By Tom Quiner
What do Steve Johnson and Christopher Hitchen have in common? They both blame God.
Mr. Johnson is a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills. Mr. Hitchens is a political columnist and author of the book, God is Not Great. Unlike Mr. Johnson, he is a champion of the new atheism.
This past weekend, their personal philosophies toward God crossed paths.
Mr. Johnson’s team, the Bills, were engaged in a dramatic overtime game with the tough Pittsburgh Steelers when the Bills quarterback hoisted a long pass to Mr. Johnson. The ball was perfectly thrown into Mr. Johnson’s hands as he raced into the end zone. If he holds onto the ball, the Bills win.
Mr. Johnson dropped the ball and the Bills lost the game. You can watch the action above.
Mr. Johnson blamed God (in Whom he believes) for allowing him to drop the ball. I quote:
“I praise you 24/7!!!!!! And this (sic) how you do me!!!!! You expect me to learn from this??? How???!!! Ill (sic) never forget this!! Ever!!! Thx tho …”
Setting side Mr. Johnson’s punctuation extravagance and rhetorical shortcomings, this is a guy ticked off at the Almighty.
At the same time Mr. Johnson was being manipulated to drop the ball by God, Mr. Hitchens was in Canada debating former Brit Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on whether religion is a force for good in the world. Hitchens demonstrated more proficiency in his tirade against God, describing him as a “celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea”:
“Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects, in a cruel experiment, whereby we are created sick, and commanded to be well. And over us, to supervise this, is installed a celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea. Religion forces nice people to do unkind things, and also makes intelligent people say stupid things.”
Mr. Hitchens was once a liberal commentator who antagonized the political Left by his anti Muslim editorializing. He was a supporter of the Iraq war. He lumps Christianity together with Islam as being variations of the same disorder known as religion.
No force in human history has been the source of so much good as has Christianity. Love, forgiveness, redemption are cornerstones of Christ’s message.
Certainly bad things have been done in the name of Christ, but they pale in comparison to Christianity’s relentless pursuit of service to the needy.
The world would be unrecognizable without the beneficent ministrations of this beautiful religion.
Is God the cause of the evil in the world Mr. Hitchens laments, or the dropped balls Mr. Johnson bemoans? No, but He is the source of the good that can occur when bad things happen.
Mr. Johnson believes in God and blames him for bad things that happen.
Mr. Hitchens does not believe in God but still blames him for bad things that happen.
I believe the existence of evil is proof of God’s existence. God is love. He gives us free will in our lives, which includes whether we love Him back. Free will is essential to love, because love involves choice.
God gives us that choice, and sometimes we make very bad choices, which can cause harm (evil). When we do drop the ball, He is there to lovingly and patiently help us pick it up and get back on track.