The regime of nonsense up in the Hebrides are demonstrating their fundamentalist side once again. The first Sunday ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool is scheduled to take place tomorrow, not due to aggressive new atheist reformists as the nutters would probably have you believe (or maybe they’re so backwards they refuse to believe that the new atheists exist), but due to popular demand instead. However, the ferry that was originally going to carry out the crossing, called The Isle of Lewis, yesterday broke down with exhaust problems, and now of course they’re all saying that it’s an act of God. One warned that bad things will happen, saying that God has the power to sink a ferry (really? I’ve never seen him do anything). Personally I put this at about the same level of fundamentalism as the Bishop of Carlisle who said the flooding a few years ago was a punishment from God for our moral decadence, or the Westboro Baptists who claim the deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq are God’s punishment for the “fag-enablers” amongst the American people. Pretty much the same thing on a different scale of offensiveness.
But let’s take a closer look, shall we? If God really wanted to show us puny humans and stop the Sunday ferry service, why didn’t he sink the bugger? Why didn’t he burn the ferry station to the ground like he did with Sodom and Gomorrah? Why didn’t he cause a massive storm every Sunday so the ferry would have to be cancelled? Something a bit more obvious than, you know, something that could’ve happened anyway. More importantly, why couldn’t he get the day right? If it broke down on Sunday itself, maybe they might have some kind of basis for claiming that God is angry, but two days earlier? That’s just sloppy workmanship! What’s the point in serving a God who doesn’t even know what day of the week it is? As it is, another ferry is just going to do the crossing. Mistakes like these do not belong on the resume of a supreme being. I’m actually not surprised he got the day wrong, Christians can’t even get which day the Sabbath is right (hint: their stupid book says it’s Saturday).
If it was the work of God, well he’s certainly fucked up, hasn’t he? As one of the commenters on that story said, why didn’t he make one of the Somalian pirate ships break down? Why didn’t he do something useful? If he’s so concerned about keeping Sunday holy, why haven’t all the shops that are open on Sunday burnt down, or at least (seeing as he’s insistent on taking the lazy route and not doing much at all) come across a series of complications on Sunday that they don’t encounter for the rest of the week? (What happened to you God? You used to be cool. You used to be all about the fire.) It’s so stupid that these nutcases think they can interpret the mind of a nonexistent entity through the malfunctions of seabound public transport systems.
But I do find this line of reasoning a bit weird. It’s a perverse version of the kind of logic people try to use to justify their belief in God, similar to in this video. You’ve probably heard it before, something like “oh I believe in God because I prayed that I would get a new job/get better again and I did.” But usually this is only used if good things happen, because otherwise bad things happening would be evidence that God didn’t exist, or that God was evil. They don’t normally mention the bad things because it works against their argument. It’s kind of like a conscious recall bias. But here the bad things are evidence that God does exist and that he’s angry. Whatever happened to this all loving God who’s waiting to take me into his arms if I just say the word? When did this God turn to doing bad things to prove (or rather not prove) his existence? How does an omnibenevolent being even do bad things?
But like I say, the ferry’s going ahead, and a small amount of normality will return to people’s Sunday lives. Hey, here’s an idea? Why don’t we let people sign a contract saying they want to observe the Sabbath on Sunday, and then if their house burns down, or they need an air ambulance, we can just say no because that’s work. Or, even better, why don’t we charge the Sabbatarians with false imprisonment. They’ve been keeping people cooped up on their island one day a week for how long now? Hmm… food for thought.