On Thursday January 5th, the news was filled with the comments made by evangelist Pat Robertson on his TV show the 700 Club. On the program Pat says that the stroke suffered by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was “divine retribution for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.” He went on:
“He was dividing God’s land, and I would say, ‘Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the [European Union], the United Nations or the United States of America,'” Robertson told viewers of his long-running television show, “The 700 Club.”
“God says, ‘This land belongs to me, and you’d better leave it alone,'” he said.
This isn’t the first time that Robertson has shot his mouth off. And like the other times, others were quick to criticize his remarks.
Daniel Ayalon, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, compared Robertson’s remarks to the overheated rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (He had claimed the Holocaust was a myth back in December)
He called the comments “outrageous” and said they were not something to expect “from any of our friends.”
“He is a great friend of Israel and a great friend of Prime Minister Sharon himself, so I am very surprised,” Ayalon told CNN.
Robertson spokeswoman Angell Watts said of people who criticized the comments: “What they’re basically saying is, ‘How dare Pat Robertson quote the Bible?'”
“This is what the word of God says,” Watts told the AP. “This is nothing new to the Christian community.”
West Virginia Mine Tragedy
The day before Robertson made his remarks – sorry – quoting the Bible, 12 miners were found dead after an explosion on Monday the 3rd.
During the period of the search, friends, family, and the media appealed to God to help save the men and help the rescuers to find them.
“We still pray for miracles . . ,” Governor Joe Manchin said (01/03/06). “There is still a chance.”
Then when initial reports claimed that the12 miners had been found alive late on Tuesday night, church bells rang and people thanked God for a “miracle.” Then hours later it was learned that in fact all but one of the miners had been found dead.
John Casto was at a church where families had gathered when the false report arrived, and later when the terrible news was announced. After the first report, “they were praising God,” he said. After the second, “they were cursing.”
At least one family was quoted as saying they had a “miracle” taken away by the mine owners. Whatever that means?
Also happening recently in the news is the problem with wildfires in Oklahoma and nearby plains state. The weather continues to help fuel and spread the fires and fire fighters are struggling. What needs to be done to help?
A Day of Prayer.
Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry on Friday called for a day of prayer in Oklahoma.
“Our hearts go out to those whose lives have been affected by the wildfires,” Gov. Henry said. “Oklahomans are strong and resilient, but as people of deep faith in God who have always found solace and comfort in prayer, we understand our limits.”
The governor asked for Sunday to be set aside for special prayers aimed at fire victims and their loved ones, for exhausted firefighters and first responders and for rain.
One could read these observations about God and prayer and think, “Gee, God seems so inconsistent.”
“Gee, God is a nasty deity.”
“Man just can’t know God’s will. It all happens for a reason.”
Well I reject all those explanations because none of them are logical or rational. Are we really to believe that the all knowing all powerful God either shows preference for specific members of the flocks in which case He is a nut job or this omnipresent deity can’t answer all the billions of prayers received at Prayer central.
If some people who pray still have a negative result for them then what does that say about one’s God?
I think most people “pray” or attribute results to God to make themselves feel better. Some may not be able to deal or think they can’t deal with negative results unless they think they had nothing to do with it or had no control.
Since I am not a believer, I subscribe to a simple philosophy – shit happens.
You can live your life perfectly – eat right, don’t drink or smoke, have a great job, and a perfect family and one day step off a curb downtown and get hit by a bus.
I’m not saying that since you could die tomorrow you should party like its your last day, but because something could happen anytime, praying isn’t going to help either way. No one can say that those 12 miners in West Virginia deserved to die or the one survivor deserves to live because of their religious beliefs or they went to church all the time. Or that we should “pray” for rain in Oklahoma. That would be crazy talk.
Like Pat Robertson’s claim God gave Sharon a stroke because he wanted peace in Israel. (Now some could make a case that peace is the last thing Sharon has wanted since the day he announced his intention to run for office, but that is a different story)
The ironic thing is that while many would indeed say, and have said, Robertson is crazy, no one seems to question the God talk when it is done at times of trouble even though it is not rational either.