No one, regardless of whether they are religious or atheist wants to think that God is angry with them. The very notion that God might be angry with you carries some very serious consequences. First of all, it requires that you believe that God exists. One of the things that makes atheism so attractive to so many atheists is that by eliminating the possibility that God exists, you likewise eliminate any possibility that God might disapprove of you personally, that he might actually be angry with you.
Most atheists are not immoral or unethical people, to the surprise and chagrin of many in the various religious communities, they are exactly the opposite, they are not only moral and ethical people, they usually have pretty damned high moral and ethical standards. Not only are the majority of atheist not immoral or unethical people, they likewise are not deeply unhappy or disturbed people. They are not without hope, or joy or visions of a better future.
But like religious people everywhere, there are things that they would rather not contemplate. Chiefly among those things, is the notion that there just might be an angry God awaiting them after death who intends to punish them for the things they did while alive. Let us set aside for the time being this notion of eternal damnation and judgement after death.
Ascribing to the notion that judgement and eternal damnation are the only significant interactions between God and man is to make the assumption that god is disconnected from his creation that he is the God described by John Milton in the Movie “The Devil’s Advocate”.
MILTON: … Guilt is like a bag of fucking bricks. All you gotta is set it down… Who are you carrying all those bricks for anyway? God? Is that it? God? Well I tell you. Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He’s a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift and then what does he do? I swear, for his own amusement, his own private cosmic gag reel he sets the rules in opposition. It’s the goof of all time. Look but don’t touch. Touch but don’t taste. Taste but don’t swallow. And while you’re jumping on one foot to the next, what is he doing? He’s laughing his sick fucking ass off. He’s a tightass. He’s a sadist. He’s an absentee-landlord! Worship that? Never!
What if that’s not the way it works. What if God does not wait until you die to get involved?
Consider something here. Nations are like corporations, they are, for lack of a better description, artificial life forms. They are more than the sum total of their parts, they take on very distinct personalities of their own. While they may not be immortal, they certainly are not mere mortal beings, they have life spans that range into the thousands of years. They unquestionably have souls, but those souls can never be condemned to eternal damnation. A nation can be hurt, it can be wounded, it can bleed and suffer, the individual citizens of that nation can die, be judged and damned for all eternity, yet the nation itself upon it’s death cannot be.
Accepting the premises that nations are individual living beings in their own right, with wills, desires and ambitions just like any individual human being requires a different kind of thinking when contemplating if or how God interacts with them. He cannot hold the nation accountable after death on the day of judgement, nor can he condemn them to eternal damnation as he would an individual human being. Does this mean that nations are beyond the ability of God to interact with? Does this mean that God ignores nations and gives them a free pass on what they do?
No, it does not, it does mean that God interacts with them right here and right now, but not on the human time scale, on the time scale for which nations live. A nation cannot be hurt the way an individual human being can, but a nation is not immune to being hurt. As a corporate being, nations are not devoid of the characteristics that individual human beings have. They have intelligences, they have emotions, they have consciences, they have a will to live. All of these characteristics exist in nations just as they do in individual human beings, they just exist on an entirely different time scale than they do with individuals human beings.
When God chooses to inform a nation that he disapproves of their behavior, how exactly does he go about doing that? Considering that the intelligence of a nation is the combined intelligence of the tens of millions of individuals that comprise a nation, how do you hold a rational conversation with that nation? When the nation becomes cruel or malicious, when a nation does things that are evil, how does he punish it?
These questions are not merely rhetorical or abstract, even to an atheist who does not believe in God, the reality that a nation is an artificial life form, a super individual is as concrete a reality as has ever existed. Even devoid of a god, these nations as individuals exist, and they do not exist in a vacuum, they exist in what can only be described as a artificial super community, call this community, the international community. Like any community, each individual nation is subject to the influences of the individual members that make up that community. Even in the most primitive and brutal of societies there is a order, a strong man who decides who is rewarded and who is punished and why.
Most human beings go throughout their entire lives never recognizing the fact that they are part of something far greater than themselves. Oh they think about it abstractly from time to time, some even dare to dream of being a part of something greater, they join organizations of all different sorts for that very purpose, organizations like the police, a political party or the military. Yet most never grasp the fact that the nation they are a part of is the ultimate in something greater than themselves.
Because they never make this connection, never come to this realization, they likewise never contemplate the ramifications of this reality. The events that take place around the world appear to most people to have a random and chaotic nature to them, they seem unpredictable. When in reality, they are anything but, they are the consequences of the interactions of individual nations acting in their capacities as artificial super individuals. Individuals for whom the notions of morality or ethics is completely different than for the average human being.
For the atheist there is nothing super natural or divine about these artificial corporate super individuals, they are just a reflection of the collective will of the citizens of each nation, nothing more and nothing less. Yet this simple explanation fails to explain the reality we see all around the world. Egypt was once one of the most powerful nations on the face of the earth, for 3000 years it dominated the Middle East. It’s people, the individuals who comprised that amazingly long lived and powerful empire have not ceased to exist. Rome rose and fell, yet the Italian people still remain. Planet earth is covered with individual human being whose ancestors were once part of one great nation or another.
In some form or other, nearly all of the once great and powerful nations that have existed on earth still exist, yet, which nations have been crushed and humbled, and which lifted up to greatness cannot be explained by reducing their existence to merely the interactions between these artificial corporate super individuals. Were it that simple, long ago the most powerful of all nations would have subdued all the other nations and absorbed them into a single super nation that dominated the entire world. The past is littered with nearly countless examples of once great and powerful nations attempting to do exactly that.
So we return to the question, how does God interact with beings that are nearly immortal? How does God interact with nations? With beings that cannot be rewarded with eternal life or punished with eternal damnation? How do nations rise to greatness of fall to obscurity? How and why did the once great Egyptian empire which ruled nearly half of the world at the height of it’s glory, become today’s modern dysfunctional failed nation?
Romans 13:1–2 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
While boasting about his achievements, Nebuchadnezzar is humbled by God. The king loses his sanity and lives in the wild like an animal for seven years. After this, his sanity and position are restored and he praises and honors God.
When God interacts with a nation, he does it right here, and right now, yet at the same time, on an entirely different time scale than individual human beings are aware of. He does it by raising up, or bringing down the leaders of that nation. Leaders who make decisions that affect all of the individuals who comprise the collective will of that nation. When the individuals who comprise a nation are good, decent virtuous people, he raises up great leaders who make wise decisions, when the individuals who make up a nation have lost their way, he raises up leaders are anything but great or wise.
God rewards or punishes a nation by whom he places in positions of authority over that nation. When he is rewarding a nation, he raises up leaders who lead that nation to safety and prosperity. When he is punishing a nation, he raises up leaders who destroy that nations economy, who bring about strife and divisions within that nation, who destroy that nations security and prosperity. In short, he places tyrants over that nation to punish them.
The United States of America is no exception to how God interacts with nations.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences. — CS Lewis–
America is currently suffering under just such a tyranny, the omnipotent moral busybodies of the Democrat Party, embodied by Barack Obama are tormenting Americans, and they do so unceasingly for they do so with the approval of their consciences. A wise man would ask himself, since God deals with nations just as he does with individuals, and the fruit of the Obama Administration is without a doubt one of strife and division, of a devastated economy and a loss of security and prosperity, how can one conclude anything other than that God is punishing the United States of America? Moreover, if God is indeed punishing the United States of America, why is he doing so? Abortion? Racism? Arrogance? Corruption? Take your pick, it’s not as if there aren’t a multitude of reasons why he might be angry with America.
Will enough American wise up and recognize that, hey, something here is seriously amiss? Will the United States of America be like Nineveh, in the story of Jonah and the Whale, repenting and thus having the anger of God transformed once again into the pleasure and reward that it once enjoyed?