Take Sharon Stone. (Please.)
French fashion house Christian Dior said Thursday it has dropped Sharon Stone from its Chinese ads and released a statement from the actress apologizing for saying China's earthquake may have been bad karma for its treatment of Tibet.
But she said sorry! Good grief. What kind of moral imbecile does a person have to be to imagine that the deaths of thousands of innocent people is some kind of divine punishment for a nation's corrupt dictatorship?
I'm betting the Communist mafiosi in Beijing weren't the ones living in sub-code housing and pulling their children's bodies from the rubble.
What kind of "spirituality" is it that leads a 50-year-old adult to make such an obscenely stupid comment? Somehow, in Sharon Stone's mind, "the Chinese" are all identical, or if not identical then at least morally interchangeable - a billion souls in a single karmic entity.
It is the most dangerous of human presumptions to try to second-guess the great design of the universe. To imagine that our tiny minds have been privileged to grasp some profound deeper reason behind the most incomprehensible tragedies. Most likely, Stone and her bubble-headed new age comrades believe in such platitudes as "everything happens for a reason".
Well, yes. Everything does happen for a reason. It's called cause and effect. Lightning strikes, fires burn, oceans drown, and when the earth moves, buildings fall and crush people. And the tools we're given to deal with these things - the only tools that are of any real use - are our reason and our intellect and our ability to work with one another and learn from one another. We learn, slowly, to stay away from open spaces in a thunderstorm, to run from the smell of smoke, to swim and build boats and treat the sea with respect, and to build stronger homes. But we never learn these things fast enough, or well enough, and still innocent people die.
I've written elsewhere about the moral challenges that a dangerous wilderness presents to us. Here I'll just say that Sharon Stone's comment about China reveals the dangerous traps we can get into when we try to imagine what the Creator has in mind for us.
Interestingly enough, the Dalai Lama also had some thoughts on the China earthquake:
The Dalai Lama offered his condolences and prayers Tuesday for the victims of the massive earthquake that hit central China, killing some 12,000 people.
"I would like to extend my deep sympathy and heartfelt condolences to those families who have been directly affected by the strong earthquake," the Tibetan spiritual leader said in a statement. "I offer my prayers for those who have lost their lives and those injured."
But what does he know about Tibet? Or about karma?
[Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning http://asher813.typepad.com/dreams_into_lightning/ .]