For God so loves the world he let an earthquake and its many aftershocks kill up to 10,000 people in Nepal.
For God so loves the world he stood by while up 100,000 more people lost everything, including their homes, because of the same earthquake.
For God so loves the world he drowned 900 refugees fleeing the terrors of war in their own countries.
For God so loves the world he allowed 250 individuals to be killed by a rogue pilot who flew the plane they were on into the side of a mountain.
But wait! One particular Christian preacher knows why this kind of thing happens. He can explain how these catastrophes, particularly the devastation caused by the earthquake, are compatible with a God of love. Here’s what it’s really all about:
That’s right. God only allowed these terrible things to happen so that more people – excluding the ones he murdered, obviously – would have the chance to turn to Christ. Isn’t that marvellous? And Tony Miano, who is the same lunatic street preacher arrested in London in 2013 for sharing God’s ‘love’ for LGBT people, is not alone. German pastor Wolfgang Wegert said much the same thing of those who died on Germanwings Flight 9525: ‘A plane crash is a reminder of our own mortality. By that, God wants to make people repent, so that we (can) be saved by Jesus.’
And, do you know, they’re right. No, really, they are. There is no other response available to the Christian who wants to explain events that involve the terrible loss of life. That’s because the Christian God, the one who purports to love us so much, as well as all the other versions, is conspicuous by his absence. He’s always absent, always powerless to prevent such disasters, too remote to want to. Which might just suggest he doesn’t exist (which of course he doesn’t) leaving those who feel the need to cling to belief in him to explain his actions or, rather, the lack of them. So they supply him with an ulterior motive. And why not? A fabricated being needs a fabricated excuse. But this being the real world, the options are limited. So what we get is this; God is only trying to draw people to him. How truly loving. The equivalent of a human father murdering several of his children so that those he spares might love him more. A monstrous and preposterous idea for a monstrous and preposterous God.
And so it falls to human beings of all persuasions to show compassion and to help the survivors of earthquakes, the relatives of plane crashes, the misplaced and grieving refugees. We might be flawed, fallible and – according to the self-righteous – ‘sinful’, but we can at our best, demonstrate the love so lacking in their absent deities. And unlike the many meaningless gods, from Yahweh and Jesus to Allah and Vishnu, we can be present too, because we are real.
You can donate to the Nepal earthquake appeal here.