Gods and Earthquakes

Star Foster at Patheos has a blog post from Saturday titled “When Bad Things Happen to Good Pagans” where she attempts to understand the earthquake in Japan. She asks why the gods of Shinto (the native religion of Japan) allowed this to happen… and she can’t find an answer.

We live in a culture dominated by the Abrahamic monotheistic religions. As a child, I was taught that “He’s got the whole world in his hands” – God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. Such a god has all power, and with all power comes all responsibility – including the responsibility for earthquakes.

But as Archdruid John Michael Greer has said, the world as we actually experience it is better described by a large number of limited gods than by one all-powerful god.

Although my beliefs have moved from God the Father to the Mother Goddess to individual goddesses and gods, I occasionally find myself falling back into monotheistic thinking. I think Star did the same thing here.

In the comments to Star’s blog post, P. Sufenas Virius Lupus says “Amaterasu-Omikami is not the CEO of the cosmos, merely an incredibly important artisan who does very good work on a regular basis.”

This is important as we attempt to understand the deities we experience. It is also important as we attempt to find our place in the universe. If the gods can’t control the cosmos, what makes us think we can?

Our job isn’t to control anything – it’s to do very good work on a regular basis.

Right now, a big part of that work is to send prayers and energy – and money – to the people of Japan, as they attempt to recover from the devastation.

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.