CNN uncritically covers a “miracle”

UPDATE: Now Seth Andrews has weighed in on the thread, and he has supporters! (Remember, Seth used to be a pious Christian.)

___________

I suppose that if I weren’t an atheist, I wouldn’t notice things like this, nor pay attention to the media’s uncritical coverage of it. In this case the media is the liberal outlet CNN—so liberal that it swallows this story whole (click on the screenshot):

The entire story:

When firefighters arrived at Freedom Ministries Church in Grandview, West Virginia they were left stunned by what they saw.

A devastating fire — so hot that firefighters had to back out at one point — was ravaging through the building, the Coal City Fire Department said in a Facebook post.

But as they went through the charred wreckage, they noticed something extraordinary.

“In your mind, everything should be burned, ashes. Not a single bible was burned and not a single cross was harmed!!” the department wrote.

The Facebook post, which went viral, features compelling photos of a pile of about a dozen intact Bibles surrounded by the rubble.

“Though the odds were against us, God was not,” the firefighters added. No firefighters were injured in the operation. The cause of the fire is still unclear.

Here’s the announcement and pictures from the Facebook page of the Coal City Fire Department, which clearly sees God’s hand in this miraculous non-immolation of crosses and Bibles:

 

A few comments. First, if God saved the Bibles and crosses, why did he allow the rest of the church to be burned down? After all, he had the power to render things immune to flames! Second, CNN covers this without casting any doubt on the “miracle” explanation. Perhaps they could have asked a fire expert if there could have been a naturalistic explanation for this “miracle”. (I’m going with Hume here.)

Finally, why is a fire department, which is a branch of the government, thanking God so effusively on its webpage? Police departments aren’t supposed to do this, so why fire department?

The comments on this post are uniformly in praise of God’s mercy, without any irony. I could not resist leaving the following comment, which of course will be removed. But I hope it isn’t, as I’d be delighted to see the responses and the layperson’s take on the Problem of Evil:

There are over 3,000 comments, almost all of them praising the power of the Lord. (One other cynic said that Bibles might just ignite more slowly because they’re thick and paper is hard to burn.) While I didn’t peruse them all lest I get terminally depressed, read some of the comments to see how delusional America remains. Nobody questions why God would burn a church but save the Bibles and crosses.

134 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    It is certainly interesting as a mystery. They’d have to test if they’d burn in the first place. Burn a Bible. Perhaps they were made of a particular pulp – was asbestos ever put in pulp for some reason? Or were these human-made books placed in a fire-resistant area? Resistance counts a lot. Or the air flowed from the books to the site combustion – creating a draft that protects the books.

    Whatever the parsimonious explanation- an explanation that itself would simply be hailed as a god’s action – I no longer view these news stories as dopey side shows, but center-ring spectacles of Fantasyland.

    • JohnH
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      When I first read the title I thought that the bibles were scattered in pews throughout the church rather than piled in one location. That would have been surprising, albeit not a miracle without some natural explanation. That they were in a pile knocks the stuffing right out of that miracle

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        When they’re in a pile like that, they would be extremely hard to burn, especially sitting on that hard surface that looks like it wasn’t touched by the fire either. I’d be more surprised if they had burnt given where they were (though loose paper or pamphlets would have burnt in that location).

        Even when I was a believer I would have said, “Definitely. No. Miracle.”

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Closed books are remarkably hard to burn.

          If my library was on fire and I saw the brigade approaching with hoses, I’d fight them off. Water will destroy books much quicker and more throughly than flames will.

          I’m reminded of some of these ‘spontaneous human combustion’ stories wherein the body was allegedly completely consumed, the ‘intense’ heat had even melted the TV set on the wall, yet the rest of the bedclothes were undamaged. (Allegedly) uncanny.

          Not when you consider ‘wick effect’, fats from the body soaking into the covers and slowly (oxygen-deprived atmosphere) combusting, like a candle; and the fact that heat rises, and plastic like a TV case has quite a low melting point. Way way lower than the ignition temperature of bedclothes…

          cr

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

            I’ve seen tests using a pig carcass dressed in clothes and its body burned but most of the clothes didn’t.

            • Alexander
              Posted March 6, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

              Possibly materials for clothes or clothes are soaked in flame retardants.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted March 6, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

                Some fabrics, like wool, are quite hard to burn even without any treatment. It’s like infiniteimprobabilit says – if a body has a lot of fat it can burn without the stuff around it burning. Falling asleep while smoking is one way that’s suggested it happens.

      • Zetopan
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 5:28 am | Permalink

        It is a very odd coincidence is that as the church attendance drops the reported number of miracles always increases. Strange innit.

  2. Serendipitydawg
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Nobody questions why God would burn a church but save the Bibles and crosses

    I think we all know how subtly he reveals his existence to the faithful. The rest of us are happy to know that fires are tricky things and the bibles could just have been in a favourable position and were somewhat shaded from radiant heat damage.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      How subtly he reveals his existence – Amongst the anal glands of a pooch?

      • GBJames
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        I lost a Facebook friend over a photo of said revelation. A liberal, meat-world, Unitarian friend, in fact. He couldn’t abide the disrespect shown by such a display.

        • darrelle
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          🙂

          I’m sorry but thinking of that picture and an indignant believer’s reaction to it made me laugh out loud.

          I am sorry you lost a friend over it.

          • Doug
            Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

            A joke my father told me when I was a kid: What did the fireman say when the church caught on fire? Holy smoke!

            • darrelle
              Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

              “When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realised, the Lord doesn’t work that way. So I just stole one and asked Him to forgive me … and I got it!”

              ” So I’m at the wailing wall, standing there like a moron, with my harpoon.”

              [Emo Philips]

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

                OMG the harpoon bit! Hilarious! 🐳

              • darrelle
                Posted March 5, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

                Cracked me up too.

              • Filippo
                Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

                Am reminded of Hitch’s telling of the joke about a rabbi being asked how his prayers were going at the wailing wall. “It’s like talking to a wall.”

              • darrelle
                Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

                That is funny. Surprisingly, since it’s from Hitch, I haven’t heard it before.

              • Serendipitydawg
                Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

                I remember that picture, it made me laugh out loud at the time… sorry you lost a friend GBJames, I guess toast and mould stains on walls are OK but believers draw the line. Not sure how the presence of said image could be said to be disrepectful though, it is what it is, unless there was a suggestion that it was faked (I don’t remember it looking photoshopped).

                I miss Emo; he was a staple on UK Saturday night variety shows at one time and I guess his humour just chimed with me, though I had a number of friends who just couldn’t relate to him.

  3. Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    It would be interesting to know what other objects survived the fire. Did books other than the bible make it? Perhaps God is just a general bibliophile.

    Also, this has happened before. This link also provides a mundane reason why the bibles would not tend to burn.

    https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2014/03/17/bible-survives-new-york-gas-explosion-and-church-collapse-that-killed-8-some-major-news-outlets-declare-it-a-miracle/

    Further, maybe God really loves trees as well.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/photos-from-california-wildfires-reveal-lessons-for-b-c-1.4905324

    The upshot here kids is that, gasp, some things are harder to burn than others!

    It would be great if someone could conduct an experiment whereby they place a bunch of different books in a building similar to that of this church and set it on fire. See which books survive and which don’t.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Closed books are remarkably hard to burn. Paper is not just woodpulp, it also contains considerable amounts of clay-like fillers (hence the ‘shininess’ of thin paper such as used in bibles). Lights easily in very thin sheets, like any other combustible substance, but when closed they form a solid block of dense and hard-to-ignite material.

      Also, of course, not subject to melting at moderate temperatures like e.g. most plastics.

      cr

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        “considerable amounts of clay-like fillers (hence the ‘shininess’ of thin paper such as used in bibles).”

        Yes I know that paper! It’s not just bibles by the guy in a toga. Interesting! I didn’t know it was clay!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 6, 2019 at 3:19 am | Permalink

          China clay – kaolin – is used (among other materials) for coating paper, particularly glossy paper. Around St Austell in Cornwall there used to be huge white pyramids on the skyline – actually conical rather than square but they looked like pyramids – the spoil heaps from china clay mining.

          (They’ve been flattened off now, people are very sensitive to huge spoil heaps since the Aberfan disaster.)

          https://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/consumer%20products/magazines.htm

          Apparently, since kaolin contains elevated levels of uranium and thorium, glossy magazines are more radioactive than ordinary paper. I didn’t know that.

          Admission: I may be wrong about the ingredients of Bible paper though. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_paper

          cr

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 5:12 am | Permalink

            “China clay – kaolin”

            WOW!

            That’s the stuff in exhaust pipe sealant. It’s in other things too!

            Awesome!

            • ThyroidPlanet
              Posted March 6, 2019 at 5:15 am | Permalink

              “Apparently, since kaolin contains elevated levels of uranium and thorium”

              … the MSDS only mentions kaolin and low health hazards… last I looked… definitely not U or Th. …

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted March 6, 2019 at 5:30 am | Permalink

                I think the levels are low enough not to be significant.

                Incidentally, the background radiation in Cornwall is 3 times the national average. Due to radon gas from uranium in granite.

                Kaolin is useful for all sorts of things – in porcelain and ceramics, cosmetics, paper (filler and/or glossy surfacing), settling upset stomachs, poison ivy lesions, also the relief of anorectal itching and diaper rash. A bit of a miracle substance, really 😎

                cr

              • ThyroidPlanet
                Posted March 6, 2019 at 5:40 am | Permalink

                “A bit of a miracle substance, really”

                [ heart beat accelerates ]
                AH!

                SO ITS TRUE!

                ITS A ->> M I R A C L E ! ! ! 1 1 ! ! <—

                [ beam of light through nice puffy clouds ]
                [ choir : C major chord ]

              • ThyroidPlanet
                Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

                I just learned about “claybord” (sic) – artists paint on it. It feels like clipboard material. Looks like another kaolin-containing product!

  4. Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile, God fails to save twenty-three people, including three children, from being killed by tornadoes in Alabama. Strange priorities.

    • Robert Ryder
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      I bet most of those who died in Alabama believed in God. Oh Lord, why hast thou forsaken me? To make a point?

      • Christopher
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        I’ve already seen several survivors on tv praising the Lawd for saving them. They never seem to ask why their Lawd Jebus chose to destroy their houses, cars, businesses, or kill 23 others. It’s sad and disturbing, but it gives us a reminder of how important the story of Job is to cementing religious beliefs. He more Gawd hurts you, the more you know he loves you.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          Now that you mention Job, that is one of the more despicable stories in the Bible. God has a bet with the Devil, and lets Job’s children perish because of a stupid bet?
          If God existed, he should be jailed for criminal negligence or, more to the point, criminal intent. A disgusting story. (Yes, there are many other ones, such as Lot’s)

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

            One I just stumbled on, when looking up rhabdomyolysis*, was that when the Jews demanded meat rather than manna in the desert, God sent ’em quail, which killed ’em rather nastily.
            Numbers 11

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhabdomyolysis

            (* Muscle breakdown leading to kidney failure).

            Oh God from whom all blessings flow…

            cr

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

              Death by quail.

          • Posted March 6, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

            I bring it up with believers (or did when I did more debating) and many answer back that “god is right to do this, that’s the lesson”. And then I ask, in what I think is a legitimate appeal to pity – “so, you’d be ok with this happening to your family? This usually gets them to get quiet for a while.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      I was thinking the same thing – thanks God for being there for the bibles in a church but you just stand there watching while priests rape children.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        Einah! or touché!

  5. GBJames
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Jesus Christ, this stuff never ends.

  6. Sshort
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Why did the church burn but not the bibles?

    Maybe god’s kind of a “hate the movie, love the book” guy.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Maybe he didn’t like how the church looked. He came home one day and just thought that everything had to go….except the bibles – those he liked.

    • Christopher
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      When gawd burns down a church but spares the Wonder Bible Audio Players (as seen on TV!) then I’ll be impressed.

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Sounds to me like God has an issue with their ministry, and wanted to tell them to go back to the bible. On the other hand, it doesn’t look like the fire demolished the building, so I am not sure what is miraculous about the bibles not being destroyed.

  8. Andrew
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I wanted to post the same comment, that God didn’t save the building, only his own books. What a selfish jerk. But I can’t post because I don’t use Facebook or want a Facebook account. Facebook is the work of the devil.

    • Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Exactly. He saved the easily replaceable books but allowed the much more difficult to replace building to be destroyed. Makes no sense.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Maybe he wanted to provide work to carpenters – I heard he had a thing for that occupancy.

        • Steve
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          In my opinion, he more had a thing for carpenters’ fiancés, especially the virgin ones.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

            Now that is really naughty!

  9. Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    They do look heat damaged and scorched. The cross in the picture is well scorched.
    And I bet one could track down any number of church fires where bibles and crosses are destroyed.

    • Sastra
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      One might even be able to track down a few destroyed Bibles and crosses in that particular church, too.

      Those wouldn’t be in the pictures because they wouldn’t count.

      • Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Wasn’t it Hannibal Lecter who collected records of church collapses when they fell on the congregation. Now that would be worth documenting!😊

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Which kind of goes to the heart of the matter. Why on earth would anyone believe these claims? These people (Bible Belt Christians) lie with neither conscience nor consciousness.

        • alexander
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          They have been brainwashed at an early age in schools.

          • Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

            I suppose, long before school.

            • Ken Phelps
              Posted March 5, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

              I think that’s right, and that it can work both ways. My parents became SDAdventists when I was about four years old, and I never fully lost my sense of identity as a non-SDA. Despite years of effort to be a good boy, I never quite internalized the thing, and up until the point that I reasoned my way out of feeling the need to try, I always felt apart from the church. Give me the child, etc..,

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 5, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

                Lucky for you that you never were indoctrinated!

              • Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

                It was a strange situation when the best critical thinking in the family belonged to a 4-yr-old!

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        They wouldn’t be in the pictures because they would have been destroyed, no? Ashes, they could not possibly count.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Weren’t crosses meant to be burning? Isn’t that part of US culture?

  10. W.Benson
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Here are a line or two from a comment on the Facebook page regarding a photo of the burning Church: “Wow I just showed my mom this picture. We definately [sic] could see what we believe is Jesus in the smoke. You all are not alone through this.” I always thought it was the Other Guy who traveled within the fire and smoke. Praise the Lord, anyway?

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I saw a similar item on one of the cable channels regarding the tornadoes that ravaged Alabama over the weekend. A news crew accompanied one of the survivors back to his home. The place was destroyed, but there, on a rafter where the guy and his wife had originally hung it when they moved in, was a crucifix. The guy saw it and broke down on camera, praising the Lord for sparing their lives.

    It was impossible not to be moved by the man’s emotion, and who am I to begrudge him his faith? But part of me couldn’t help but think, Jesus, dude, what about the 23 poor bastards who croaked in the storm — the Lord saw the twister heading their way and said “fuggit”?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      A cousin of mine said her deceased grandfather, in the form of a guardian angel, protected her from being in an accident when a mattress blew off a car on a highway. She described how the occupants of another car hit it and were involved in an accident. My response? “He must’ve really hated the people in that other car”. 😀

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Sounds like her guardian-angel grandpa was manning the highway mattress lever in the Trolley Problem that day.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

          LOL “highway mattress lever”.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        Ah. I’ve got it. The people in the other car were atheists.

        • Zetopan
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 5:37 am | Permalink

          “The people in the other car were atheists.”

          You don’t need to even anywhere that far, they could simply have been the wrong kind of Christians.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      “It was impossible not to be moved by the man’s emotion, and who am I to begrudge him his faith?”

      Just goes to show, Ken, that you’re a much nicer person than I am. I saw the same clip, and thought “Jesus, what a moron.”

  12. norm walsh
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    This would have been a non story in Canada, if it was the skeptics would be out in mass.

  13. Sastra
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    The reason for why God would allow a church to burn but save the Bibles is obvious: it increases the faith of those who are open to having their faith increased. Same reason He sent the tornadoes. If someone dies, their loved ones turn to God for comfort. If someone lives, then they and their loved ones turn to God in gratitude. Those who fail to respond properly have only themselves to blame.

    “Increasing faith” is an almost perfect apologetic response to the Problem of Evil. Oh, it’s a crap explanation — an explanation which explains everything by placing the onus on the listener’s “responsive” character isn’t a proper explanation. But apologetics invariably involve some sort of trickery somewhere. Shifting focus from the harmful act to the elaborately self-confirming virtue of faith is a great trick.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      God does seem to kill a lot to prove a point.

      • Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        Just remember that a mere 65 millions of years ago this jerk killed all non-avian dinosaurs, to the last one, didn’t spare even the eggs!

        Not to mention how 4 orders of South American ungulates were later wiped out after he decided to connect the continent to North America just for fun.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          He does have a whimsical side it seems.

    • Vaal
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      ^^^ Poifect !

  14. Historian
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    The broader implication of this episode is how so many people (particularly in the most religious states of the U.S.) need religion or some other form of superstition to get through the day. In the poorer states in the country, which West Virginia is one, religion provides hope, albeit a false one, to a life crushed by grinding poverty and such phenomena as opioid addiction. It is no surprise that this state went overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016. Religion, demagogues and guns provide meaning to shattered lives. Higher incomes, better jobs, and better healthcare could turn many of these people around (or at least their children). Such conditions are unlikely to appear in the immediate future.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      In West Virginia everything happens 50 years later (they had a racist “Old South Democrat” governor or senator until quite recently). West Virginian bibles will only spontaneously combust in 50 years or so.
      If I have a cancer that will kill me eminently, I’ll go to West Virginia, so a can live 50 more years!

  15. randallschenck
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    If you have ever had a trash fire or have one frequently to get rid of old files, magazines and paper, you would see how hard it is to burn up magazines or books in an open fire. Usually it requires using a long stick or something to stir the fire many times to actually burn up the magazines or books.

    It is very common actually to see these items left whole if you do not continue to stir things up while you still have a fire. I would also consider the location of this miracle fire – West Virginia.

    Something that g*d and some fire fighters actually know. It takes oxygen to make a fire.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Gotta get the fire up to a toasty 451 degrees Fahrenheit, way Mr. Bradbury tells it.

      • randallschenck
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Well, he should know. I would think that any fireman/woman who has been in the business for a few years would see this “miracle” in many fires. Maybe not so in W Virginia.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Yes, 451 fahrenheit is about 233 °C, hot, but not that hot. Enough to make toast or to kill you. Not enough to make steel lose much strength. And apparently we’d need a bit more to get those Bibles reduced to ashes..

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          Probably not nearly enough to ignite dense bulk paper.

          cr

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 2:51 am | Permalink

            Actually, googling says around 480F, so not so far off.

            However, it will depend strongly on other circumstances – like how long the paper is exposed, what grade of paper, and probably how dry it is.

            cr

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Burning old flies? That’s ageist! 🙂

      • randallschenck
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Yes, how old can a fly be. What is age appropriate here.

      • Mark R.
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        In my medicine cabinet,
        The winter fly
        Has died of old age.

        -Jack Kerouak

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      It is quite hard to ignite solid wood, and books are even denser and usually contain quite a lot of clay or similar (e.g. ‘size’) which decreases their inflammability further.

      Also, wood (and ash) is a very poor heat conductor. (Hence firewalking is possible).

      In Auckland, the Mandalay ballroom, which was circular and had a conical roof with massive laminated timber beams converging to a peak in the centre, burnt out completely. All the interior and roof shingles went.

      They sandblasted the surface layer of char off the beams and re-used them for the new roof.

      cr

  16. yazikus
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Clearly God burned down the church but not the bibles as a statement against the corruption of organized religion. He’s telling them to back away from monuments of might and telling them to get back to the hippie-dippy nice bits in the book. Also, this will allow them to demonstrate their great faith by meeting in God’s natural temple – the great outdoors. This way they can also be witness to the ravages of climate change. Right?

  17. A C Harper
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Ah! A chance for a scientific experiment. In a large hall, scheduled for demolition, place a number of holy books, from different religions, on a number of tables in the centre of the hall. Set a fire going evenly around the edges hall.

    Which holy book, if any, will survive, and would that convince people of other religions to convert? If not, why not?

    • rickflick
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      There may have been back copies of Playboy in the preacher’s desk. Let’s see if they’re still there.

      • Posted March 6, 2019 at 3:43 am | Permalink

        Use those as a control.

        • rickflick
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

          Preacher’s are supposed to have a lot of control.

    • Jon Gallant
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      In Kings 18: 17-40, the prophet Elijah is reported to have conducted an experiment something like this. It didn’t involves any copies of the bible, which at the time was still in what they call script development in Hollywood. Instead it involved a bull, duly consumed by God with fire, which the false god Baal couldn’t summon. The local Fire Department did not comment, and PETA might have looked more favorably on Baal, for sparing the bull, than on God.

      • Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        According to some reports, Baal was more interested in children than in bulls.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          So you’re implying the Baal priests were RC priests avant la lettre, or am I reading you wrongly?

          • Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            Worse; I am hinting at child sacrifices.

  18. Matt Foley
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I’d be more impressed if on the same bookshelf were the ashes of the Koran, Jerry’s Faith vs. Fact, Dawkins’ The God Delusion, and Darwin’s Origin of Species. Now that would be a neat trick by god.

  19. Roger Lambert
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    “First, if God saved the Bibles and crosses, why did he allow the rest of the church to be burned down? ”

    It is pretty clear that God is telling us he wants us to burn churches down to the ground to demonstrate his awesome glory and love for us.

    In the same vein, God ends the majority of pregnancy with miscarriage in his repeated teachings that abortion is good and Holy.

    How more obvious does he need to get?

  20. Roger
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    It’s obviously a message from God to read Bibles but not go to church. I would take the message with a grain of salt since it was a message of fire because God is too stupid to talk to people though. Not exactly a rocket scientist.

    • Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Maybe the church building was ugly.

      • Roger
        Posted March 6, 2019 at 1:45 am | Permalink

        I like how Jesus took the time to stack the Bibles up in neat rows though.

  21. Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Mysterious ways, doncha know.

  22. Glen Tarr
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I think it might have been more accurate to have said “not a single bible, that was still recognizable as such, was burned”.

  23. Neil Wolfe
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    The KKK had no trouble getting crosses to burn when they wanted them to.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      I suspect they cheated a bit.

      Gasoline.

      cr

  24. James Heard
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Well then, if the church had burned down in Michigan or New York, I doubt the firemen would have mentioned what burned and what didn’t burn in the fire. When I lived in Arkansas, local newscasters always “thanked Jesus” before the start of the program😛

  25. Posted March 5, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    A less important variation on the aircraft crash…200 passengers…one survived…it’s a miracle!

  26. Stephen Caldwell
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Kind of looks like a hoax to me. Those books ought to be soaks by the firefighters water but they are not.

    • Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I am not sure. Some are curved, which may have been caused by the heat but also by getting wet. Anyway, miracle or not, they don’t look like they are still readable.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        They never were.

        At least, not in my experience. 😉

        cr

  27. Posted March 5, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Someone should let God know that with modern printing technology Bibles are easily replaceable.

    There are so many comments about the unburnability of Bibles I’m thinking fire-fighters should get rid of those clunky suits and just cover themselves with Bibles. That would have the added benefit of preventing demonic possession and scaring away vampires.

    With my luck I’ll one day be lost in a harsh frigid landscape as the sun sets with only Bibles for kindling.

    I left my own comment in FB. I mentioned a housefire here in Stamford that killed children. These people must realize that by implication God could have saved them but didnt’

    • Filippo
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      The church should be rebuilt solely with Bibles.

  28. Posted March 5, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Many xians try to have it both ways – God’s wrath when AIDS afflicts homosexuals, when earthquakes hit California, when Katrina hit New Orleans, and so on but do a 180 on events like this, proclaiming God’s power and mercy.

  29. frank Bath
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Then there are all those burned at the stake in His name. He didn’t save them.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      According to the ‘burners’, as opposed to the ‘burned’, he approved of that, nay, mandated it.

  30. Jenny Hoffman
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    A few years ago a young woman fell off of a cliff in S. Ohio. On the news, she and her family so effusively thanked god and talked about the Miracle that I yelled at the tv, “Are you thanking him for shoving you off the cliff too?”

  31. Steve Gerrard
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I find it interesting, and annoying, that for CNN, a Facebook post is sufficient to form the basis of an entire report. I don’t believe they did any independent reporting, they just restated the Facebook post.

    “Someone Posted Something on Facebook” is not my idea of news.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Pertinent point.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Did y’all see that “Momo” hoax going around? That was perpetuated by media taking stories from FB and not researching them. Really annoying as it just plays into the “fake news” narrative Trump is pushing and undermines the credibility of a really important democratic institution.

  32. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    [updated Tw33t ]: “… ultimately …”

    that word – it does not mean what I think the Tw3373r thinks it means.

    Is “ultimately” a USA thing?

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      My error – “ultimately” means, as the Tw337er suggests, “in the end”. Sorry.

      Still, I think tacking “ultimate” on things is peculiar- but that’s another topic.

  33. Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    This reminds me how in the past, before lightning rods, churges with their tall bell towers were regularly ignited during thunderstorms, while nearby brothels stayed intact, but nobody’s faith was shaken.

    And also the joke about how a man refused to contribute to the rebuilding of a church burned by a lightning: “I won’t give anything to an owner who sets his own home on fire.”

  34. rickflick
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    This CNN clip has always been an inspiration(non-religious) to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LP3Zs_V_BQ

  35. W.Benson
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Neither the church’s steeple nor the cross on top survived. Physics acts in strange and wonderful ways!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Not surprising. Heat rises. Plus chimney effect.

      cr

  36. Posted March 5, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Do we have to do all the figuring out for the faithful lot, the devil lit the fire, Her just saved the bibles! and only just whilst having a very bad day out in the field, nevermind, the WORD is saved and live for another day AND she is proven to be very humanlike, sometimes you just… FAIL

  37. eric
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m skeptical the claim is true unless the Church has some definitive proof there were only 14 bibles in the entire building.

    I think it’s far more likely that there were bibles in other places in the building that were burned to ash, and the oddity here is not the type of book but that the fire didn’t touch one location.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      You can’t blame the fire department. it’s probably all volunteer. Would be Rambos. They may not all have degrees in police science and forensic investigation. I’ll give them a break and blame the media.

  38. Posted March 6, 2019 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    In August of 2015, we had a fire that severely burned up my bathroom and caused extensive smoke damage to my house. I’m linking to a photo of my bathroom after the fire. Note the almost untouched roll of toilet paper in the lower middle of the picture. This despite the fact that bottles and cosmetics were melted by the heat of the fire. Guess I should have kept it and called it my holy roller or something. God saved my roll of TP! It’s a miracle!

    Picture

    I hope I did the html correctly.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 6, 2019 at 2:47 am | Permalink

      (Link didn’t work, Google Drive said I need permission.)

      I’m not surprised, though. Melting point of plastic << ignition temperature of paper.

      Low density polythene MP 221 – 239 deg F – only just above boiling point of water.
      HDPE (tough engineering plastic) – MP 248 – 356 deg F.

      Paper ignition temp – approx. 480 deg F.

      cr

      • Posted March 6, 2019 at 3:13 am | Permalink

        Hopefully I fixed the link. Still getting the hang of this new fangled internet thing. 😃

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 6, 2019 at 3:26 am | Permalink

          Yes it works now.

          Vitally important question (can’t see in the picture): Is the roll in the ‘Under’ or ‘Over’ orientation? Inquiring minds and Diana need to know. 😉

          cr

          • Roger
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            The answer can easily be deduced using basic logic. God would not have spared an Over. Since it was indeed spared, then we simply eliminate the impossible, and whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. The TP was an Under.

          • Posted March 6, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

            Going under is blasphemy. Over is the only way to worship our porcelain god. This is probably why my roll survived.

  39. Posted March 6, 2019 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this am example of survivorship bias? Any Bible or cross that was consumed by the flames would no longer be recognisable as such.

  40. Posted March 6, 2019 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this am example of survivorship bias? Any Bible or cross that was consumed by the flames would no longer be recognisable as such.

    • Posted March 6, 2019 at 3:46 am | Permalink

      I honestly do not know how that double post (including replicated typo) happened. Sorry.


%d bloggers like this: