Anger at God

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A cat on a grave in Pere Lachaise Cemetery

A cat on a grave in Pere Lachaise Cemetery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover of "A Grief Observed"

Cover of A Grief Observed

Sam was a wonderful cat–a yellow and white tabby whose fur matched that of Sienna, a sweet cat whom I really loved, who sat on my leg at night when I lay down on the couch and was by my side when I woke up in the morning. Sadly, she had multiple health problems and had terminal kidney failure for which she had to be put to sleep. From the start, Sam was every bit as sweet as Sienna. He’d virtually clamp to my side every morning and I’d reach over and rub the smooth white fur on his belly. Then he started having urinary problems. Two surgeries, which would have cured 98% of all cats with his condition (crystals blocking a narrow urethra, causing damage resulting in massive scar tissue growth) did not sure Sam. I was so upset when he was put to sleep (he was only five and a half years old)I could barely function. I was also furious–at God. It wasn’t that long before Sam died that I had lost my best friend to breast cancer–a woman who ate well, exercised, took care of herself, and died at 46. The two deaths so close together infuriated me, and the object of my anger was God.

God took our first cat, Liebchen, a real ornery character who still loved us; within a month He took Sienna. Then He took my best friend, then Sam. I was so furious I called God about every name from the depths of hell. I imagined that God became incarnate in a human body so He could “enjoy” Himself when animals and people, especially children, suffered. I mocked the design argument, pointing to the windpipe and esophagus having one entrance with only a flap making the difference between life and death. No human designer would be stupid and incompetent enough to make such a system. Evolution seemed cruel and arbitrary, and if there was a God, He seemed a cold, uncaring b…rd.

Some people were horrified when they heard my thoughts, saying I would go to hell–that helped me a great deal–to increase my anger. Some people understood, including some Christians, thank God. I remembered the book of Job, which some Christians conveniently forget–or they do not read it carefully. Job is faithful to God, yet is clearly angry at God. He believes God is behaving in an arbitrary way toward him–“if it is not He, who is it” who is causing his suffering. Even after that, God says that what Job said regarding Him was “right.” This does not suggest, as some suggest, that there is an evil part of God, but it does suggest that God understands human anger–it often does seem as if the universe is unjust, uncaring–and that Stephen Crane‘s conception of nature as not giving a d..m about humanity is correct. The only plausible answer to the mystery of evil is eschatological. That seems inadequate for many atheists, agnostics, and even theists. Dostoevsky understood that unless somehow the pain and suffering of this life were rectified in an afterlife one could, with some justice, blaspheme God.

I was falling apart to the point that my work was suffering when I saw Sam lying on the other side of the bed one night. I was neither asleep nor obviously dreaming. I reached over, touched the soft fur, and watched him slowly fade away. I have seen him two times since then. I think it was a true visitation, though skeptics will have their own answers. It helped me get on my feet and mitigated my anger at God. God and I still have a love-hate relationship (on my part–God is love so He cannot hate). But without God, nothing is redeemed, and all the suffering and pain of humans and animals from the dawn of evolution until the present is ultimately worthless. I’d rather be angry at times at the only Source of meaning rather than be indifferent.

Christians should not condemn someone’s anger at God, but should bear with the person since most of the time the anger is temporary. Give positive advice at an emotional level–do not condemn the person who is angry to hell. It’s not your call in any case. Suggest books such as C. S. Lewis‘s, A Grief Observed and Nicholas Wolterstorff‘s Lament for a Son. Too many Christians have driven doubters and those angry with God permanently from the faith by their legalism. If you are angry with God, realize that such anger may not be permanent–it is best that it not be permanent, for that would lead to the bitterness of total lack of faith and a sense of meaninglessness in life. If a Christian is legalistic about your anger, confront him–let the person know that he is responding in an inappropriate way. Be patient with yourself and with others–only then can one day, perhaps you can be patient with God when bad things happen.

New Agers’ Misuse of Quantum Entanglement

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Satellitenbild der Erde zusammengesetzt

Image via Wikipedia

Consider the following argument:

Premise 1: Quantum entanglement states that two entangled particles, once separated, can communicate with one another simultaneously, even if they are on opposite sides of the universe.

Premise 2: Since all particles were entangled at the Big Bang, everything in the universe is interconnected.

Conclusion: All people on earth are interconnected with each other and with all of nature.

That conclusion becomes a premise in another argument:

Premise: All people on earth are interconnected with each other and with all of nature.

Conclusion: Therefore nation states should disappear and there should be a world government that guarantees peace and cooperation among all people.

The sad thing is that a New Ager can examine the arguments and believe that the conclusion of a world government follows from the premisses. But higher level structures can have attributes that are not found in lower level structures. At the level of the most basic subatomic particles, there is very little individuality; they are interchangeable and may indeed interact with one another via quantum entanglement. But the more complex and organized the structure, the more individuated it becomes. This is not to deny interconnectedness in nature and among people–human beings evolved from simpler forms of life (I believe under the guidance of a Creator who constantly sustains everything in existence), and human beings share a common human nature, Sartre notwithstanding. However, human beings are far more individuated that other objects in nature, including other animals, because of their rational nature, their moral sense, and their freedom to make their own decisions. A bee has very little individuality–the most important thing is the hive. A dog or cat is more individuated; dogs and cats have unique personalities. But human beings are the most “selved,” to use the British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins‘ term, of any animal in our experience. This does not imply that human beings are isolated individuals pursuing their own individual happiness, as classical liberalism believes. Human beings naturally come together into communities–as Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a political [or social] animal.” But human communities are individuated by a common history and a commonality of place–by nature they are organic unities–another thing both classical liberalism and social democracy have forgot. It is difficult enough to govern the United States with its vast diversity of communities. I would not be surprised, once the American empire inevitably falls, to the country divide into autonomous regional states. To think that human diversity can be unified under a world government in some kind of utopia is naive. It ignores place, it ignores history, it ignores human weakness. The only way a world government could be established is by force, whether through economic pressure toward centralization or by military force. Even if a world government were established, it would not last, for it violates human nature. Human beings have a hierarchy of obligations–to the family, to friends, to strangers in the community, and to the world at large–in that order. Ultimately social responsibility and government should be as local as possible. Bureaucracy is bad enough in the United States where bureaucrats do not know the communities they regulate, sometimes with near dictatorial power. Imagine what a bureaucracy in a world government would be.

Quantum entanglement has nothing to do with world government–to argue such is to argue to a non sequitur. New Agers need to begin balancing their emotions with good reasoning. It is poor reasoning to argue from entanglement to world government (New Agers also argue from entanglement to pantheism, another non sequitur, but that would have to be the subject of another essay.