There’s an amazingly strident and anti-religous post on Yahoo News, “Tornado survivor vainly claims God saved him,” by Andrew Riggio. (The “vainly,” by the way, doesn’t mean “fruitlessly,” but “arrogantly”.) The man, curiously enough named Paul Lord, survived a tornado that killed several others. His “vain” statement?
“We are truly blessed. God saved us, and that’s what it’s about.”
Riggio responds, as many of us would:
That’s a load of baloney for several reasons.
For his statement to be true the events would have to have been under God’s direction. If so, describing anything about a tornado that destroys a town and kills several people a blessing is unwarranted. A true blessing would have been God’s hand directing the tornado away from the town so no one got killed and nothing got destroyed.
It’s also the height of hubris to claim God saved him. For that to be meaningful it must be assumed Lord was somehow more worthy of being saved than the five people the tornado killed. Three of the victims were girls of ages 5, 7 and 10 years old. Were those three children so vile in the eyes of God that they deserved death while Lord was deserving of rescue?
It goes on, but you get the drift. This is all true, of course: for God to save someone, He had to have a reason to let others die. But, oy, are the faithful howling in anger—especially for Riggio’s use of the word “vainly”—in the 624 comments that follow! For example:
This is obviously someone who believes, as is his right, that this life on this earth is all that there is. God has always taught that His ways are not comprehendable to us, so maybe He did spare a life while taking another for purposes we cannot understand.
Kleb • 22 hrs ago
Wooooooow. Bitter much? The author’s argument presupposes that from God’s point of view death is bad. People of “true faith”, as his last sentence mentions, are equally grateful to God for His providence in death as in life. Look at the great heroes in Christianity. When they died they weren’t bawling and begging God to spare them, they were profoundly relieved to be joining Him and, at the same time, deeply grateful for the ride they had been on in this world. From a Christian perspective, then, there is no inconsistency here. The survivor is grateful for the life God has given him here, as he should be, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t also looking forward to meeting the Lord.
Whoa! Should we be grateful to God for asking 6 million Jews to join Him during the Holocaust?
Karen W • 1 day 1 hr ago
Riggio, What gives you the right to pass judgement on someone else’s belief’s? I bet if you stood in his shoes and survived what he went through you’d suddenly believe in miracles too!
Get a life and get a real job! You’re obviously no good at what you do!
Clearly these people haven’t thought deeply about theodicy and the problem of evil. I’d love to talk to some of them about why God lets tornadoes kill innocent little children and animals.
But amidst the howls one can also discern a few voices of reason:
Ted • 21 hrs ago
The problem is that human beings respect logic. If Paul Lord was honest with his assessment he would have thanked God for sparing his life and in the same breath criticized God for killing those three little girls? I mean, is God responsible for all things or not? You can’t have it one way and disregard the other. Atheists cut to the chase; they say God is not responsible for any of it; it is just nature (probabilities and chance), no mysterious guiding hand to assign blame or gratitude to. If you think about it, this makes sense.
Obviously, God is too busy picking baseball, football and NASCAR winners to be bothered with saving Paulie from twisters. Ask any of them… they always seem to have god’s help.
h/t: Darth Dog