Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

God Made Dirt


Let’s lighten things up a bit.  Some things are very puzzling.  Real conundrums.  Recently I participated in(mostly listened to) this conversation with GoodFriend and her daughter.  We went out to dinner and GoodFriend’s daughter had been camping at a music festival and was telling us about it.  The following ensued:

GF:  Camping’s not my thing.  When and how did you take a bath?

D:  It’s not that bad.  I just took a bath when I got home.  Y’know that saying, God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt.

Me:  (laughing) What? No, I’ve never in my life heard that.

GF:  I’ve never heard that either.  What does that even mean?

D:  You know! Kids in school said it all the time.  If someone was getting picked on about BO they would say it.  God made dirt so it can’t be bad.  Dirt never hurt anything.  So even if they never took another bath it wouldn’t hurt.  That’s as old as dirt.  How can you not have heard that?

GF:  Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

D:  When the kid would say that I’d just say, “God made cancer too.  Do ya want some of that?”

GF:  God didn’t make cancer.

D:  Sure he did.

Me: Well if he made everything else…

GF:  God didn’t make cancer.

Me:  How’d it get here?

GF:  It’s consequences.

Me:  How come good people get it?

GF:  Because we live in a fallen world.

D:  Cancer is mutated cells.

Me:  So they evolved?

D:  Well, yeah.

GF: No, cancer is consequences of living in a fallen world.

Me: Lemme make sure I understand this.  So God made all the good stuff, and if it isn’t good it’s consequences.  But God didn’t make the consequences.  The consequences evolved.

GF:  I guess.

I found this conversation puzzling.  Now, lest you think I’m poking fun at GoodFriend, I am.  But I’m poking fun at myself, too.  I used to rationalize the bad stuff in exactly the same way.  In fact, I’m sure I’ve heard some preaching to this effect.  They’d never call what they are saying about diseases evolution, but that’s exactly what they’re describing.  Why didn’t I see that before?


21 thoughts on “God Made Dirt

  1. In other words, God takes credit for the good things but shrugs off responsibility for bad things like cancer. How convenient.

    As a gardener, though, I have to agree that dirt is a divine creation. 🙂


  2. It is amazing how easily we would shift blame from or praise to God as believers. No wonder why He always seemed perfect to us. 😉


  3. I love those types of conversations and, of course, living as I do in the Bible Belt, I’ve had many.

    I’m always reminded of Bacon’s observation: “A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.”

    Or maybe not.


    • Hmmm…maybe he’s right about the whole philosophy thing, if philosophy was all we had. Add a little science and it changes the philosophy or at least forces a choice about it.


  4. I had a conversation with a friend around the time of the last big swine flu outbreak. I mentioned that I’d been taught not believe in evolution and he said, “What do they think swine flu is? It did not exist, and now it does. It evolved.”

    I hadn’t thought of it that simply before.


  5. Funny, how even the most benign of conversations can take a turn into the theological deep end.


  6. Try talking with a five year old sometime. I came into his room because he was shouting. He was holding half of something he’d just created out of Trio blocks, and the other half was broken on the floor, and he was absolutely berating God for making his project fall apart. Because he hadn’t done it, so clearly God had.


    • Just out of curiosity, how did that conversation go?

      In my mind:

      FYO: Why did you break my Trio blocks, God? What a mean, mean thing to do! I hate you!

      MM: Hey, hey. Calm down now, FYO. God didn’t break your blocks. It must have been an accident.

      FYO: No, it had to be God. He hates me! Why else would he break them? I didn’t do it! I was just sitting here and…

      MM: No, God couldn’t have done it. God doesn’t do things. He can’t do things. He’s powerless.

      FYO: What?!? Impossible! He’s God!

      MM: Well…actually….he’s not real. He’s in our imagination.

      FYO: No way!

      MM: Way!

      FYO: So, God doesn’t get angry and do things to people?

      MM: Nope, impossible!

      FYO: Whew! What a relief.

      …as he goes back about his business building another awesomely awesome creation.

      But that’s just in my head.


      • ::snerk:: If I’d answered, that’s about where I’d have gone. But no, I just left it. I figure, if God really is in charge of everything, then He gets to take the blame as well as the praise.


  7. Hmmm, presumably rational thinking was consequences as well. Which iswhy we shouldn’t rely on “human reason.”


  8. God would make a great politician. Everything good is his doing and everything bad is the other guy’s fault. Maybe that’s why all of our politicians have a god complex.


  9. I’d like a science-oriented atheist to write a post on all the scientific advances and diseases and cures we owe to evolution. You know, so I can throw it on the creationist’s faces when I get the chance.


  10. Over and over again I hear Christians praising god for something good and accepting the bad. I wonder how a monther in Africa feels when her baby dies because of drought. The god of the bible plan was for this baby to die? What an unloving god that is!


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