Saturday, September 10, 2005


what's God got to do with it? (part 2)

apparently the nytimes and i are on the same wavelength... i swear i wrote mine first...
How could God have allowed this to happen? ... Writing in The New York Times on Thursday about theodicy - the effort to reconcile the existence of an all-powerful benevolent God with the occurrence of horrific evils - Edward Rothstein described the tendency born in the 18th century to dismiss God as an actor in catastrophes and focus instead on human responsibilities.

As Adam B. Kushner, who hails from New Orleans, writes in the latest issue of The New Republic, his hometown "met its demise by an act of man, not an act of God." The man-made dimensions of this catastrophe have wholly overshadowed the natural ones. How can God be implicated when elaborately contrived human systems prove fragile?

In theological terms, of course, this only pushes the issue back one notch. For believers, humanity, with all its faults and contrivances, is no less God's creation than hurricanes and ocean surges and the law that water seeks its own level.

So one might logically step back from asking how God could allow the brimming Lake Pontchartrain to break the levees to asking how God could allow self-interested or shortsighted politicians to put off reinforcing the levees or allow enterprising engineers and developers to decrease the capacity of the environment to buffer storms.

How could God allow the negligence, racism, indifference or hard-heartedness that long gnawed at the social fabric of New Orleans - or the blindness or incompetence of officials who should have understood the brewing human storm, as well the meteorological one?
Peter Steinfels, NY Times, (excerpted)
interesting questions indeed. any takers for some answers?

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