I’ve seen a video of Mike Huckabee floating around Facebook today. The clip includes some misguided statements from Huckabee, which I will assume are constructed as such due to the fact that he is on television. The question of God is sure to be asked when events like this happen because it provides a fraction of reality which tragically exemplifies the “problem of evil.” Evil is a concept which most definitely plays a roll in each individual life, although..the the Huckabee video presents evil as something to be over come with rhetoric, with any intent of revealing truth limited to peripheral accidents . When one sceptical pundit asks another christian pundit, “where was god,” and the christian pundit replies with a predictable and drawn out response about how we’ve been trying to systematically remove god from our nation’s institutions for the last fifty years which implies that such a question is easily observed and understood…it is then that we can understand what the discourse is about — antagonism and self-service. Admittedly, a question from a professed atheist which asks about the presence of god in events like this show very limited scope and is indeed a rhetorical move which seeks to undermine a man, not a belief, all lacking any significance to the event in question. It’s cheap.
(the antagonistic atheist who calls the christian to task in the upholding of beliefs he himself does not adhere to reminds of something Camus said in 1948 at a Monastery. “I believe indeed that the Christian has many obligations but that it is not up to the man who rejects them himself to recall their existence to anyone who has already accepted them.)
Although, it is Huckabee who undermines his own intent. Without even mentioning the gross anthropomorphisms which plague such commentary, we can focus on the direct implications of his comments. If god is indeed soaring above the ground with a wise and patient (and surely frustrated) gaze downward upon the happenings of a malfunctioning creation, it is his closest allies who ultimately rip it (him/her) from the throne and attempt to hire it/him/her as a sponsor of their own cheap ideas.
Mr. Huckabee, based on your own words, I can only assume you are claiming that christ (or god, depending on what mode of Christology suits your goal), in a fit of pride and chutzpah (he was Jewish after all) decided to call the unbelievers’ bluff and vacate the premises of an elementary school on this tragic day, employing innocent and unaware children to prove a point to a bunch of self-assured, ignorant, audacious, and self-righteous pagans (I’m sure you must see all non-believers in this light). Did god, on this day, become so upset, that he was willing to let those children and adults be murdered; so resigned that he threw up his hands and said vindictively, “if this is what you want, this is what you get?” I assure you Mr. Huckabee, if we are to afford you any degree of interpretive authority on christian text and theology, your comments leave me wanting nothing to do with god. If we are to understand god, just like you do, based on our own limited knowledge of justice, and if we are to fill that void of knowledge and awareness of truth with a deflated, petty, and violent version of
christ, then to hell with him. Such a commentary betrays an understanding of God which you liberally appropriate when it suits your interest..the loving God that is so qualitatively distinct from mankind that any comparison is impossible…the God that can only be understood negatively, the God of which nothing can be understood. (I’m getting suspicious.)
If, after centuries of cultural and religious violence, centuries of misappropriation in the name of christian values, centuries of evil disguised in the anglo-christ, after centuries of irreparable damage justified by a god–that vacant vehicle of oppression, if you now wish to put god unwillingly into the ring of this circumstance to help you make some ill-advised remarks which reflect an impressive lack of cultural understanding, then you will have succeeded in giving peace of mind to any individuals who were recently in anxious wander about Christianity. Good job sir! They’ve decided to move on with no reservations.
Christ can not be interpreted in any sensible way to a collective of vulnerable individuals by a man who knows nothing of their experience. A faith in Christ is exemplified in a silence which only offers what it can–well intentioned words of humility, expressing an empathy in the helplessness of entropy. Christ is no where, he does not offer himself to be placed on top of a pyramid of clueless and smiling cheerleaders. The individual will experience Christ in a way that provides a comfort as senseless as the violence they experienced. There is no meaning here, and we should not be so audacious to attempt giving one which seeks to give perspective when the horizon aligning that perspective has been taken away.
Whatever we offer, we must offer with the utmost humility. Comfort will return, but not in anyway which can be suggested or predicted. The moments are managed one at a time, with no assurance of the next. God’s love is not a banner we can wave with boisterous confidence, but only with our eyes closed and mouths shut.