Tuesday, April 20, 2010

227: Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Oh My

Jeremiah 10-13
" 'I will scatter you like chaff driven by the desert wind.This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you,' declares the LORD, 'because you have forgotten me and trusted in false gods.' " - Jeremiah 13:24-25

Jeremiah is really getting tedious. In fact, I suspect I'm not going to have too much to say today. The entire section is pretty much God repeating how he's going to destroy Israel because they've been naughty.

God tells Jeremiah to gather up his belongings and leave Israel. Again he repeats that invaders will come from the north. Jeremiah prays that God will not come after him in anger, lest he be completely destroyed. Jeremiah says that he would rather have God come after him in justice. Wait a minute. Does that mean that God isn't thinking about justice when he's angry? I guess that would make sense, God tends to go a little overboard when he's angry.

Chapter 11 is all about God giving a message to Jeremiah. He tells Jeremiah to tell the Israelites (I wonder why he can't tell them himself) that they are breaking the covenant. If they continue to break the God's covenant, he is going to - you guessed it - destroy them.

Chapter 12 is titled "Jeremiah's Complaint". This should be interesting. Jeremiah starts out by telling God he's always righteous and wonderful (way to butter him up, Jeremiah). However, Jeremiah does have a few little questions about God's justice. Jeremiah wonders why evil prevails, he asks God why he has "planted" these evil people in the world that are completely successful.

God answers Jeremiah by telling him that he is going to destroy those evil people. Unfortunately, that doesn't answer the question at all. God doesn't address, first of all, why he put those evil people on the earth in the first place. If he knew they were eventually going to be evil, and that he was eventually going to destroy them, why put them here in the first place? God also doesn't say why he has allowed these evil people to become so successful. If you're going to allow them to exist, at least consistently show people that it's unprofitable to be evil by making the bad people unsuccessful.

The final chapter regresses into God being a weirdo. He's obviously exhausted all of his ways of describing how he's going to destroy Israel, so he tells Jeremiah to get a belt. Jeremiah gets a linen belt and wraps it around his waist. God then tells Jeremiah to go hide the belt in a crevice in the rocks. Jeremiah obeys leaves it in the rocks for a couple of days till God tells him to go back and get it. The linen belt is now all wet, dirty, and useless. God says that in the same way the belt was ruined, Israel will be ruined. Next time just say "Israel is going to be ruined". No need for weird theatrics.

The end is nigh. Or at least that's what fundies think.

The Eyjafjallajökull (spell that right twice) volcano, like any natural disaster, has spawned a new wave of fundies saying the world is going to end. This is, of course, evidenced by the "increasing" number of volcanoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes happening. That isn't actually true, but it sure sounds scary.

Volcanic Lightning

With pictures like this, I can almost forgive people for initially looking at the volcano as an act of God. Fortunately, we live in a day and age where we have enough scientific knowledge to overcome our initial emotional reaction and find the truth. Of course, Rush Limbaugh doesn't bother with the "truth" or "facts":
You know, a couple of days after the health care bill had been signed into law Obama ran around all over the country saying, 'Hey, you know, I'm looking around. The earth hadn't opened up. No Armageddon out there. The birds are still chirping. I think the earth has opened up. God may have replied ... This volcano in Iceland has grounded more airplanes — airspace is more affected — than even after 9/11 because of this plume, because of this ash cloud over Northern and Western Europe. ... It's got everybody just in a shutdown. Earth has opened up. I don't know whether it's a rebirth or Armageddon.
Really Rush? Obama is the cause of the volcano? It couldn't be a buildup of magma over millions of years. Silly scientists. Still others think the "increase" in natural disasters (remember, natural disasters aren't really increasing) is due to women dressing immodestly:
Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes. - Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, A senior cleric
This is not to mention Pat Robertson's constant rambling about various causes of natural disaster. The most recent being the Haitian people practicing voodoo. The inconsistency among religions and even within religions exposes the ridiculousness of their claims. Still others feel that natural disasters are not a punishment, but a message:
As you look at the Bible, God has used natural disasters as agents of judgment. Look at the Flood in the time of Noah ... Not all disasters are the result of divine retribution. But they are all the result of God's will. They all mean God wants us to take note of something. - Robbert Jeffers, First Baptist Church of Dallas
There's no better way for God to get in contact with us? He has to kill thousands of people to send us a message? And a very unclear message at that. You would think an all powerful God would have figured out a better way to get in contact with mankind (I'm available by text message, by the way, no need to kill anyone God).

I think the important message to take away from all of this is not to let your emotions get in the way of reason. Why do volcanoes happen? Magma and huge amounts of pressure. Why do hurricanes happen? Warm waters in the Atlantic. Why do earthquakes happen? Shifting tectonic plates. Don't let your religious leaders convince you otherwise.

(via ABC News) (Bonus: All you ever wanted to know about Hurricanes, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes)


  1. It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!


    Not one day in anyone’s life is an uneventful day, no day without profound meaning, no matter how dull and boring it might seem, no matter whether you are a seamstress or a queen, a shoeshine boy or a movie star, a renowned philosopher or a Down’s syndrome child.

    Because in every day of your life, there are opportunities to perform little kindnesses for others, both by conscious acts of will and unconscious example.

    Each smallest act of kindness – even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, a compliment that engenders a smile – reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away.

    Likewise, each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people whom you have never met and never will.

    All human lives are so profoundly and intricately entwined – those dead, those living, those generations yet to come – that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands.

    Therefore, after every failure, we are obliged to strive again for success, and when faced with the end of one thing, we must build something new and better in the ashes, just as from pain and grief, we must weave hope, for each of us is a thread critical to the strength – the very survival – of the human tapestry.

    Every hour in every life contains such often-unrecognized potential to affect the world that the great days for which we, in our dissatisfaction, so often yearn are already with us; all great days and thrilling possibilities are combined always in THIS MOMENTOUS DAY! – Rev. H.R. White

    Excerpt from Dean Koontz’s book, “From the Corner of His Eye”.

    It embodies the idea of how the smallest of acts can have such a profound effect on each of our lives.

  3. Our Amazing God may not actually (who's know for sure) shake the volcano into life, or blow the hurricane into being, but he sure as heck can use the effects of these disasters to His own salvation type ends...............

    Who knows or understands the mind of God? Only Jesus......

    And the ash from this eruption may do some very good things across the planet in time:

    He says Iceland's volcanic carbon emissions are good news for plant growth and the current eruptions give an indication of the potential for carbon emissions from future volcanos.

    "We are living in a period of volcanic quiescence, as we haven't had a dirty big eruption since 1912; and this is a small eruption but it is giving us the window into what a very big eruption would be like."




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