Hurricane Harvey has been pounding Houston, and from the looks of it, the water cannot drain fast enough in the face of unprecedented rainfall, 49 inches as of today, in some four days. This is usually just about the time someone gets in the TV and says that God is punishing America for its sin, or something like that. Yet, Houston is about as far down into the Bible Belt as you can get. If that place is Sodom and Gomorrah, then Washington DC is the Vatican. It just don’t make sense.
I would like to propose that it is time for our species to grow up, and accept that natural disasters just happen, and the fella on TV telling you that it is because of sin is just selling you a line with a hook at the end of it, and he wants you to send him some money. We don’t have to bring up any names here, as I am sure history will do as much damage to a certain pasture as Social Media will allow. And while Lakewood Church was pressured into opening for refugees, nobody got into the upper floors of the Mormon Temple there, and nobody complained. Yet, there was a building that could have offered shelter till the water finally crept up its steps and a few inches into the first floor. People give so willingly to these organizations to enrich them, but in a time of desperate need, do they open up? Is this natural? It sure isn’t Godly.
The one thing that has helped, and has stood out, is the response of ordinary people, bringing trucks, food, supplies, boats, muscle, and talent to the scene, and helping everyone they could for as long as they could. If there was a God in all of this, it was manifest in the work of human hands. But it is just that, our humanity that has made a difference. It is our humanity that has shone through, just as it always has, and has saved lives. It will be human hands that rebuild Houston. I hope every cent given can go to that effort, and not into the pockets of greedy men who preach salvation, but do not open their doors when the floods have literally come.
There is another aspect to address here. Humans have discovered that our activities on the planet have affected our climate. Some do not believe this, and dismiss it as propaganda designed to enrich the poor by redirecting money from the wealthy. When I was a kid who had just learned to drive, I used to sit atop a mountain over Boulder, Colorado, and watch the summer lighting storms over the plains. Always, the lighting was most intense over Denver, where the concrete city was warmer, and heated the air above it. That heat seemed to milk the rain and the lighting from the skies. It was evident that humanity had already affected the weather, before considering the warming effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Another theme the religious preach is Armageddon. The religious believe in a literal end of the world, which is horrible because it makes them complacent about, and complicit in the end if it does come. If Armageddon does come, it will likely be because of failed climate policies, failed foreign policies, or even failed educational policies. We will destroy our environment, ourselves with nuclear weapons, or ignorance before any God ever needs to intervene in our decline or demise as a species. Our lonliness on this planet is easy to see. Or God is pissing on Houston for something. No doubt someone will be on the TV telling us why in the coming days, and none of it will make sense to anyone with the sober eyes of an unbeliever. But it will no doubt bring in the donations to the greedy bastards who prey.