God had a “purpose” and a “meaning” for the death of a baby who was struck by a falling tree during Hurricane Florence, according to a Roman Catholic priest who frequently appears on FOX News.
Father Jonathan Morris, who once said atheists shouldn’t be President because they don’t fear “eternal consequences,” was speaking on FOX & Friends over the weekend about people who question their faith during potentially fatal natural disasters when he began to talk about how a hurricane is just God’s way of testing us.
“Whether it’s a hurricane or some other hurricane-like reality in our lives, we get to a point where we say, ‘Gosh, where is God?’” Morris explained.
According to Morris, a hurricane “is a time in which we can become better people and focus on our relationship with God and our purpose for existing or else we can become bitter and we can just lose all hope.”
Morris argued that “if you build your house on sand, if you believe that fame, money, reputation — all of those things — is the meaning of your existence, you can’t help but get bitter.”
It’s not a bad thing that FOX News is asking these questions, though it would have made for a better segment to have a non-believer on the show. You know, to keep it fair and balanced. But it’s extremely naïve and insensitive to say a hurricane is a time to “focus on our relationship with God” while death and destruction may be everywhere. Plus, in the eyes of a believer, God is the one who caused these events — or at least lets them happen.
One of the hosts, Katie Pavlich, then chimed in to talk about a mother and baby who were both killed when a tree fell on their home during the hurricane.
“How do people keep their faith when it feels like the whole world is crumbling?” Pavlich asked.
Morris agreed that victims of the storm are saying, “God, give us meaning.”
“And I believe there is meaning,” Morris promised. “I believe there is life after death. I believe there is salvation and redemption offered to us if we accept that.”
“And of course, innocent life like this as a child, we can have great confidence that God, of course, will have mercy and that there is hope, there is life after dead,” he added.
“So many people say in a situation like this, ‘Gosh, so many people came to my aid,’” Morris concluded. “That is also tapping into God’s purpose for situations like this.”
It’s hard to see how anyone could find that comforting. A mother and her daughter died because of a natural disaster, and Morris immediately jumps to the imaginary silver lining. His “great confidence” that God would have mercy on a child who died without accepting Jesus is not comforting. These are the times when it’s reasonable to ask why God would need to kill innocent people as part of any divine plan or to question your beliefs altogether.
It’s also not helpful to say God has a “purpose” for killing a baby or that the child’s death has “meaning” to his particular god. It suggests his God is a bloodthirsty monster who can only convince people to love him by destroying lives and property. Here’s an idea: Why not just make an in-person appearance instead?
Finally, if people help you after you lose everything (including your loved ones), that not proof of “God’s purpose.” It’s proof of the power of humanity — and sounds an awful lot like Humanism to me.