More often than not when a Christian has a close call with death or destruction, he attributes to God’s intervention the sparing of his life and property. When a tornado levels a town, kills dozens and miraculously spares a house and a child, there is a chorus of voices thanking God for safeguarding them. Not a question is ever raised as to why God, who could have saved the town and all in it, decided to level the town but chose to save the house and child. If one ventures any explanation, it usually is to the effect that God knows best and that what He has done is part of His plan, a plan of infinite dimensions and consequences and therefore beyond man’s understanding.

Pat Robertson, an evangelist with a national reputation and a member of the Christian Coalition, once declared that he had by prayer caused God to divert a hurricane from out of the Atlantic that was headed for Virginia Beach, VA, the headquarters of his TV church. He thus believes that prayers are answered and that God knows what is happening on earth because He makes to happen what does happen. Every event , Robertson would declare, I surmise, is the direct consequence of God’s will and millions of amens would soar heavenward in agreement.

A Christian, taking to task liberals, pontificated: “Liberalism denies causality — that blessings and cursings come from God through obedience and disobedience of individuals and nations.” That is, liberals do not believe that God keeps accounts and sees to it that those who obey Him are blessed and those who do not are cursed. A fair inference from his pronouncement is that he affirms causality. And he is not alone. Indeed, millions of Christians believe that God can at any time suspend the laws of nature and impose His will whenever and wherever He deems fit.

The other religion contending successfully with Christianity for the souls of the world is Islam. It is a religion with a membership second only to that of Christianity, including millions of members in this country; and its geographic scope extends from Gibraltar at the gates of the Mediterranean Sea to Timor, an island whose shores are washed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean. And it is a no nonsense religion. Muslims must ever be vigilant with regard to their conduct and dress, lest they be accosted by religious police and haled to jail to answer for their violation of religious laws. Women particularly are subjected to stringent restrictions on their dress and conduct. They are subject to stoning to death for adultery and for even less serious sexual offenses.

In Saudi Arabia the Mattawa, religious police, can stop anyone at any time and enquire what he or she is up to and punish him or her if he believes his or her conduct is against the will of Allah, Islam’s Jehovah. Women are forbidden to drive cars or to expose an ankle, much less a knee or a thigh or a navel as is common in California and wherever its fashions have seduced the mindless. Movie houses are banned and the sexes are segregated in every respect.

Further, Islam bans insurance on the ground that it cheats Allah. That is, the Muslims believe that everything that happens is the will of Allah: Thus, when Allah decides to burn a sinner’s house down as punishment and the sinner has insurance to cover his loss, then Allah has been frustrated and cheated out of His just vengeance. If He wills that automobiles hit head on to send a message to some waywards and the waywards have insurance to cover the loss of life and property and to pay medical bills, once again He has been frustrated and cheated in meting out divine justice.

The Muslims seem to be more logical in their religion than Christians. Certainly insurance is not banned in Christian countries. In fact, were insurance a mountain, America would have a Mt. Everest in its middle instead of the Mississippi River. If it were water, this country would be a vast sea with a billion policies bobbing on it. Every Christian has insurance unless he is homeless, car-less, or less everything.

And yet this is a nation packed with religious fundamentalists who believe that there is a personal God whose will impinges upon everyone of His creatures and whose will directs the forces of nature, bringing sun here, rain there, happiness in this house and sorrow in that house, all of which divine willings are blessings and cursings meted out in accordance with where He finds obedience and where He discovers disobedience —- Only to have His will frustrated and cheated by devious instrumentalities, namely, insurance companies, and by those who buy their policies.

I know of instances where insurance agents are ministers of the Gospels as well as preachers of the Old Testament — particularly the Old Testament — even though it seems somewhat redundant in view of the New. What would Muslims think of a man who claims to have been called by Allah to preach the Koran and who sells insurance to protect sinners from the wrath of God? In Saudi Arabia he would probably have his tongue cut out and his right hand cut off as proper punishment for obstructing Allah’s will. Here, he is free to preach the most illogical, nonsensical, irrational theology he can dream up, declare it to be God’s will and still sell insurance with impunity.

But in America, although millions claim to be Christians and believe in a personal God, who knows when every sparrow falls from the skies, who keeps books on all of Adam’s progeny, and has power to bless and curse, Christians still flock to insurance companies, in a number proportionate to the number of those whose assets rise above an amount that to lose would be intolerable, in order to pay a premium to hedge against God’s will and His dispensation of divine retribution.

Orthodox Christians are unchallenged as to the variance between what they believe and what they practice. They claim Jesus is the son of God and thus his teachings are his Father’s teachings. Yet, they give Jesus’ teachings little more than lip service; and, in order to ignore his moral challenge and still have their heaven, they have devised a liturgy and theology by which they can have heaven and earth, too. And they teach that God’s will is reflected in blessings and cursings alike. Yet, they cover everything, their property, their lives, their sicknesses, their wounds, their births and deaths, with insurance, thereby, as the Muslims proclaim, cheating God and negating His justice.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (, and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation ( I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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