Monday, February 11, 2013

Did God order the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre?

If not, at least “former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, a religious conservative, suggested that because we are keeping God out of schools, the Deity chose not to stop the slaughter of these young innocents.”  Does that mean God wanted it to happen, since He did nothing to stop it?  Does it really mean that God took it upon Himself as the deity of the Christian faith to pave the way for Adam Lanza to slaughter 20 little children ages 6 and 7?  Does it mean that there is no hope in prayer and common sense to stop this in the future? 

Fundamentally, are we to believe that there is some connection between the violence in the world and a God that takes retribution for the misgivings of the human race?

Lawrence M. Krauss is director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, and he has a book, "A Universe from Nothing," that was published in January.  Krauss once debated Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the self-proclaimed spiritual guide to Michael Jackson.  Boteach doesn’t believe in evolution and on television was found, “…offering admonition to those who, with very good reason, may question a God who could willingly allow the slaughter of children.”  But in fact is this a good time to question your faith and deities? Krauss asks on CNN.

He wonders why it is that everyone expects, and the media promulgates, such a narrow version on grieving for the 20 children who God, in His infinite wisdom, decided to call home in a gun slaughter by a maniac.  I ask, is this just another step in the process of evolution in a country that worships guns more than human life and is escalating in this mode of violence much faster than any other developed nation?  It does not make any sense to Krauss that an intelligent God could just “rationally” act in such a way and still be worth praying to.  I agree.

And the author addresses one of my favorite issues.  Why do we need more than common humanity to bring ourselves together, whether it is helping another in a time of need or grieving, as in Sandy Hook and all the other needless gun murders that go on daily in America?  Contrary to some religious beliefs that the ability to love and forgive cannot be expressed fully without Christian faith, Krauss says, aside from being nonsense, “We can feel real connections, whether we are parents, or neighbors of families, or simply caring men and women.    

Wikipedia defines humanity as “a set of strengths focused on ‘tending and befriending others.’ The three strengths associated with humanity are love, kindness, and social intelligence. Humanity differs from justice in that there is a level of altruism towards individuals included in humanity more so than the fairness found in justice.”  Confucius defined humanity, or jen, as a “love of people” stating “if you want to make a stand, help others make a stand.”  And in no way am I trying to oversimplify the grief of the parents of Sandy Hook and other gun murders.

But it is clearly unfair to limit the grieving process to even Christians, Jews and Muslims.  There are those who do not believe in God, and many these days who are questioning their faith when another of their children, other relatives, friends, or just the man and woman on the street are gunned down by a maniac.  Is it not reasonable to expect this kind of reaction and not make it impossible for these folks to mourn in their own way?  Just as there is no absolutist answer to the 2nd Amendment, there is also no absolutist approach to believing in a God.

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