During the Italian earthquake a church bell dislodged itself and fell into a house and killed two children and while Pope Francis offered his prayers to the 275 victims of the earthquake he did not mention God being involved. It struck me as if the Church was ignoring an event which was of symbolic importance. I posted onto Facebook:
“The Pope says he is praying for all the earthquake victims… that is nice. How does he explain what his God was up to when a bell from one his churches dislodged during the quake and killed [an entire family]*? God clearly didn’t like them right? Apparently no one else is saying this. However it is an obvious question… if something bad happens to good or innocent people which part of Christianity can put its hand up and say “yeah, I did it.” God can’t, he is good, Jesus? Holy Ghost… nope all good. Surely they can’t say Satan gets something out of this? If he did, then he could shake the world to bits and get a big pay off.”
The result was that my comment was slammed as anti-Christian. What I was trying to say was that there is a problem in religion of Good and Evil when your god is perfect, “good” and cannot be “evil.” Much of Christianity off-loads the question of evil onto humanity with the idea of original sin. As an idea it is not bad. Sin is an illness but we have the cure and if people followed Christian ideas, there would be a lot less evil because the human side of it would be removed. However it does not say where the sin came from in the first place.
But if everything comes from Good (and this applies not just to Christianity but to Plato, Aristotle, Proclus, Zoroastrianism, Muslim, etc) then where does evil come from? The flawed gods of Homer, which does sort of answer the issue, does not really cut it either, neither does the concept of accepting that “gods move in mysterious ways.”
The Old Testament has it sort of right when it says “If there is evil in the land it must be God’s doing.” If you have a One Thing or a monotheistic approach, there is no good or evil… there just is. So if your god rips a bell out of his temple and drops it on you and your family, he did it and the survivors have to live with it. It is not really good or evil it is just God. The same idea can be found in the parable of Job. Shit happens but you have no idea what the grand plan is so suck it up and trust that God will eventually make it right.
God the writer
Personally my idea is this. There is only One Thing and it is experiencing itself and understanding itself through creation. It is not purely good and or evil. It is evolving. It is like a writer who creates an imaginary world, but finds that all the characters and even the world reflects the creator. The creator becomes lost in the writing. Everything becomes a reflection of that One Thing moving through creation as it plays out its life by placing itself in imaginary stories.
So, when the author drops a bell on you, it is dropping a bell on itself. It is changing the narrative to discover something else. Humans project their own good or evil concepts onto this process but ultimately these are rationalisations. No-one sensibly bothers attributing good and evil to the writer of a book.
It takes things like natural disasters to show the holes up of existing human belief and to create challenges that require change. If we can’t accept that God is evil, then we cannot accept that it is good either. Once we make that statement in our heads then what we insist are good and evil have to be evaluated by what they really mean rather than their historical labels. “Modern” religious issues like abortion, gay marriage, religious superiority are given their correct place. This does not mean that we allow everyone to be “evil” but rather we judge their behaviour by their effect on humanity. A corrupt politician does not get off the hook because we stop calling his actions evil, we just judge him by his effects on society.
All religions contain a spark of this truth because all of the contain archetype of the writer. The only difficulty is that they are a little less forthcoming when the writer drops a bell on your head. Praying to the god which did it is not much use, but thinking about it does.
*I have since checked two brothers were killed and not the entire family