Judgement & compassion

KatrinaI’ve been watching the uncut videos of interviews made for the TV series “The Root of all Evil?” (They are all now available on DVD). The interview with Michael Bray (from the Army of God) raised an interesting point for me. There seems to be two attitudes towards knowing – one is based on evidence and provides a basis for good moral decisions. The other is based on authority and can lead to some very immoral conclusions.

In this interview Bray interprets natural disasters, such as the effect of hurricane Katrina on New Orleans or the tsunami in South east Asia, as acts of God. He see these disaster as God’s punishment for the sins of mankind. Specifically he saw them as punishment for the “sins” of homosexuality and sexual promiscuity.

So what is the outcome of such an interpretation? To minister humans to repent and turn away from sin or expect further natural calamities as punishment?

This may have been some consolation to primitive humanity which didn’t understand the causes of these calamities. But not for modern humanity!

Today we understand the natural causes of flood, storms, tsunamis and earthquakes. We may not be able to stop them but our knowledge enables us to prepare for them. We can set up early warning systems, build storm protection or establish stingent building codes. We can lessen impacts, save lives and more adequately help survivors.

I find Michael Bray’s interpretation of these events immoral. He seems more interested in making an extreme judgement of others and punishing them, rather than helping. This may feed his own feelings of ‘Christian’ virtue but it does nothing to change the real world. It doesn’t prevent the death and suffering of a single person in future natural disasters. And these will, of course, occur whatever the sexual practices of humanity.

Only real knowledge and a world view based on evidence, reason and compassion saves people.

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5 responses to “Judgement & compassion

  1. I thinki Michael Bray is standing for the Word of God. God is going to cast every non-Christian into eternal hell fire for rejecting Jesus Christ and that is clearly stated in the Holy Bible and there is no way out of it. It is what God has ordained and to reject Jesus Christ is an insult to God.


  2. Why eternal hell fire? Why not just a quick execution and be done with it? Why not just ‘turn us off’ or obliterate us? Donald, the God you believe in seems unnecessarily and excessively cruel. And I suspect that cruelty brushes of on you a bit too.


  3. Have you seen this site? People confess their sins online, anonymously at http://iconfessmyself.blogspot.com.


  4. Thoughts:

    -‘evidence’ and ‘authority’ are not polar opposites. What of the ‘authority’ that emerges from (or is found among) the evidence?

    -what is your ‘evidence’ for a thing such as ‘compassion’?

    -Reverend, some genuinely Jesus-loving people have not found the texts about hell so ‘clear’ as you apparently do. At a historical, prophetic rhetorical level, Jesus’ warnings concerning ‘Gehenna’ (Mark 9 and parallels) were directed at the nation of Israel, warning them that the path of violent, military revolt which they were bent on (leading to the revolt in AD70) was (quite literally) the same path leading to them to a destruction (at the hands of the Romans – and on this, look up the destruction of Jerusalem by roman general Titus in AD70 – Josephus’ description is quite stark…) which is colorfully and horribly paralleled by Jesus’ reference to ‘Gehenna’ – the smouldering ever-burning rubbish dump just outside Jerusalem…

    And frankly, Reverend, I suggest that such emphases (as the ones you’ve emphasised in your comment) are misrepresentative of the Bible’s many coherent themes – one of which being that of ‘fruitfulness’ (right from Genesis 1 – and the vocation of humanity; through to Revelation and the tree of life bearing 12 fruits, etc.)…

    Jesus taught his disciples to pray (among other things) for a kingdom to come ‘on earth as it is in heaven’… Our work with the poor, disenfranchised, suffering and hungry are just one part of this. Blasting people with over-certain, mechanistic constructs can possibly bring ‘hell’ on earth, rather than ‘heaven’…

    And if you fail to see my point, I refer to the words of Jesus: he rebuked some Pharisees of his day for ‘proseletising’ – “…for you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice a son of hell than you are…”

    Stong challenge to a conversionistic emphasis…


  5. I think the difference between evidence-based authority and straight out authority-based authority is clear in this case regarding comments by Michael Bray and his mate Rev. Donald Spitz from the Army of God. I think it’s also clear that you wont find compassion with these people – but surely you don’t question that it exists amongst the rest of us.


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