On Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) appeared on something called Life Today hosted by televangelist James Robinson. In his appearance, Cruz espoused the common but still nonsensical view held by millions of American Christians that god deserves the credit for seeing the United States through its most difficult times. Of course, it never occurs to Cruz or other believers to wonder why god allowed for unspeakable acts of cruelty and destruction to occur in the first place.
After claiming that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were “drafted on the knees of the Founding Fathers through prayer,” Cruz talked about how he saw the handiwork of god in the two bloodiest wars in the U.S. history, as well as the Cold War:
“If you look at the Civil War — a bloody war of brother up against brother — that spilled gallons working to expunge the original sin of this nation that was slavery, that Civil War should’ve ripped this country apart forever. And it was only with god’s blessing that this country came back together. And [in] World War II, standing up against the grotesque evil that was the Nazis, again god shined his grace on this nation and the American people rose to save the free world. You go to the 1980s with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II, we won the Cold War without firing a shot. At every stage — and really, it is the source of my optimism today.”
Let’s take a moment to work through Cruz’s “logic.”
If the Constitution was framed by men inspired by god through prayer, why was it that they did not see fit in that document to outlaw slavery, which was the root of the very Civil War that Cruz admits was so horrific? Indeed, the divinely-inspired Constitution tacitly condoned slavery with its contemptible Three-Fifths Clause. By Cruz’s reasoning then, god oversaw a founding document that accepted slavery and set up a violent collision between free states and slave states. And so, only after the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history was slavery abolished.
Of course, it must also be wondered why, between the framing of the Constitution in 1787 and the start of the Civil War in 1861, god did not similarly inspire the statesmen of the era to find a bloodless resolution to the slavery question. This would mean that either god could not do so within that 74 year span, or he could, but chose to withhold the answer from the minds of antebellum politicians and made the war inevitable.
Cruz also sees the benevolent and guiding hand of god in the most destructive war in history, World War II. Once again, god apparently cared enough to ensure that the U.S. prevailed, but not before some 50 million unfortunate souls perished, including some six million Christ-rejecting Jews, which according to Cruz’s theology have been roasting in hell for the last seven decades with only an eternity more to go.
As for the Cold War, to say it was won without firing a shot is to discount every one of the innumerable proxy wars that were justified by the U.S. and the Soviet Union on the grounds that it was part of a global geopolitical chess game of good against evil. Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and other countries saw the two superpowers either take up arms directly in them or support proxy armies there to do their ideological bidding. Most of the devastation, of course, wasn’t suffered by Americans or Russians, but the pawns of the developing world who’d been sacrificed in great numbers. Not a shot fired? Tell that to those people in the aforementioned countries old enough to remember the destruction wrought by the Cold War god allowed to rage for 50 years until he installed Saint Ronald at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Perhaps god didn’t feel The Gipper was ready in 1976, or maybe god wanted to punish America with four years of Jimmy Carter).
As illogical as Cruz’s claims are, they find a parallel in the very of founding of Christianity. Faced with a species tainted with the wickedness of Original Sin, one day after thousands of human generations had come and gone, god chose to rectify this in the best way he could conceive: vicariously through a brutal crucifixion in ancient Judea of his own son, which was actually god himself. And so, as if by magic, humans were redeemed of their inherently wicked ways so long as they accepted Jesus as their personal savior.
By now it should be clear that god is either incompetent or not as loving as Cruz and his Christian brethren think. Perhaps god is both. Or perhaps he’s malevolent. Or perhaps he’s at least occasionally apathetic.
Or perhaps he doesn’t exist at all.
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