This past week, the 9-month old son of one of my wife’s extended family died from a terrible, untreatable genetic disorder. It was a very rare mitochondrial defect that caused a lot of neurological issues including severe, continuous pain for at least the last several months that was only controlled with generous amounts of morphine. It was described to me as “think of the worse sunburn you every had, over your entire body, all of the time.”
It’s such a senseless, tragic situation. Neither my wife or I really knew the parents, and I only saw the baby once, a few weeks ago, so it’s not been particularly hard on us personally.
My first message from this is a great opportunity to feel fortunate with the good health and well-being of my children and family, and a reminder to feel compassion for others who aren’t so fortunate.
The second thing I take from this is just how glad I am to be an atheist, how much easier it is to deal with these kinds of situations. My perspective is that it’s just an unavoidable part of existence that sometimes terrible things happen for no particular reason. It’s a tough message, but one that gives a certain amount of comfort to me to recognize that bad things in life are nothing personal.
I’ve heard a lot of the comments about how “everything happens for a reason” and that “this is all a part of God’s plan”. I’m sorry, but how is that possibly a comfort?!?? I cannot conceive of any reason for this kind of suffering inflicted or allowed to happen to an innocent could ever be justified. Any plan that includes “afflict newborn infant with unrelenting pain leading to death” as one of it’s steps in the product of an evil monster. Thanks, but no-thanks on this bridge to nowhere, as Palin once said. Any omnipotent deity that causes or allows this to happen is a monster and would never be worthy of worship or praise.