Comments about ‘Wright Words: Oklahoma tornado provides opportunity to do God's work’

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Published: Tuesday, May 21 2013 9:00 a.m. MDT

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JamesInSeattle
Seattle, WA

This article is based on the Free Will argument, which says that God only allows evil in the world (like tornadoes killing children) because God has to allow evil in order to allow us to have free will.

It's a nice-sounding idea, but let's face it, the free will argument is nothing more than a thought-experiment made by a mathematician sitting in an armchair (Leibniz). The free will argument lives in the company of all the other ideas that sound good but which have no supporting evidence. For an idea to "sound good" is not enough. After all, ideas like the inferiority of women, the inferiority of blacks, women determining the sex of a child, etc. all "sounded" great in their day, because these ideas flattered their adherents.

Ideas need evidence in order to be taken seriously. The more emotionally appealing an idea is, the more evidence is required.

The free will argument is an idea with no supporting evidence, based entirely on supposition about the nature of God (and how can we make suppositions about something that is supposed to be unknowable anyway?) and which is emotionally appealing (it says God is all-powerful).

lswinson
Fishersville, VA

This article is about healing and helping. I don't believe the intention of this article was to open a theological discussion. Of course, you are entitled to your opinion and have the right to express it.

Great article, Jason. I agree; tragedies do seem to soften and open our hearts more, but we should always be that way. Frankly, there are tragedies of this scale going on everyday somewhere in the world. We need to care for our fellow man in this broken-hearted way every single day.

Like you said, the tears we shed, the caring that we feel, is also God's work. And sometimes that's all we can offer. And it's enough.

NiceEnoughButStubborn
Syracuse, NY

Thanks to Google News i can read what's printed in the Deseret News all the way over here in Syracuse, NY, and like it or not you can read my assertion that this editorial is nothing but namby-pamby, feel-better, life-goes-on-so-long-as-we-believe in God nonsense. Not once - not once - does the word "Climate" occur in this piece. For your information, a recent poll of scientists who study climate change found that 97 percent - 97 percent - believe that climate change is real and that humans are responsible for it. Let's leave God out of just for a moment, shall we, and see what we, as human beings, can take responsibility for? Climate change is real, people, and we're responsible. Free will? How about we free our will from the corporate interests that would have us believe that there's nothing humans can do about climate change, and take some responsibility for our actions, instead of cajoling our spirits with nicey-nice words and meaningless acts of kindness after the harm is done.

jeanie
orem, UT

Acts of kindness are never meaningless. Loving those around us better is never wasted energy. This earth experienced tornados long before carbon footprints were an issue. People who believe in God feel grateful to be able to help in what they believe to be his work.

I don't understand the need to blame the victims for their suffering or poke a finger in a comforting, ennobling belief that cannot be disproven.

NiceEnoughButStubborn
Syracuse, NY

Having read my comment again I think my point would have been better made if I had simply said that, in my opinion, not mentioning climate change in this editorial was a major omission. Of course the hurt and the wounded need to be cared for - people died, including children - i think people of all religions, or no religion at all, can all have compassion for their suffering. My main point is this editorial reinforces climate change denial by never mentioning it at all in reference to this tragedy. Sure, there have been hurricanes in hurricane alley throughout history, but an objective look at the facts confirms that their number and severity is increasing. Acknowledging the true cause (not ascribing it to God) will do more to prevent future suffering than all our hand-wringing and acts of kindness following every new tragedy.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Do what you can when you can. That's all you can do. Expectations, It's all you can expect. I wouldn't expect strangers to rummage through my destroyed house. But somebody will. I pray that They can find peace and hope for the future. I feel for them and their loss.

Ironweed
Chattanooga, TN

It striks me that the tornado is God's work. It's man's job to deal with it.

Rio
SANTA CRUZ, CA

I see. So your god, creator of everything—including the tornado that killed or injured hundreds of men, women and children and left their lives of in ruins—then sends forth his "angels" to help clean up the mess that same god created. Your god certainly does move in mysterious ways.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

"It striks (sic) me that the tornado is God's work. It's man's job to deal with it."

So... God created a monster tornado that killed dozens of people, including many children? Why would I _ever_ feel compelled to worship such a heartless sadist?

Can't we just acknowledge the simple reality that tornadoes are naturally occurring forces of nature and that when disaster strikes we affirm our commitment to our mutual well-being by volunteering time and money to help those in need?

Make a donation to the Red Cross. Leave religious blather out of this.

JymDotBiz
Annandale, VA

oklahoma ripped /
torn up by a tornado /
my heart breaks for it

A Scientist
Provo, UT

jeanie from orem, UT wrote:

"I don't understand the need to...poke a finger in a comforting, ennobling belief that cannot be disproven."

Yes! Please stop criticizing Santa Clause, and the Easter Bunny! And quit bashing on Big Foot and UFOs, and pixies and fairies and leprechauns!

We are entitled to our warm and fuzzy delusions!

fizsm
Madison, WI

This is the problem of evil in a nutshell. Ascribing a killer tornado to God is hardly a way to ask for good deeds in the name of that God. What kind of God that would kill and maim children in the name of ANYTHING, including free will, be impressed that you helped the victims? Would any human being who is less than a monster create a situation like this in order to prove the decency of humanity? You might as well ascribe godlike qualities to the terrorists and psychopaths of this world: They act, so that we may prove how good we are. Problem of evil is insurmountable, and pathetic attempts like this article simply underline that.

Help the victims because you have human empathy which, according to this article, your God lacks. Forget God.

Cycledoc
Everson, WA

The work that needs to be done is to assure there are safe places in homes and public buildings and schools in places at risk for tornados. Sadly the deaths were preventable.

The same was true in the recent explosion in Texas where half the town was destroyed and 14 people lost their lives. It could have been prevented or mitigated with commonsense zoning and safety requirements.

Deregulation/no regulation has it's costs. Where is the outrage?

Chef Vira
Elk Grove, CA

JamesInSeattle, I think your views are onpoint. It is a well written article and as the woman mentioned, it is about healing and not theology. My reflex reaction was much like yours, however, after familiarizing myself with the publication I can see that the writer is speaking to his audience - fellow Mormons and like believers.
Just as conservative and liberal writers speak to their audiences, he is merely sharing his views, whether or not we "believe". I think that if he is writing to reach a broader audience, he should perhaps elininate the overstated religious references; if this is merely for a local audience, and it helps them through the healing process, then he's done his job.
I wish for nothing but the best for this community. (Fizsm in WI - excellent argument!)

Leftcoastrocky
Los Angeles, CA

"God's work" is to build tornado shelters in all of the schools (especially elementary schools) in Tornado Alley.

Freonpsandoz
Los Angeles, CA

If this article isn't about theology, why does the author invoke God at all? Isn't grieving, caring, and helping others normal human behavior in times of difficulty? Invoking God just encourages some people to believe that only religious people are capable of altruistic behavior.

fredsgirl1
usa, MA

The question that Christians can't or won't answer is "If God cares about humans then why does he have tornadoes and hurricanes at all. When they do happen, then the answer is "I'ts own fault. The real answer is that god does not exist and therefore has no influence over nature. The opportunity is for several really good people to do good things, and mostly do them with out trumpeting their actions. Also, there is the opportunity for some narcissistic Christians to do things that look like good thing, but that are really done for the publicity and to make the doer feel good about themselves.

Tekakaromatagi
Dammam, Saudi Arabia

@Blue: "So... God created a monster tornado that killed dozens of people, including many children? Why would I _ever_ feel compelled to worship such a heartless sadist?"

Your nature/atheist/universe god has put into your mind the idea that life should be comfortable and long and healthy and without suffering. But then your nature/atheist/universe god permits this monster tornado to kill dozens of people. Why? How does this establish the good that your god has told you should prevail?

Fred Vader
Oklahoma City, OK

Instead of coming on this article and complaining about the author's choice to insert God and religion into "his" topic, why don't all of you "Compassionate Humanist Atheists" do what the rest of us "Godly" folk are doing: roll up your sleeves and help the good folks of Moore and Shawnee.

If you would prefer to just sit around and complain and make fun of the beliefs of the victims of this terrible tragedy, then get out the way, we God-fearin' Oklahomans have some real work to do!

brokenclay
Chandler, AZ

Every new disaster that afflicts mankind has to become fodder for atheist propaganda against theism-- along with the presumptive nonsense that only unbelievers can act altruistically because all believers are motivated only by greed for rewards and getting a good feeling. It's brazenly arrogant.

And that's the key difference between a Christian and an unbeliever-- a willingness to wait and trust. Trust that God has good reasons for what he permits, trust that he will in the end make things perfectly right, and patience to wait until it happens.

The atheist benevolently offers an idealized 70 year life purged of tornadoes, instead of a cruel 7 year life with tornadoes. But get this: in an atheist world those children that died don't care what happened either way right now; they don't exist. And one day no human will care. It ultimately makes no difference.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)

"Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good." (1 Peter 4:19)

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