Punished by God? No one believes that!

By Dave, the WM

I was just reading about 71-year-old Rev. George O. Lowe, that he is in prison for sexually abusing a child in his congregation back in the 80s. There’s nothing particularly unique or interesting about the story; it's just another in a long, long line of sexually perverted religious leaders. What caught my eye in this story is that that the good reverend had recently tried to appease his victim who is now an adult by quoting Bible verses that discourage Christians from taking Christians to court and by claiming that God had already sufficiently punished him.

Quoting Bible verses to support a position (any position) is typical, but the statement he made that God had already punished him, that one got me to thinking.

The doctrine that God does or will eventually punish the wicked is universally touted as true by every variety, branch and stream within Christendom. Christians are frequently encouraged to leave to the Lord all thoughts of paying back the wicked for their wickedness.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. -- Romans 12:19

Is the promise that "God will revenge" provide adequate comfort to Christians who are victims of abuse or crime? Consider a couple whose child is kidnapped and never found. Does anyone honestly think that a belief that God will eventually bring the criminal to perfect justice extend real solace to a parent in this situation? Or do you think that even the most faith-filled Christian parent would find more comfort in working tirelessly until the kidnapper was found and made to endure “imperfect” human justice?

If Christians really believed that God would righteously avenge all the wrongs in the world, then there would be no need for any Christian to ever press charges, sue, or even complain about being a victim. In fact, if Christians really believed God would avenge, Christians would meekly turn the other cheek as Jesus commanded.

The fact is, Christians do not believe in divine justice in the here and now. Oh sure, they say they believe in it, but by their actions and lifestyle, most Christians are just like anyone else when some thug tries to victimize them. When I was Christian, I knew I would defend against and possibly kill anyone who illegally entered my home with the intent to do harm to me or my family. I purchased a weapon designed for that purpose. I had no intention of turning the other cheek, blessing those who cursed me, or giving a thief my cloak. I was fully prepared to defend my castle and if necessary, met out swift ultimate justice to any who crossed my threshold with evil intent.

Most Christians I knew were of the same opinion when it came to defending one's home.

At this point some Christians might argue that human justice is an expression of divine justice. Those Christians will claim that God works through our justice system. Of course on another day those same Christians will bemoan the inadequacy of the justice system and proclaim that human stabs at justice can never measure up to God’s justice.

You can't have it both ways, Christians! Either God is in charge, or we are. Either we resist not evil as Jesus said, or we resist it and disobey his command.

In the hundreds, soon to be thousands, of years since the birth of Christianity, much has changed in the way Christians believe. Christians are not nearly as concerned with developing personal piety as they are with crusading for various political agendas. Christians have to be constantly admonished to read and memorize the Bible even though it is supposedly the very Word of God to mankind! They have to be told to tithe and feed and clothe the poor. Yet, when it comes to aggressively campaigning against the personal, legal, and private choices of non-Christians (Insert here homosexuality, abortion, alcohol, anal sex, or any other private matter that Christians feel licensed to condemn.), those same lazy-brained Christians are somehow energized. When it comes to war – any war – Christians can be found waving the flag the hardest. “Nuke em ‘till they glow!” was the clarion call of many modern Christians at the start of the Iraq crises.

Getting back to the main point: By their behavior, their words, and their causes, most Christians today demonstrate a lack of belief that God will avenge injustice. Just like all human beings everywhere, Christians know deep down that whatever justice we have on this planet is entirely up to us. How we want our society to operate, what we want to tolerate or allow, it is all entirely up to us. If victims are to ever be avenged, it is up to us. If criminals are to be stopped, it is up to us.

Ultimately everyone, regardless of rhetoric or position, understands that we are the sole agents responsible for crafting human society. Even Christians reject as foolish the teachings of Jesus suggesting we all sit around and wait for God to do something. Even Christians would scoff at the suggestion that a pedophile need not be brought to "human" justice because "God had already punished him."

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