There is a tendency to pin a critique of the Abrahamic Tradition to the Jewish view of history, the idea of God engineering the fate of Israel in time and place. So when good things happen, God's pleased. When bad things happen, God's angry. Well that seems to me the patent retrofitting of God onto history. Israel's history is like a man playing chess with God, when he doesn't know all the rules, and tries to bend the rules he does. New Rule 1: I am equal to God. New Rule 38: I have a right to the land of Canaan. New Rule 64: We want a king ... that kind of thing. All he knows is some moves are disastrous, the response is Floods, Sodom and Gomorrah, enslavement by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, etc., or it progresses, through Red Seas and passed clues given on mountains, through the wildernesses towards 'the Promised Land'. He works out what the rules are by playing the game, hoping that God will, in the end, engineer his victory, because God is Good. It would be OK, if there wasn't so much bloody suffering. What's that Tom Cruise film where he fights the aliens, gets killed, pops back into the training camp? Goes back to carry on the fight, gets killed a bit later, pops back, trains more, lasts a bit longer ... It's like that. It's bloody horrific! Pat on the back for Tom Cruise, but look at the feckin cost! (BTW: It's everything wrong with reincarnation, in a nutshell.) Christianity, I suggest, calls not for a radically different view of God, but a radically different view of God in relation to history. Christ talks of God not only as Transcendent, but also of God as Immanent, and not of God 'working' history, but God 'working' man, not his Salvation in history, but his salvation from history, in that man continues to make the same fundamental mistake, in seeking to write history his way, to suit his own ends. Man can't. To do that infallibly, he would need to know his end. We would need to know the Alpha and the Omega. We patently don't. That's why Buddha said don't worry about getting God right, worry about getting history right. Leave the rest to God. 'All you need', as the song goes, to proceed unerringly, 'is love'. Or, as Buddha would say, compassion. Same thing. I pin my thesis on Luke 13:1-5 "And there were present, at that very time, some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answering, said to them: Think you that these Galileans were sinners above all the men of Galilee, because they suffered such things?" That is, do you believe that these Galileans suffered because they had offended God more than you? That God was using Pilate to punish them for sins committed, like you see God as punishing Israel when they disobey, by using the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks and the Romans to punish you? Or, by extension, that God uses you to punish the Canaanites? Or that God sends a Flood to punish the world, or plagues to punish Egypt, or angels to punish the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah? Or you to throw stones at an adulteress? "No, I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish." That is, unless you mend your ways of viewing history. You shall perish because you will repeat the same mistake of assuming history is the marker of God's favour, or disfavour ... "Or those eighteen upon whom the tower fell in Siloe, and slew them: think you, that they also were debtors above all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem?" He repeats with another example to press His point. "No, I say to you; but except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish." That is, to repeat, unless you mend your ways of viewing history, you shall perish because you will repeat the same mistake of assuming history is yours for the making, and the marker of God's favour, or disfavour, as you go. (The common understanding of karma is exactly the same mistake in attribution. Karma is a moral determination, not a mindless mechanism. And it renders reincarnation as a punishment.) I think Our Lord is saying the world is what it is. The tower fell because it fell, not because God pushed it over. It's just the way of the world, like earthquakes or tsunamis or a car crashes or cancer. I think He is saying I am with you. I am for to you. You can talk to Me, and be with Me. I can walk with you if you allow, but I am not some fairy godmother or fetish object sprinkling good fortune in your path. Faith in Me will not determine your good health or prosperity. I do not increase or decrease your material happiness in relation to your faith. God is not a carrot and stick relationship. Nor an insurance policy. Nor Pascal's wager. Discuss.