I read an article today about Hurricane Katrina that bothered me. I do not believe the 2005 Hurricane Katrina was a punishment sent from God or any other higher power. I do not believe in a punishing God. It is hard for those that believe in a God to understand and explain why bad things happen to good people. It is also a point taken by those that are atheist or agnostic, that there cannot be a God that would allow so much evil in the world.
I believe that evil or bad things are caused by several things. One is that we ourselves can cause things to occur that are not necessarily what we want in our lives and the lives of others. Second others can do harm to us, themselves, and to others. The third cause I think is best described by universal laws of nature that have cause and effect. that must be followed. (i.e. If I grab onto a downed arching high voltage electrical line in the middle of a rain storm I may be electrified.)
These universal laws of nature or the universe have to be followed by all, even God. Now I believe God is omnipotent and understands these universal laws and can manipulate them but that he allows us all to have agency or freedom and chooses not to intervene in our lives the majority of the time. Like the laws of physics these laws govern the universe.
Storms, Hurricane’s, Tornado’s, and other natural calamity’s all have scientific explanations as to what caused them or how they occurred. Man continues to cause all kinds of travesties to themselves and others. If one believes in the Bible it could be argued that God has sent pestilences, disasters, and all manner of bad things to punish the wicked, but I choose to believe that is a rare or almost extinct practice. I believe God has the power to punish in that way but takes a more loving and forgiving approach most of the time.
Man continues to cause most atrocities. If we look at wars and other evils and how they came about I believe the majority of the time we can trace the source to a person or group of people. It is amazing the damage we even do to ourselves. I work in the addiction field and I watch the carnage and death inflicted by the disease of addiction every day. In spite of good intentions people loose their free agency to rationally choose what is good and right for themselves and others. Yes it is within them to take back the power, dig deep, overcome, and reclaim themselves as they gain ownership of their life and responsibilities again but for most part this is very difficult. The greatest tragedies in history are cases of men’s inhumanity to men. I feel it is wrong when people make the assumption that people deserve this inhumanity and the pain it causes as some sort of punishment or karmic pay back.
I can look at all the difficult and painful trials I have gone through and clearly see which ones I brought upon myself, those that were caused by others, and the trials that the universe presented as learning experiences. Now maybe God put those in my life. I don’t know? Maybe I could frame those as punishments, since I have been far from righteous, but I doubt it.
Good things come to those that may not deserve it, just as bad things happen to good people. Maybe its timing, maybe it is meant to be, but I believe most of the time there is a direct correlation from a causation by a person/group/entity, or a natural law of nature following its course.