“Thank God!”


This is my first blog. If you were looking for an introduction, well… you can see that on the “about me” on  my Gravatar profile:
http://en.gravatar.com/natehevens

So now I’ll get into the thick of it…

Why do we always thank God for saving us?

You see this all the time.  Back during 9/11, you constantly heard stories of survivors going to church, or synagogue, or even mosque, and thanking God for protecting them and saving them.  Their families would accompany them, and every once in a while during that horrid week, we saw someone on camera saying “thank God!” and “praise God!” and “I’m so grateful God was with me.”  Even the families of victims who didn’t survive 9/11 managed to find a way to make God look good, most using that old embattled, rather pathetic canard “God works in mysterious ways.  I know it was part of his plan, and I know [my loved one(s)] is (are) in Heaven with God now”.

Let’s move off 9/11, and go to more personal cases.  What about people who, thanks to the medical establishment, survive life-threatening diseases or seemingly fatal injuries from accidents.  Do you think those doctors, surgeons, and nurses ever get thanked for their work?  I tend to hear more of them saying “I was stricken by cancer, but my faith was strong, and God saw me through.  All of this… the chemotherapy, and my survival, is all thanks to God.”

Then there’s the recent case of the Chilean Miners.  Many who were rescued thanked God.  Their families thanked God.  The weekend after, I was in synagogue, and the Rabbi gave a speech about how it was a miracle, and otherwise all attributed to God.

But I have to wonder… isn’t there at least one person who looks at all this a little differently?  How many people were saying “how could you allow this to happen, God?” on 9/11?  How many of those cancer survivors ask God why he gave them cancer in the first place?  How many of those miners thanked God for letting them get trapped down there in the first place?

And beyond that, how many of those firefighters who survived were thanked for rescuing people on 9/11?  How many of those doctors get that sincere show of gratitude from that person they saved from cancer?  Shouldn’t NASA, the Chilean workers, and every other person who contributed their time and skills to rescuing the Chilean Miners be thanked?  Shouldn’t they win awards?  Be given medals?

Let’s say someone blows up a daycare.  50 children, 10 teachers, 3 other staff.  Only 2 kids survive, 1 teacher, and no staff.  Why do I suspect that the parents of both kids, and the family of the teacher, as well as that teacher, would be in church praising God for saving them?  What about the other 48 kids?  What about the other 9 teachers?  What about the 3 staff workers?  Why didn’t God save them, too?  In fact, why didn’t God just stop the attack before it happened?  Why did he just let it happen?

People always go thank God for saving them and protecting them.  They always thank their faith.

I’m going to ask you to do something now.  Count down from 4 to 1.  I’ll wait…

In those 4 seconds, one child just died.  In the next minute, 15 children will die.  By the end of the day, 22,000 children will have died1.

Where’s God?  Can’t he save those children?

I know, I know, apologists and people of faith in general will object, saying (though perhaps in more words) these tragedies aren’t his fault?

Oh really?  According to your dogmas, God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.  So where is he?  He’s obviously able to stop all of this.  So why doesn’t he?  Some dark mysterious plan?  What kind of plan could any supposedly all-loving being have that would include 9/11, the Chilean miners being trapped, 22,000 kids a day dying, and more?  And we’re supposed to just accept all this on “faith”?

Or maybe… maybe… God doesn’t exist.  Maybe it is all random, and what happens on this planet, the good and the bad, is either the result of nature (disease, floods, famine, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc) or human beings (the tragedies, the rescues, and the cures), and when we are saved, it is not God, but the humans who saved us we should thank.  The existence of evil simply does not allow for the existence of an all-loving being, and thanking him when we are saved is futile, pointless and, I’m sure, ticks off at least one doctor, one rescuer, on this planet because God is always getting the credit for his/her work.

1http://www.globalissues.org/article/715/today-over-22000-children-died-around-the-world

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About Nathan Hevenstone

I hate straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied men. I also play guitar and sing, and I'm an atheist and anti-theist. What now?
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