That Old Testament God doesn’t violate the way things are now. But that God sounds a lot like Zeus, a super-powerful man, playing with his toys the way my youngest brothers play with toy soldiers. Bang, bang! Seven toys fall dead. If they’re yours, you make the rules. Who cares what the toys think. Wipe out a toy’s family, and then give it a brand new family. Toy children, like Job’s children, are interchangeable. Maybe God is a kind of big kid, playing with his toys. If he is, what difference does it make if seven hundred people get killed in a hurricane […]? ” (Butler, page 16). From my perspective, Lauren’s questions about the relation between God and the Gulf storm are not just the raving of a puzzled teenage girl, but they mirror a reasonable mind at work.
Lauren also finds that the teachings of her father’s Christianity and the truth of the world around her just do not fit together, and therefore she sees that if those ideas were right, how could God allow terrible things happen to innocent people?
And if God does allow bad things to happen to innocent people, why should anyone believe in and worship that God. Lauren’s doubt in the Christianity springs from her inability to believe in the goodness of God, who can allow terrible things to happen to a good number of guiltless people. Yet she is not an exception of those disturbed by the submissiveness of the Christian community surrounding her, who instead of being decisive enough to make their lives better, hide waiting for expected destruction. Lauren herself is aggressive enough to deal with this as she recommends the people to act and do something about it.
Lauren starts with Joanne, who is her best pal, by telling her, “We can get ready […. ] for what’s going to happen, get ready to survive it, get ready to make a life afterward. Get focused on arranging to survive so that we can do more than just get batted around by crazy people, desperate people, thugs, and leaders who don’t know what they’re doing! ” (Butler, page 55). However, her trial does not go as planned.
Her pal gets scared by this, and the story reaches her father, who is disappointed by this and tells her, “These things frighten people. It’s best not to talk about them” (Butler, page 63). Even though her father knows she is right, he opts for peace and comfort within the community over the preparation her daughter requires. This provokes Lauren, though she does not surrender and prepares for the worst. The reason why Lauren views religion differently compared to her community members is because she did not know what American society was before, yet those in the community who could recall the wealth and comfort of the 1990s recall the past as “the good old days, ” but she is not persuaded (Butler, page 8).