight Clergy have released a statement clarifying that the states of Maine, Maryland and Washington have actually not collapsed into the ocean after all. “One of our technicians misinterpreted the image on our lab computers. The map is just our screen saver,” explained the Very, Very Straight Reverend Frederick Updike. “We regret the error.” “Check back in tomorrow, though,” added VVSR Updike’s longtime personal groomsman.
Why exactly are you so worked up about same-sex marriage?
The people opposed to same-sex marriage here in Maine have run out of answers to that question.
First, they said same-sex marriage would destroy other marriages. But other states legalized same-sex marriage and the divorce rate hasn’t shot up in those states.
Then, they said that same-sex marriage would hurt children. But there’s been no evidence of increased harm to children in the states where same-sex marriage is legal. Indeed, its in the states where children appear to be most valued that same-sex marriage has been legalized.
What’s left? The truth. Finally, the campaigners against same-sex marriage are being honest about their motivations. I spotted this campaign sign along Maine’s Route 17 yesterday:
Do what my God says, or else.
That’s all the campaigners against same-sex marriage have left. It’s no wonder that a number of states are poised next Tuesday to jump away from this magical spear-sharpening approach and finally make equality legal.