WORST natural disaster you could have ever imagined in your lifetime has just struck. Your town is completely devastated. Your house is in a million pieces, strewn over a two square mile radius. Your fourth husband, Earl, your six kids from three previous marriages, (Merle, Burl, Pearl, Shirl, Curly W. and Stanislaus) along with your eight dogs, eleven cats and Earl Jr., your prized, blue ribbon winning pot bellied pig, have all been senselessly slaughtered. Your personal possessions now wholly consist of the mauve, Wal-Mart brand, designer jogging suit on your back, (the one that of course was made by a 7 year old in a Filipino Sweat Shop), and your lucky bowling ball, (the very one you rolled your personal best score of 136 with), that night at the Rotary Club's annual Salute to Spam Dinner. You could never forget that night, for it was at that celebratory dinner, you met your third husband, Jorel. A reporter sidles up to you out of nowhere as you aimlessly stroll around the spot of barren ground, your grand foyer once was just inside the entranceway of your posh, 1200 square foot estate. He or she asks for your take on the monumental destruction that destroyed everything. Without you even making eye contact or capable of a rational thought at that critical moment, you dispense the exact same statement that seemingly everybody else does in these situations and you say, "I thank God it wasn't worse." What the #&*%@?????????????
We've all seen something exactly like the scenario above. The specific catastrophic disaster may change, but the response is always the same. "I thank God it wasn't worse." I'm trying my best to understand exactly what that means. You just lost your family, along with every possession and keepsake you ever owned. So the best you you can come up with is "I thank God it wasn't worse?" I can admire your determination to carry on, your inspiring resilience to keep your chin up, your mature and gracious acceptance of what just took place, but the first thing out of your mouth is "I thank God it wasn't worse?" Is your barometer to measure what could have been worse, the fact YOU survived? Or perhaps has religion so thoroughly brainwashed and numbed our society, we're willing to offer our heartfelt appreciation for seeing utter destruction and our world in complete shambles without even blinking an eye?
Natural disasters are commonly referred to as Acts of God. So does that mean when a hurricane makes landfall on Point A instead of Point B, that God is sticking it to the Point A folks with impunity? Did Point A people owe the Holy Father money? Is God's retribution defined as a hurricane, tornado, flood, drought, deep freeze, or locusts? Does God collectively break a communities' knees for failing to settle their debt in a timely manner with one of his so called ACTS? Why don't we spend more time and money educating and enlightening people to reference science a little more and religious fairy tales a little less. You can have all the faith you want, but you should counterbalance that faith with irrefutable scientific knowledge as well. This hopefully allows human beings the ability to seek better ways to lessen the magnitudes of these disasters in the future.
Does anybody truly believe God decided to exercise his power to smite New Orleans two years ago, by propelling Hurricane Katrina right into its most vulnerable location? The impact of that storm affected so many hard working people, who worked multiple jobs most of their lives, got married and raised their families, and probably went to church every Sunday. They saw their lives virtually destroyed on August 29, 2005. I'm sure many of those survivors thanked God things weren't worse. Perhaps instead, they should have asked why the very government they elected and paid taxes to allowed the levees to be so poorly constructed, so that they would be breeched so easily. They should also ask why the government ignored them for so long after the storm departed. They have every right to ask why their compassionate government hasn't provided the same monies and effort to helping them rebuild their neighborhoods, as they have provided other monies and effort into systematically dismantling Iraqi neighborhoods and creating an atmosphere where so very many Iraqis are blown up on a daily basis.
If you wish to have, or feel you need to have, God in your life, by all means go ahead. Just pause occasionally, particularly during great times of strife, and ask how you could be better prepared for life's inevitable kicks in the ass next time. Learn what questions to ask beforehand and then hold elected officials accountable afterward for man made problems that exacerbate natural atmospheric phenomenon. Nobody need ever feel threatened by knowledge, only by the lack of it. The more you learn, the better prepared you will be to offer realistic thanks, once the aftermath of said event occurs. Should a catastrophe ever strike you again, you'll be so much better prepared when the reporter sidles up to you and asks you how you feel. You should now feel that sense of genuine thanks, and be able to look that reporter in his or her eye and explain exactly what happened and what specific steps you followed that enabled you, Earl, the kids, the dogs, the cats and Earl Jr., the blue ribbon winning pot bellied pig, to all SURVIVE. Who knows, this time you may even be wearing a pair of stylish slacks and a beautiful blouse made in the U.S.A. as well.....