I was watching the news a short while ago, and they were discussing the recent deadly tornadoes down in Joplin.  They were reporting on supposed happy endings that have come out of the tragedy, and something in particular caught my attention.

 

They followed up with a man they first met last week.  He is getting married today.  Last week after the tornado, he and his fiance were out and about trying to find friends and family.  They were lucky enough to not have any of their loved ones killed.  Some of the survivors had put out signs saying "God Saved Us" and "God Bless Joplin."  This really disturbed me.  I can understand being glad that your own loved ones are alive and well, but what about all those who died?  "God" did not bless Joplin, because in the next clip there was a woman talking about how she spent four hours in the morgue just helping to identify the dead.  So what does that mean?  God blessed only a select few Joplin citizens, or he chose a select few to kill?  The guy's fiance said something to the effect of there's nothing like a near death experience to strengthen your love for someone.  So they're getting married today and moving on with their happy ending, while many of their neighbors are holding funerals.

 

I'm not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to enjoy their happiness just because others are suffering.  There will always be suffering in the world.  But I can't stand it when people claim that God is the source of that happiness, instead of seeing the reality that random things happen in life.  Sometimes good, sometimes bad.  Sometimes it happens to you and sometimes it happens to others.  It has nothing to do with being  "blessed."  But according to these folks, the reason they're happily walking down the aisle today is because God was merciful enough to spare their lives.  Religious people love this kind of ridiculous rationalization of random events.  If something good happens, then it's "Praise Jesus! Ain't God good!"  If something bad happens, then it's "The work of the devil!" "Get behind me Satan!"  What an oversimplified, convenient, and infantile view of the world.  Completely devoid of any intellectual curiosity and independent thought.

 

I've had this kind of thing happen in my own life.  A few years ago, I went through a very difficult personal situation.  I'm not too proud to say that it was an emotional pain that brought me to my knees.  I tried to discuss it with my mother, and instead of her really listening to me she just spouted her typical "give it to God" type of advice.  "God loves you.  This ain't nothing but the devil."  Huh?  Ma, you do realize that makes no sense, right?  I remember being told as a child that I wasn't supposed to question God (even as a young child I knew there were some shenanigans going on, but I wasn't able to completely grasp it nor articulate what I felt at that age).  As an adult, I told my mother that I never agreed with her about not questioning God.  Back when I still kinda/sorta believed  (or at least wanted to believe), I was questioning him all the time.  I told her that I constantly questioned God.  Her response -- "Well, you can question him, but that doesn't mean he's going to answer you."  Sadly, she didn't even see that her own statement was an argument for NOT believing instead of believing.

 

As much as I love my mother, she is firmly in the "God saved us" camp.  After all, many people survived the tornado.  Many people are still walking around and breathing today.  So it's ok that one family gets to celebrate at a wedding while another mourns at a funeral.  It's not only ok, but we should rejoice about it and be grateful, because God made it so.  It's not our place to question why.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Samantha. Close relatives have suffered the same kind of indoctrination faith based institutions have been hawking for millennia. The check your mind at the door kind of stuff.
Because of the holes in their belief system they must deny any proof to the contrary wherever they find it to feel certain of their purpose and heading. At the end of the day they know nothing of the cause or nature of anything and yet feel security in this ignorance.
The small picture is what captivates some people. This provides less of that lost feeling everybody in the faith based community wants big sock puppet God in the sky to fix for them. Unprepared to face their own nature, the faith based can only imagine a parent surrogate to fix things for them. It becomes a hustle to maintain this projection of inner potential to an external avatar. These folks have no pull down menu, no tool bar and no undo. The atheist software upgrade is available but they have to download and launch it as you have.
Nice software analogy.
It's fear that drives them to rationalize in this manner. I have yet to experience personal lost from my immediate family, but I hope I don't shroud myself in religion while mourning should I lose a loved one. The fear of the unknown is real but it shouldn't be used as an excuse to believe in superstition.
God gets a free pass on all life shattering events. People search for the "silver lining" in every dark cloud rather than understand there is magical force between good fortune and disaster. An omnipotent God should know of impending disaster and acted preemptively to stop it. In fact, none should even know they dodged a bullet, but the Christian needs something to brag about. Actually, it's followers are the ones needing this bragadocious palavering. Of course, the tornado that hit Joplin might have been intended for Pittsburg, KS which is about an hour away, but some evangelist like Pat Robertson might have prayed it away not knowing they sent to Joplin.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply.  I agree with pretty much all of your sentiments.

Minute to Minute -- yes, God does indeed get a free pass.  It never made sense to me why an all-knowing, all-powerful God would just sit back and just let horrible things happen to his own (supposedly) creation, allowing all kinds of pain and suffering and doing nothing to intervene.  Whenever I've tried to have this type of discussion with Christians, they immediately become defensive.  They come back with something like you're supposed to count your blessings, things could always be worse, etc.  When something really bad happens, they either claim that it's the devil or God is teaching you a lesson.  How hateful is that?  It makes about as much sense as a parent seeing their child playing in the street, but just standing by and letting him get hit by a car instead rushing over to save him because, well, he's gotta learn.  If the kid survives, I'm sure he will think twice about stepping into the street again.  But what a price he had to pay for that lesson.

Prayer is like whim or dream. We science fiction enthusiasts recall what happened to the Cruelly when they pushed for the elimination of all instrumentality. They wiped themselves out with"monsters from the id." (Forbidden Planet.)
Prayer is like whim or dream. We science
fiction enthusiasts recall what happened to the
"Crell" when they pushed for the elimination
of all instrumentality. They wiped themselves
out with"monsters from the id." (Forbidden
Planet.)
▶ Re
You think what your mom said is bad? Check out what mine said in my situation. A while back when I was a bit younger (in my teens) I was feeling really depressed and I told my mother that I felt like killing myself. Instead of trying to find out why or the very least cheer me up, she told me that I shouldn't kill myself because I would go to hell. Seriously? Your child says something like that and that's the most comforting thing you can say?
Robert - I'm really sorry you went through that.  Unfortunately, I can relate as I've been through something similar.  My mother told me my life wasn't mine to take.  It's was God's, as he's the one who gave me life.  It's as if they're programmed to think nothing, do nothing, and say nothing without somehow tying it back to God.  I told my mother I felt that she was choosing religion/God over trying to help her own child.  She became upset and defensive and talked to me with an attitude.  That happened every time I tried to talk to her about anything difficult that I was going through.  I had to take a break from her for a while.  I was already an adult and we lived in different states so it wasn't difficult for me to distance myself from her.  I know some people will think that's wrong, after all she is my mother.  But I couldn't deal with it anymore.  I felt no true compassion from her at the time.  Essentially, I felt that she thought everything I was going through, the pain, depression, etc. was because I needed a closer walk with God.  Everything will be fine if you just lift it up in prayer, let go and let God, have blind faith and trust that he will get you through it.  Although I have resumed communication with my mother, I learned my lesson a few years ago and I never discuss any problems that I  may be having with her anymore.  Also, many in the black community have a hard time accepting or acknowledging any type of mental health issues in their loved ones.  But that's another topic for another day and another forum.

The exact same thing happened to me yesterday.

I was telling my father about how I had a psychiatrist appointment tomorrow (or today, rather) because my psychologist recommended that I be put back on my medicine for psychotic depression. He asked me why that was necessary if my symptoms were improving (he doesn't really know because I don't tell him anything; everything I say to him is subject to a lecture that I've already heard at least 4 times) and I gave him a progression of my symptoms since January. These progressed from paranoid psychosis in January and February to severely depressed and suicidal in March, then I was fine in April but started to get worse in May. He says (fussing, in a damn public place where people can hear us!!!), "Ok. Do you believe in the Bible? Do you know you will go to Hell (already there, Dad)? Going to Hell forever, who that's gon help?" before continuing in his usual manner, giving me solutions and such to a suicide problem I don't have anymore (the man's IQ, I estimate, is no more than 85, logical thinking isn't his forte). I should have countered his question with "Do you believe in the Lord of the Rings books? The were written by men just like the Bible was!" but I didn't feel it was the best decision to make at the time. It won't happen again though.

But anyway, I feel your pain. That's the state of mind religion puts people in; thinking that the best way to MAKE your child appreciate life is to make him scared shitless to die. That and of course the old diatribe about people who are doing much worse. Why should I ignore my bullet wound just because the guy next to me got his arm cut off?

Hi Albert.  I'm sorry to hear about what you've been going through.  It is never easy discussing these types of issues, especially with people who simply refuse to acknowledge that what you feel is valid even if they don't understand it.

I worked with a young lady a few years ago whose teenage cousin committed suicide.  My co-worker is Christian, and every once in a while she would start with one of her "the Bible says" stories, but for the most part we were cool.  Anyway, after her cousin killed himself, she told me that there were some relatives at the funeral who actually came up to the kid's mother and told her that they were sorry he was going to hell for committing suicide.  Some of them went on about how "black people don't do that."  Well, obviously your stereotype is wrong considering you're at the funeral of a black person who did.  These were supposedly good, God-fearing, Christian people, and relatives at that.  That's how they chose to comfort a mother who was mourning the loss of her child.  I will never understand how some people can be so brainwashed and completely removed from basic common sense.

I swear to god, god ain't got nothing better to do than go around attacking people at random. Dude's gotta be bored out of his mind. What better way to kill time than killing folks. I mean face it - the man's got eternity against him. He's been there, done that, been there, done that again, and again, and aga...you get the point.

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