I saw the documentary film, "Act of God" last night. I actually had a difficult time following the sequence of stories in the film. Although there were some pretty spectacular images of lightening, I did not like the music used to narrate the film, it reminded me of fingernails on the blackboard. What brings me to write about this film viewing today is, it got me thinking about the randomness of life. Some may call this randomness "acts of God," others may refer to it simply as "chance." I consider myself to be somewhere in between. Yes, I believe in God, but contrary to the views expressed by some of the people interviewed in the film, I don't think of disaster (natural or otherwise) as a blessing or something to be considered good in any way. I also think it is somewhat dangerous to view a lightening strike that kills people as something considered to be "good," because it keeps the people still alive from going through the grief process. The film focused on stories about lightening strikes in South America, Cuba, France, and the United States. The participants in South America definitely had a more "this is God's will" view of lightening induced family deaths. I think of these lightening strikes more as chance rather than acts of God.
In the South American deaths, the young people who died had climbed to the top of an unsheltered hill knowing a storm was going to strike. In doing so, there was definitely a chance that they would be struck by lightening. In two of the American stories the participants were in areas of the country where thunder and lightening storms are not uncommon and were also outside in fairly unsheltered areas. If we take these examples away from lightening and look at the randomness of life in general, I think much of it leads to chance based on choices (knowing or not) and behavior that affects the outcome. I don't think of God necessarily as a puppeteer controlling our lives minutely from above.
Are these deaths sad, yes, all death by any means I think of as sad. One thing that we have to come to grips with in our humaneness is that we all have a finite time on this earth and this is something we can't change or control. Sometimes death comes early and sometimes late. I guess, overall, that I just didn't really see the "act of God" connection to the stories presented in this film. I would have gotten much more out of it viewing lightening scenes and actions narrated by beautiful music.