Blaming God

Does God ever chuckle at our extraordinary ideas about him? Recently, I received the nth email in which ‘your god’ was blamed for just about everything, from sexual abuse of children to train crashes, acne and the writer’s apparently disastrous love life. (Possibly the acne and the latter were connected, but a suggestion that he visit a pharmacist wasn’t going to endear me, was it?)

I do wonder, sometimes, why people think God is responsible for everything they do not like or find difficult, but never, apparently, for those things they find good or beautiful. Perhaps it is because we perceive certain events to be tragedies and we want someone to blame, someone to pay for them, more than we want someone to thank or praise for what is good. Not all tragedies can be blamed on human beings, so if there is no-one else we can reasonably pin responsibility on, we accuse God. Religious people do this in one way; those who are hostile to religion do it in another; the net result is the same: God comes in for some pretty rough treatment.

Probably some readers will find this idea shocking. They would never, ever blame God for anything and always resign themselves utterly to the divine will. Such people are almost beyond sanctity, for very few of the saints were so restrained. They told God exactly what they thought while they obediently got on with whatever was required. The great Carmelite, St Teresa of Avila, is an excellent example of this, shrewdly remarking to the Lord that it was no wonder he had so few friends since he treated them so badly. That is not the same as blaming God, for she never insulted him or reviled him. She simply spoke her mind with infinite trust and confidence in God’s goodness and love.

I think a little more honesty with God about our feelings and reactions to events might be a good thing. A little more trust in God might be a good thing, too. Blame is pointless. God does not will harm to anyone. It is contrary to his nature as God. But, continuing this week’s theme of dipping into the dictionary, you may find something to ponder in this thought. The word ‘blame’ derives from a popular variant of the Latin blasphemare and Greek blasphemein, meaning to revile, reproach . . . blaspheme. So, when we blame someone for something for which they are not responsible, we are blaspheming God. That might just make us think before we utter.

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3 thoughts on “Blaming God”

  1. “They told God exactly what they thought while they obediently got on with whatever was required.”

    If you replace “God” with ‘Novice Mistress” that was very much like my experience of the novitiate 🙂

  2. I remember once getting very angry at Jesus while in church a Sunday morning. This happened more than twenty-years ago. I was studying then and felt I had no time for church… I was so furious ‘to have to be there.’ I looked at Jesus on the cross and raged, “I’ll never be able to repay you for all that you’ve done for me!”
    Strangely enough, from then on, my relationship with Godde changed. As if my honesty helped me enter into a relationship with Godde, Jesus, the Holy Spirit…

  3. Briefly, I have little knowledge or experience of St Teresa. But I have found the example of the book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament to provide much the same guidance – the prophet who rages against & argues with God. And in conclusion, that wonderful theologically-rich word “But”.

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