I went to a restaurant the other day where about half the employees were wearing shirts that said, “God is good, all the time”. I immediately thought, well gee, what about the 9-11 terrorist attacks–that was certainly done in the name of God, so was that good? Are they saying they support that kind of thing?
(I also thought, well, what about Isaac Zamora, who murdered a woman in the name of Jesus on the front lawn of the house where I grew up; what about that lady who drowned her four children in the bathtub to save them from going to hell about ten years ago; what about the religious cults that hold themselves up with their stock of guns; what about my friend who jumped off a bridge because Jesus told him he could fly; what about Ted Bundy’s father, who taught him the ways of violence and caused his family to regularly fear for their lives and happened to be the deacon of their church and a highly respected religious figure? I thought about all these things and more, but for the convenience of this entry, I’ll just talk about 9-11.)
So was 9-11 a good thing, according to the people who believe that “God is good, all the time?
I think, deep down inside, the answer is yes. Sure if I were to ask one of these people directly they would make up excuses and say things like “that’s not really God” or “that’s the devil who does stuff like that”, but it doesn’t change the fact that the people who crashed those planes on 9-11 truly and deeply believed in God and were truly doing it for Him. Ultimately, most people who truly believe in God and think religion is a positive thing would rather live in a world of terrorists than one filled with atheists. Even after all these horrible things that happen in the name of God, atheists are still seen as the bad guys.
The reason for that, I think, is simple. Atheists are freaking boring.
Think about watching the movie Saw, where the bad guy was raised in a good home and taught love and respect and never grew up to kidnap and torture people. That would have been one boring movie. Think about all the times you’ve seen an accident on the side of the road and slowed down to gawk and gotten that little rush inside, that sense that something truly interesting and exciting had just happened? Those things make us… I’d say happy, but it’s not happiness exactly. It’s a sense of excitement, a sense of being alive.
When we watch a horror movie, we are disgusted, horrified, we think, gee whoever made that is truly sick and twisted, but we rarely say, “I wish that movie had never been made.” We’ll still say “That was a good movie; that was fun.”
The same is true for things like 9-11. People talk about how evil the terrorists are and how they deserve to go to hell and how we need to go to war with them, and all sorts of other nasty things about them, but the one thing I’ve not heard a single person say in the last ten years is, “I wish 9-11 never happened.”
The only real difference between 9-11 and a good horror movie is that we have such a hard time admitting that we enjoyed it. Admitting that would put a damper on our drive for vengeance. It would dilute our anger and take away that evil enemy that we love to hate. It would confuse our motivations and cause us to question our own actions. So instead we hide it away at the same time that we are feeling it so intensely.
The sad truth about human nature is that war and death is fun and exciting. To me this is most evident in our television advertisements for the US Military. They show us all these fancy weapons, and say “this isn’t science fiction” and make it look like you’re in this hot action flick. They don’t talk about it as being a necessary evil that must be done to keep the peace. They portray it as being fun.
I personally believe this is the root of most of our wars, military and criminal justice. People don’t go into the military or become police officers because they want to make the world a better place. That may be what they say out loud, but it’s not the true reason. Deep down, they either love their jobs, or they slowly become “bleeding heart liberals” like myself and realize what they are doing is wrong.
But that is only a percentage of the population, maybe %60, maybe more, maybe less. I think part of the problem is that many of us “bleeding heart liberals” don’t understand that lust for blood, action and excitement and never recognize it as being a driving factor in our decisions. We have this ignorant belief that everyone wants world peace because we can’t imagine wanting anything else. The fact is that a huge proportion of the population does not want peace because it’s boring.
I think God is a huge contributing factor to this blood lust. If God exists, why would He possibly want us to be peaceful? What interest could that hold for Him?
So when a person wears a t-shirt saying “God is good, all the time” they might as well be wearing a shirt that says, “I support 9-11, Ted Bundy and Isaac Zamora.” It’s not much different on an emotional level than wearing a Nightmare on Elm Street t-shirt. I just wish we could admit it.