Can a human replace God as the weatherman?

Kevin Beary

COLTON — Man has been trying to influence the weather since he was created.

This has traditionally been done by worship of and appeals to a deity. In doxological Psalm 29, we read that “[t]he voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth ... breaketh the cedars of Lebanon ... shaketh the wilderness ...” Some biblical scholars believe that this psalm was originally a hymn to Baal Hadad, the Canaanite god of rain and storm — i.e., of the weather.

Hebrew priests took this hymn, mutatis mutandis, into their sacred scripture to convince the Israelites that they could stop worshipping Baal and start worshiping Yahweh without prejudicing their beneficial relationship with a god of the weather. As recounted in the First Book of Kings, the prophet Elijah ultimately defeats the prophets of Baal and brings an end to a long drought by producing a heavy rain through the power of Yahweh.

A Roman Catholic Missal in use today contains a prayer for “the timely aid of sufficient rain” as well as a prayer for fine weather: “We pray Thy clemency, O Almighty God, that Thou check the inundation of rain and vouchsafe to bestow upon us the gladness of Thy countenance.”

But recently, man, not God, is seen by many as being responsible for creating the weather. How did the created become the creator? In his 1952 book “Witness,” Whittaker Chambers suggests the origin of this change: the advent of communism. He writes that “[t]he Communist vision is the vision of Man without God ... of man’s mind displacing God as the creative intelligence of the world ... of man’s liberated mind, by the sole force of its rational intelligence, redirecting man’s destiny and reorganizing man’s life and the world ... Henceforth, man’s mind is man’s fate.”

So it is no coincidence that today’s democratic socialists are firm believers in anthropogenic climate change, or climate science, as they call their set of doctrines. This belief is at once a denial of the existence of God and an affirmation of the human mind as the logos. “In the beginning was the Word,” the Gospel of St. John begins; though “word,” or “verbum” in the Vulgate, is a very inadequate translation of the Greek “logos,” which is used in the gospel in its Stoic sense of the animating and organizing principle of the universe, or as Whittaker Chambers wrote, “the creative intelligence of the world.”

The eschatology of climate science may be said to mirror a Christian view of the end times. The actual end date keeps getting postponed (which is a feature of many millenarian beliefs), but there will be floods, droughts, tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world.”

Repentance for a climate scientist consists in renouncing the use of fossil fuels, which will lead to the end of climate disasters and to the era of sustainability, the climate scientist’s kingdom of heaven. For a Christian, however, the Kingdom of God, which he seeks through prayer, is “within you” or “in the midst of you.”

The persistence of the belief in God over the ages indicates that there is a permanent place in the human psyche for such a belief, a space that must be filled by something when God is given his walking papers. But the human mind as the incarnate logos has proved an inadequate substitute for God. The Soviet communists tried for generations to stamp out Christianity in Russia but were ultimately unsuccessful, and now Russian Orthodoxy is stronger there than ever.

Every traditional Christian liturgy can be seen as an elaboration of one prayer: Lord have mercy, Kyrie eleison, Gospodi pomilui. It is the core of the famous Jesus Prayer, the prayer of the heart: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Climate science demonstrates the ineradicable need humans have for God the Creator, whom they can reverence and petition, even when they deny his existence.

Kevin Beary is a Colton resident. He is a retired English professor who taught at the University of Florence in Italy.

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(15) comments

Newsjunkie39a

Granting an individual the pulpit of columnar space is normally regarded as an act of respect for his or her views. In Mr. Beary’s case, his chief virtue seems to be the ability to fill otherwise empty space.

Nice_Commenter

The really insane thing is that Beary is going far beyond denying climate change, he is effectively calling out meteorology as heretical. This is primitive logic that is literally from the dark ages.

Jerry Moore Staff
Jerry Moore

Newsjunkie39a:

Viewpoints aren't characteristics to be respected or disrespected. It's people we respect, not their opinions. We can agree with their views or oppose them.

While I respect everyone who contributes to this page, I don't agree with all their views. The point here is expose our readers to a variety of opinions on important issues, opinions they may not otherwise encounter. This makes us all more well informed. Thank you for your feedback.

Jerry Moore

Editorial page editor

Watertown Daily Times

315-661-2369

jmoore@wdt.net

letters@wdt.net

hermit thrush

of course viewpoints can be respected or disrespected. if someone trots out a perfectly farcical "viewpoint," based on rampant errors of fact or logic, then no one need pay it any respect at all. on the other hand, it is entirely possible to put forth a viewpoint which we may not agree with but can respect.

this business about "expos[ing] our readers to a variety of opinions on important issues" is, unfortunately, an intellectually lazy dodge. do you also think the drunk at the corner bar deserves a forum at the wdt? of course you don't. some amount of editorial judgment always has to be exercised. the problem here is that kevin beary does not clear any kind of reasonable bar.

Newsjunkie39a

Hear, hear! Perfectly stated, herm!

rdsouth

Belief in human agency is not a result of communism, but shares a common source. Both result from the post medieval boom in technological progress. Marxism was just one of many social systems proposed when people realized they could apply technological methods to human society as well as to industrial processes. A different strain of this rejection of just accepting the masters fate has given you (also known as "conservatism") led to the American Revolution and the global social change that followed it as desire for democracy rather than feudalism spread to every corner. I believe God created people so that we could be God's hands in this world. And this empowerment of humanity may be God's will. I believe our role is not to ask God to do things for us, but to do things for God, and to become stronger and better equipped so that our descendants will be able to do even more. Furthermore, "Ba'al" just means "Lord." In the ancient near east each city had it's own patron "lord," and a nation would worship a pantheon of deities whose centers and main temples were in different particular cities. So the Canaanites worshiped not "Ba'al" but set of "Ba'als," like the Ba'al of Hadad ( the god of Hadad) and the Ba'al of Zebub (the god of Zebub). They were akin to Athena, the goddess of Athens. The ancient Hebrews rejected this and eventually developed the idea that there was only one God. Modern worship, despite imitating traditional trappings, really much more closely resembles Ba'al worship, with different denominations worshiping "lords" shaped by parochial human designs and respected together much like a pagan pantheon. Obsession with surface characteristics makes one susceptible to deception. Essences are what matters. Appeals to authority or lineage (in imitation of crude ancient techniques) are no assurance of truth. For example, someone who actually has a Christlike attitude without citing the word "Jesus" like some kind of talisman is actually more authentic than some witch doctor who thumps a bible and wears a familiar guise while preaching ideas Christ would have abhorred.

Holmes -- the real one

Excellent analysis, rdsouth.

Nice_Commenter

Literally people said the same thing about pain. God made pain, so who are we to invent anesthetic? Amazing that anyone can have this primitive of a world outlook.

Can we remind Kevin that Deuteronomy 22:13-21 says if a woman has been found to have premarital sex the marriage is invalid and the woman should be stoned to death? This seems to have implications for President Trump's marriages.

Nice_Commenter

"This belief is at once a denial of the existence of God and an affirmation of the human mind as the logos." Ha ha ha ha! This is hilarious. Kevin!

They can literally see weather changes caused by cities. The heat generated by all the asphalt in Atlanta changes the weather downwind. Smoke from factories causes smog. In Pittsburg it used to get dark at 3PM at the peak of coal burning there. I guess opening my eyes is "denying God".

When Mr. Beary describes Trump as "Virile" we all know what that really means. This is yet another case of an "English Professor" writing something that doesn't mean what he thinks it means.

hermit thrush

i guess the ozone hole and and all those dead lakes from acid rain were just god's will too. i guess all that air pollution we had in the 70s didn't go away because of changes to environmental laws, it was all part of god's plan.

it is just amazing that the wdt would devote column space to this hooey.

Nice_Commenter

It is better than the time he evaluated all the Democratic candidates based on their skin color.

Jerry Moore Staff
Jerry Moore

Nice_Commenter:

Yes, Kevin Beary wrote a column evaluating Democratic presidential candidates based on their skin color. He did so in response to the fact that progressives frequently employ identity politics, which regularly views political candidates and social issues through the lens of race, gender and sexual orientation.

Jerry Moore

Editorial page editor

Watertown Daily Times

315-661-2369

jmoore@wdt.net

letters@wdt.net

Kevin Beary

Indeed, Joe Biden has expressed his racial and gender preferences for a vice presidential running mate: “Whomever I pick, preferably it will be someone who was of color and/or a different gender... ”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/28/joe-biden-says-hed-prefer-running-mate-who-is-of-color-andor-different-gender/

Jerry Moore Staff
Jerry Moore

Nice_Commenter:

Yes, Kevin Beary wrote a column evaluating Democratic presidential candidates based on their skin color. He did so in response to how progressives often employ identity politics, which regularly views political candidates and social issues through the lenses of race, gender and sexual orientation.

Jerry Moore

Editorial page editor

Watertown Daily Times

315-661-2369

jmoore@wdt.net

letters@wdt.net

Holmes -- the real one

Apparently this is just more of that "heavenly" plan:

https://www.livescience.com/taku-glacier-sudden-retreat.html

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