As if the Wrath of God Were a Real Phenomenon
It’s always an edifying experience when I remember to check in with Paul Cella:
Now, it may be that some did predict divine vengeance [after the ostensible omission of God from the Constitution]. But divine vengeance, as it happens, is in fact a calamity somewhat mysterious in nature. I think even if I were a rugged atheist, with piety for empiricism and none for mystery, I might tread lightly on the subject of divine vengeance. Our dear freethinkers and rationalists, their imaginations narrowed into that shriveled state that only free-thought can accomplish, can only conceive of divine vengeance as something obvious and inexpressibly cartoonish — a frowning bearded man descending from the sky with fire and steel or something. It just does not occur to them that an Intelligence beyond the ways of man might manifest his terrible justice in ways dissimilar from the cartoons we make for children.
It’s a rather simple observation, if one pauses to allow modern illusions to settle, that atheists and secular agnostics take as their first assumption that evidence of God’s existence — at least a God resembling the Judeo-Christian version — would have to be of a sort that they already know not to exist. We must have locusts in a New England winter or pre-stuffed turkeys falling from the sky to count. Looking back, it is clear how evil in the compromises of the Constitution led to the Civil War and continuing racial strife, so historians might say, as scientists do with examinations in their own field: “God isn’t necessary to our explanation.”
With history, the response is especially clear: If God isn’t necessary, why didn’t we avoid His wrath?