It’s time for Sunday School, kids. Those not of a theistic bent may feel free to tune me out.
I just caught this article in which we learn that “Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting “intelligent design” and warned them
Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.”
My commentary is not about Evolution vs. Intelligent Design.
My commentary is not about accountability in the political process (e.g. to what extent the voters in the minority should be held responsible for the decisions made by the majority.)
Both of those are interesting topics, and have served to enflame teh intarwebs (Hi, Scrubbo!) for years.
My commentary is on the role of the Mouthpiece. See, I believe that God does call prophets in these days to speak for him, just as he did in Biblical times, and that the pattern established there is followed today. Pat Robertson has assumed that mantle, taking it upon himself to speak for God, but the things he’s saying are not consistent with the things God’s prophets have said in the past.
Specifically, he said “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city.”
This is contrary to the way God works.
Here’s how it REALLY works. If an individual or (in rarer cases) an entire society fall into sin, there are always consequences. Some of the consequences are worldly (getting sick after sleeping around, for instance), and are often viewed as “divine retribution” by people who don’t understand the point of consequences — people like Pat Robertson.
The point of these consequences is simple– humble the sinner, that he, or she, or they may be brought back into the fold.
That’s where Robertson gets it wrong. He’s telling these people NOT to turn to God, when God wants exactly the OPPOSITE. God wants people to turn to him. These lives we lead are filled with a certain measure of anguish, grief, and misery. If we humble ourselves and turn to God, we can find peace in our trials, and we will ultimately be more loving, more caring, and more godlike when we are called upon to help others through THEIR trials. Robertson has missed this entirely. Sure, sometimes God’s Mouthpiece is called upon to warn of calamity, but the warning usually goes “repent, or you will suffer [insert specific suffering here].” Jonah did this in Ninevah (after chickening out and spending some time being humbled himself), and the people in Ninevah repented, and were spared.
Robertson is just playing the vengeance bit, and has missed out entirely. Whether or not God wants us to vote for Intelligent Design in our schools, I seriously doubt he’s going to inflict calamity on a town over it, much less NOT BE THERE FOR THEM if they turn to him in prayer. That’s not the way He works.
If Pat Robertson ever had license to speak for God, I’m confident that it has now been revoked.