Jerry Newcombe Tries To Explain Why We Have Hurricanes (and fails)
In my perusing of Christian websites that I check out daily an article jumped out at me today. It is an opinion piece from The Christian Post titled: Why Does God Allow Hurricanes? by Jerry Newcombe. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Newcombe, he is the person who said that only the Christian victims of the Colorado/Batman shooting would go to heaven, he has authored “history” books of what can only be considered works of fiction in the same vein as David Barton, titled “How the Bible formed Our Nation” and “Answers From the Founding Fathers”, and is a leader of the loathsome Truth In Action Ministries (located in the southern part of my State).
The title is so nonsensical and Newcombe so bile inspiring I felt the pull to read the article. It is a real doozy whose audience can only be those who lack critical thinking skills. Please note, I am not implying that all Christians lack critical thinking skills, just anyone who doesn’t either burst out laughing or crying at the idiocy of this post. Here are his reasons for why god allows hurricanes (all quotes are from The Christian Post. His reasons are in bold):
“Ultimately, we don’t know why God does these things. His ways are not our ways.” The skeptical reader will immediately recognize that his first reason is the age-old religious cop-out. It is complete nonsense. What Newcombe fails to understand is that Christians cannot just punt to “god works in mysterious ways” whenever they cannot answer a question. In fact, this response answers nothing. It is nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders. Yet, it is a foundation of the Christian faith.
Further, Newcombe fails to recognize that if what he is saying is true, then it raises a whole host of questions regarding all of the dogma/doctrine of Christianity. If we cannot “know god’s ways”, then how exactly is it that the various sects of Christianity can assert that they know exactly what god wishes in so many other areas? If they cannot answer this most fundamental and basic question—regarding evil (both of human and natural causes), then what gives them the audacity to imply they know his will in other areas? They cannot punt to the bible for an answer, as that only raises more questions regarding the validity of the bible as a source for anything other than fairy tales.
So many conversations end with the Christian falling back to this mantra. It is their safe place, their “catch-all” response. It fails. The only logical conclusions to be drawn when we come to this point in the discussion (of evil) is that either god is not omni-benevolent or omniscient or omnipotent—he can’t possibly be all three or that there is no god because the number of contradictions surrounding religion and the probability that he exists is so low. It is okay my Christian neighbors, you can say it…give it a try.
“We live in a fallen world.” This is pure nonsense. It relies on the concept of original sin. The problems with this doctrine are far too numerous to expand on in any great detail here. A short list would be: a) Original sin requires Adam and Eve to be real people. They are not. b) What kind of god would hold all of humanity accountable for one sin of two people thousands of years ago? The answer: an evil, sadistic, bastard of a god. I’ll pass on that, so too would most Christians which is why they ignore it. c) Didn’t Jesus die to wipe absolve us of original sin? Did he die for nothing? (Assuming he existed in the first place and that if he did, any of the stories about him are actually true). To expect people in the 21st century to accept that hurricanes exist because “Adam and Eve” sinned is completely laughable.
Newcombe goes on to say, “Despite the hurricane, or anything bad that may come our way, faith can provide comfort. Even in the midst of the storm, God can help”. This answers nothing and is nothing more than a plea for people to buy what he is selling.
The final point to bring up in Newcombe’s second response is statement, “Come what may, even a hurricane, faith in the Lord produces endurance, even in very difficult circumstances. As is often said, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Shame on him. That statement is so ignorant it is almost no longer even offensive. Is Newcombe not aware of the MAAF? Is he not aware of the numerous veterans and military personnel who are atheist bloggers and authors? Are his readers blind to this as well? In typical fashion for fundamentalist arguments, he is either ignorant of or ignoring facts that go against his statement. That is nothing more than intellectual dishonesty.
“Christ experienced suffering on the cross for the sake of our salvation”. This one is my favorite reasons he provides as it could be used as the argument against his second reason. If Jesus died for our salvation, then his idea of original sin goes out the window. Thanks for helping me out there Jerry.
Sarcasm aside, this reason has its own problems. He assumes a great deal. What evidence is there that the death of Jesus paved the way for our salvation? None. What evidence is there that Jesus died in the way the bible says he did? None. What evidence is there that Jesus lived at all? Very little. What gives Jesus the right to absolve the evil done by human beings today? None.
“Jesus experienced the hurricane of God’s wrath when He died for sinners. So in Jesus, the God of the universe experienced things even worse than a hurricane, so that He might secure our salvation.”
How does Newcombe know what Jesus experienced on the cross? He doesn’t. This is purely made up nonsense. In short, Newcombe’s third “reason” for why hurricanes exist answers nothing and assumes much.
“Believers can bring glory to God’s Name through the storm.” The first thought I had when reading that statement is WTF? The Christian God needs to create tragedies, often on an almost unbelievable scale, so that people can “bring glory to his name”? What kind of psycho/sociopath are we dealing with here? That is the equivalent of me setting fire to a school so that I can run in save the kids and be labeled a “hero”. That is pure insanity. No one and I mean no one today would applaud my actions if I did that. Why applaud god’s actions when he does it? This is pure and utter nonsense. Anyone who believes this line of reasoning is clearly not thinking critically.
In his final argument Newcombe brings out British politician and atheist Roy Hattersley. I cannot for the life of me figure out why he did this other than to get in a jab at atheists. Some of you may recall that Hattersley stated after Hurricane Katrina the following remarks (quoted from Newcombe):
“Notable by their absence are teams from rationalist societies, free thinkers’ clubs and atheists’ associations-the sort of people who not only scoff at religion’s intellectual absurdity but also regard it as a positive force for evil.”
He added, “… faith comes with a packet of moral imperatives that, while they do not condition the attitude of all believers, influence enough of them to make them morally superior to atheists like me.”
This too is pure nonsense and does nothing to answer his question regarding why god allows hurricanes. It is an argument only meant to marginalize and demean atheists. Hattersley’s views are his own. He does not speak for any atheist other than himself. Most atheists that I know were horrified by his remarks. He certainly does not speak for me. Further as far as his second paragraph goes, I would argue the opposite, though that is a topic for a different post.
His (Hattersley’s) first statement is equally problematic and false. A 10 second Google search on this topic yielded this: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104×4766735
Atheist giving and donations are hard to measure. We do not have the structural organization of religious groups. It is easy to point out the contributions of various churches. To complicate matters further, there are far more religious people than atheists in this country, so naturally the final tally will be higher. We see, in Hattersley’s comment the same problem we saw in that survey released a few weeks ago regarding the amount of charitable donations by state listed by the most and least religious states. That survey indicated that the less religious the state, the fewer charitable donations made. There was a fundamental flaw in the survey…it counted money given to churches as charity! As I pointed out earlier, there are far more religious people than atheists in this country. When we count religious donations the deck is stacked. When we take the same survey and remove religious donations what do we find? That the least religious states move to the top of the list! That is correct, religious people give to their churches and give significantly less in other locations. Churches are not charities.
In short, Hattersley’s statements are foolish and Newcombe, inserting them into an essay on why god allows hurricanes is asinine.
Why does god allow hurricanes? He doesn’t, he doesn’t exist. Hurricanes are a natural process of our environment. Oh and by the way, all of you religious climate change deniers…make sure to be ready for hurricanes to occur more frequently. One could ask “Why will there be more hurricanes in the future and why will these storms be stronger than usual?” The answer: because your belief that “god” causes them is preventing the rest of humanity from taking the necessary environmental steps to decrease their frequency and power.
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