Saturday, March 6, 2010

When God Intervenes

I was reading this article about the two security officers who were wounded during a shooting at the Pentagon:

Angela keeps telling me I should quickly sit down and blog it when something stirs me up. This one stirs me up.

I understand that emotions run high when a person is faced with a life or death situation...I really do. We come out the other side with this sense of elation and powerful feelings, especially about the fact that we survived. In the midst of those feelings we tend to say things that we wouldn't otherwise say. I get that. But the person reading this story doesn't feel those emotions. Well, they may feel something akin to them if they've had a similar experience or if they are strongly empathetic.

But something about this has always bothered me. This appealing to divine intervention because we survived a potential tragedy. First of all it implies that the person who received the divine intervention was worthy of god's personal interest. Second, it implies that all those people, in all places, at all times, who DIDN'T survive their own brush with death were somehow not worthy of god's protection. Or worse, that they were deliberately targeted by god for retribution.

I recall in exquisite detail the reaction I had when O.J. Simpson publicly thanked god for his Not Guilty verdict in his murder trial. It infuriated me to think that he could deliberately slaughter (and slaughter is the only way to describe their deaths) Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman and then imply that they deserved it by invoking god.

It's something that we do without thinking. "It's a miracle", "God intervened", "The lord shielded me". We should think about that before we say it. So he shielded you but he deliberately slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Haitians. He miraculously cured this one of cancer but stayed his hand when two boys massacred a school full of teenagers. What are the loved ones of those who die to think?

By advocating such a position, we conversely support the notion that every tragedy, every death, is allowed by, if not caused by, god. REALLY?!?

One other thought...if god was really there in that gun battle...Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent god had a dog in that fight...why'd he let them get wounded? Why not just take the shooter out with a passing motorist as he crossed the parking lot to the Pentagon?

I'm glad they survived. I'm always happy to hear someone escaped tragedy and I'm always hurt when I hear someone succumbed. Invoking god does nothing to explain or improve the situation. It just causes more grief.

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