Rumsfeld is God
Donald Rumsfeld is God.Whoa! Did I just write that? Yup, I did. I wrote “Rumsfeld is God.”Well, if you’re offended, I didn’t mean it, but that’s not going to make you feel any better, because what I really meant was this:God is Donald Rumsfeld.God is Rumsfeld. What does that mean? Well, you know … it means God is incompetent.Like Rumsfeld.God had plenty of troops on hand for the Creation – just Himself, actually, ’cause that’s all it took – but He didn’t have enough sandals on the ground to maintain order and stability afterward.Case in point: a tsunami kills hundreds of thousands of people, a lot of whom just plain had to be innocent victims. If God’s omnipotent, He’s going to have to take the blame for that. And if God’s not omnipotent, then He’s not God. So His only defense is, as Rumsfeld once said, “Stuff happens.”Way back at the beginning of things, a lot of people settled on an obvious explanation for this sort of thing: God’s one mighty mean dude. He’d as soon kill you as look at you. Quick, disembowel a virgin – maybe that’ll cheer Him up.That at least fit the facts of life.Later on, the ancient Greeks decided the Gods weren’t necessarily mean, they were just too, too human: petty, jealous, horny, and, yes, much too often, mean. So they lied, cheated, seduced … and killed.More recently, we’ve come up with this idea of a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful and infinitely good.And, for anyone who’s paying attention, that causes what I believe they call “cognitive dissonance” – which is to say, “Huh?”He’s all-powerful, infinitely wise, infinitely good and He still tolerates tooth decay, the rape-murder of 9-year-olds, the Killing Fields of Cambodia and a tsunami that wipes out an entire region.God’s lucky He’s not president – ’cause if He had to run for re-election, He’d have a lot of ‘splaining to do. Imagine the TV ads from Tsunami Victims for Truth. Instead, He’s more like a Supreme Court Justice: appointed for life. And, of course, He’s going to live forever.So we get people trying to make sense of it all. They try this one: God allows evil things to happen as a test of our faith. Right.Or this: God allows Man to sin in order to give us the freedom to choose to walk in the paths of righteousness. Uh-huh. And those Nazi gas chambers? Well, you know – things got a little out of control and (here we go again) stuff happens.Oops! What happened to omnipotence?This kind of twisted ethical wrestling may be one of the reasons so many of the men who founded this nation identified themselves as “deists.” Deists believe that God created the cosmos, gave the baby universe a pat on the butt and said, “You’re on your own, kid.” After that, He followed a strict hands-off policy and let things develop without any divine interference.Which brings us back to the Rumsfeld-as-God: “Stuff happens.”So … do I really mean any of this?Well, to start at the beginning: Donald Rumsfeld is definitely not God.And God is not Donald Rumsfeld. (Whew!)And, finally, God may or may not be incompetent – but He most certainly is incomprehensible.It is interesting that the people who are most eager to rely on the “will of God” as justification for anything they think needs justifying are also the most eager to insist that God’s plan is “incomprehensible to mortal man” … whenever they are faced with clear evidence of God’s incompetence.Torture? Rape-murder? Holocaust? Tsunami? It is all part of God’s plan – and we cannot know His mind.Gay marriage? The Ten Commandments in the courtroom? Stem-cell research? Teaching evolution? We know exactly how God feels about any of that – and He feels exactly the way we do!Or, as Rumsfeld would put it: You have to exist with the God you have, not the God you want.Competence be damned.Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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