It’s smiting time!

The last time we encountered Christian evangelist Ray Comfort he was, along with his trusty sidekick the Boy Wonder Kirk Cameron, arguing that the exquisite design of the banana was absolute proof of the existence of god. The banana, Comfort pointed out, was “the atheist’s nightmare.”

You said it, Ray! You convinced me. Now whenever I eat a banana, I cannot help but think of god carefully tinkering with its design so that it could be easily eaten by me.

But Comfort is not content to simply demolish evolution with such brilliant arguments. He also runs a Q/A on his website providing deep insights into other metaphysical questions, the kinds that have baffled philosophers and theologians for centuries.

He recently responded to a theodicy question posed by a reader identifying herself as Weemaryanne.

There’ve been several hundred gay marriages enacted in California in the past few days. Maybe a couple of thousand by now, I haven’t checked the numbers. And in the non-gay-marrying Midwest, they’re fighting floods, while in California it’s fair and dry. How is The Golden State managing to escape the wrath of your imaginary friend, I wonder?

This is a fair question, something that I too had been wondering about. While the obvious sinfulness of the people of New Orleans was clearly the cause of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, why was god mad at the people of Iowa who, by all outward signs anyway, seem like people whose worst vice is growing obscene amounts of corn?

By snarkily referring to god as ‘your imaginary friend’ Weemaryanne (which I suspect is not her real name) was revealed as a godless hussy. This infidel clearly thought that she had caught Comfort in an embarrassing contradiction. She did not realize that his ministry is not called The Way of the Master for nothing. The Master shot back at her with that incisive logical reasoning that has put atheists on the run everywhere.

Maryanne. At present there are 840 wild-fires that are burning at once in California, destroying many homes. The fires were started by lightning strikes. Guess who’s in charge of the electrical department? These are from thunder storms that have no rain. Guess who gives the rain? You said “while in California it’s fair and dry.” We are having the worst drought in our recorded history. Last year 1,155 homes were destroyed. You live in an imaginary world. I suggest you get out more.

Ha, ha! That’s telling her, Ray! Of course god hates gay-marriage-loving California, as well he should, and is busily smiting people there at this very moment. Weemaryanne has probably crawled back to her terrorist-loving, Islamofascist, feminazi witches coven after that elegantly delivered smackdown by The Master.

But while that explained that the sinful Californians were very much in god’s crosshairs, Comfort unfortunately did not address the issue of why Iowans were being smitten (smote?) at all. That was, however, explained by another Christian by the name of Jason Werner, a god-loving man who apparently resides in my very own city of Cleveland. He investigated what was going on in that seemingly bucolic state and was shocked by the incontrovertible evidence of Iowa’s appalling sinfulness.

I learned that Cedar Rapids was an absolute city of corruption. There are about 124,000 residents in the actual city. And in Iowa, gambling is legal, whereby there are 17 casinos. Embryonic stem-cell research is funded. Liberal governors have run the state into the ground for the past 20 years including a former conservative Republican many years ago. Human cloning is legal. Referendums by the citizens are often shot down. Spending for education is the most consistent increase of any issue. The University of Iowa is among the ten best colleges to party in the country. The University of Iowa is very homosexual-oriented. Grinnell is extremely homosexual-oriented. I found five blood alleys in Cedar Rapids. Homosexual organizations are very popular in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. Prostitution and adult entertainment is actually worse than Cleveland, which has a population of nearly 400,000. There were nearly 100 bars in a radius of one mile although the nearby college is dry.

Wow! Am I glad that I don’t live in that cesspool!

But I am getting a little nervous. While god is omnipotent and omniscient and omnipresent, he does not seem to be omniaccurate. His punishments for sinfulness, like hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, wildfires, etc., seem a little indiscriminate, risking the lives of the innocent along with the guilty. He seems to get a little carried away when he gets angry and in a smitin’ mood and lets fly in all directions, like the Incredible Hulk or the people one reads about in the papers who snap under pressure and let loose with automatic weapons in crowded places. I am worried that I might become collateral damage when god gets round to dealing with all the sinners on my street.

What sinning is going on down my street, you ask? Thanks to having my eyes opened by good Christians such as Comfort and Werner, I have realized that I am surrounded by depravity. First, a gay couple moved into my street about a dozen years ago. Presumably because we did not keep the neighborhood pure by driving them away with pitchforks, our street may have been perceived as gay-friendly and about two years ago a lesbian couple also moved in a few doors away.

They all pretend to be like normal people, cutting grass, weeding flowerbeds, sometimes sitting on their front step in warm weather, and waving and smiling to neighbors. But as the kind of sinners that god hates the most, even worse than murderers and child molesters and corporate executives who embezzle people of their life savings, they are putting the rest of us at risk just by living close to us. The gay couple are even brazen enough to fly a rainbow flag on their house, practically taunting god to deliver a thunderbolt!

I just hope that they haven’t taken the ultimate evil step of going to California and getting married because if they did that, we know that all the godly heterosexual marriages on our street are going to be undermined and fall apart.

And who knows what acts of depravity are going on in the homes of even my supposedly heterosexual neighbors? Oh sure, they put on a normal face by walking their dogs, playing catch with their kids on the lawn, organizing block parties, and the like. But one can only imagine the depraved orgies that are being held inside their homes once the curtains are drawn in the evening.

I am thinking that in order to be safe from the inevitable coming wrath of god, I may need to buy about 500 acres in some remote area of Montana or someplace and live right in the middle of the property, far away from any potential sinning neighbors. I figure that that should provide enough of a distance cushion so that whatever blunt instrument god chooses to use next for smiting sinners, like an earthquake or an asteroid collision with the Earth, I will be able to escape the side effects.

What god really needs to do is develop some precision-guided smiting weapons with built-in lasers, GPS trackers, and stuff. That would be cool. Then I could stay in my present home, sit on the front step, and watch the homes of my sinning neighbors be neatly and precisely destroyed.

Tim the Enchanter shows what such a carefully targeted smiting might look like.

Maybe god could make this into an annual event, replacing Fourth of July fireworks.

The difficulty of predicting the future

Science fiction writers have it tough. Although it is fun to predict what the world will look like in the future, the track record of success of past works is not great. (A caveat on what follows: I cannot really call myself a science-fiction fan, having read only a scattered sample of this vast genre, so I am expressing views based on a very limited awareness. Those who have read most of this genre may well disagree with my conclusions.)

Whether the future that is envisaged is dark (as in the films Blade Runner or Colossus: The Forbin Project) or somewhat optimistic (as in 2001: A Space Odyssey or the book Rendezvous with Rama), much of the predictions seemed to be focused on architecture, modes of transport, and video communication.
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A mini-Clarke festival

In addition to watching 2001: A Space Odyssey recently, I also indulged in a personal mini-Arthur C. Clarke festival, re-reading his novels Childhood’s End and Rendezvous with Rama, and reading for the first time his short story The Sentinel that contains as its central idea a key plot element that reappeared in 2001.

One of the interesting things about Clarke’s books is how for him, it is the science that is the most interesting element. That, and his vision of what future society will be like, are what moves his stories along. He tends to eschew traditional storytelling devices such as love, intrigue, violence, and all the other strong emotional factors. His stories focus less on fleshing out the characters and more on how normal human beings might react when they encounter an astounding new piece of information, such as making contact with intelligent life from elsewhere in space.
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