Magical Thinking Appears To Be Ineffective With Regard to Climate Driven Catastrophes | Or It Could Just Be Gay Marriage
Back in 2011, Rick Perry – by virtue of his power as evangelical governor of Texas – engineered an officially sanctioned prayer day in Houston for the express purpose of ending the drought plaguing Texas and most of the West*. Since then, the drought has deepened and expanded while the Governor has reduced funds for firefighters. Now, in the spring of 2013, the wildfire season begins early in California and the climate scientists expect a continuation of this biblical drought across much of the West. In some places, the damage is already irreversible. When the rains do come they will bring about massive flooding as the hardened ground rejects the moisture. The flood – drought – flood cycle is the new norm in the Western U.S., in Brazil, in Australia, in India.
In response to this ongoing crisis, the good Christians of the West are undergoing a mass resurgence of faith, resulting in a significant uptick in public pray-for-rain events.** At CatMap, we believe this reaction reflects a fundamental dichotomy between the hard wiring of the faithful brain and the NOTfaithful brain. Our NOTfaithful conclusion in the face of this type of suffering is that there is either no god, or if there is, he-she-it is pissed off enough to hold back the rain for some reason indiscernible to mortals. Hold the second thought for a second.
Conversely, the faithful brain, however, appears to conclude that the act of importuning their particular deity will bring about the desired results, even though it never has in the past. This is especially effective in group prayer sessions, a strategy aimed at increasing the odds that god will notice. The faithful brain does not attempt to examine other less mythical explanations for this unprecedented climate event, and therein, we believe, lies another clue as to why humans are poised well past the zenith of the population bell curve and heading rapidly down the other side.
What does a rational person make of this? Let’s begin with a series of rhetorical observations and queries, shall we? If an omniscient and omnipotent God is able to bring about rain, it is reasonable to conclude he is also the force responsible for preventing the rain from falling. If so, why is it not falling? Is he forgetful? Possibly. This is after all Jahweh, the exact same god who left the Hebrews in Egypt for 400 years after promising them that land to the northeast. A millennium or so later, his son, who we assume shares DNA with this Dad and the Holy Ghost, promised that his Kingdom would come about during the lifetimes of his disciples. Yet this happened more than 2,000 years ago and no Kingdom. So yes, God could have forgotten to send rain. The attribution of omniscience does not necessarily contain any assurances of a good memory.
If that is the case, then the prayer scenario makes some sense. The believers are simply getting together in order to remind God to send rain.
Unfortunately, historically speaking, praying for rain has not worked enough times to make it into the history books. Early on in that 40 year wilderness trek, the Moses mentioned to Jahweh that the people were murmuring against him and were going to kill him because they were thirsty.*** This was not so much praying as whining and god didn’t provide rain, but rather opened up a water fountain in a rock, nevertheless we’ll allow it. But since then, nothing.
Beyond the fact that the odds are working against them, this scenario also suggests that the faithful of the West are attempting to change God’s mind without rigorously analyzing the possible reasons behind his actions. Why is God withholding rain? The most obvious answer in the somewhat guilt ridden Judeo Christian mind is that he is angry or disappointed****. God is probably mad at us because we have sinned or not loved Jesus enough, and that opens up a lot of options. The most obvious cause emerging from this Pandora’s can of causality is that we allow homosexuals to live among us and in some states, marry and own restaurants. If this is what has God aggravated, then don’t expect an end to the drought any time soon. Trends in many less Christian parts of the country suggest a pro homosexual agenda that will only make the drought (and tornadoes, hurricanes, floods – all the disastrous weapons God commands) worse.
There is another troubling concept underlying this phenomenon, which is an apparent absence of any sort of interest in searching for an alternative cause of the drought and its devastating effects on tens of millions of people. To be clear, we mean a cause that is not god, but a force more like us. Over the past 150 years, tens of millions of people have over run this once empty and delicate arid landscape, continually robbing peter to pay paul for competing water supplies, raping and polluting the landscape, and causing irrevocable damage with mining, drilling and golf courses. Is this good? Knowing the history of the land, is this drought simply something that just happened to people, who have no part or responsibility in the matter? It is far easier to attribute consequences to God than to greed, lack of vision and blind compliance with both religious and secular mythology.
We have better technology than the long perished Anasazi people who lived here when Rome ruled another hemisphere, but there are compelling similarities that should serve as a warning to anyone willing to listen.
If this drought is indeed biblical, then it is not difficult to imagine its onslaught is the result of divine wrath over the way creation has been plundered and degraded. There is an outside chance that our contradictory Christian deity is demonstrating his displeasure with human rapaciousness, although he would be contradicting some of his early instructions to the first humans.
But maybe it isn’t Jesus and his Dad who are punishing the people of America. It is not out of the question that there are other forces in the universe that don’t fit so neatly into a book of mythology, but also act upon our world in a web of cause and effect that is far beyond the comprehension of the arrogant human mind. Just because our forebears imaged it during the bronze age doesn’t necessarily mean this version of the cosmos is accurate.
In the live and let live world we prefer, we wouldn’t particular care how Christians want to spend there time. But this segment of the population is not content to live and let live, but rather, they insist we believe what they believe. The extreme right evangelicals are holding the rest of the nation hostage as they change science books and history books to match their magical world view. Because they believe the End Times are the result of prophecy rather than human activity, they do their damnedest to prevent any effort to prepare for rising sea levels and mass starvation. It is God’s will.
These nuts head science committees in congress and fund television ads that skew the truth about the condition of our civilization. It is our business what the fringe elements believe, because they act on those beliefs to the detriment of us all. While they pray to their AWOL deity, the nation continues to fall behind the rest of the world.
*Rick has also announced that prayer, not gun control, will keep children safe. Perhaps people have not been praying hard enough.