If I had woken up from a coma a couple of weeks ago, forgetting my run from religion or religious beliefs, I would be under the assumption that God has been pretty good to us. I would also be under the assumption that Trump is his polar opposite. I have been reminded almost daily online and even offline.
A bible was found untouched amid tornado wreckage in Mississippi, opened to a page that read “God is our refuge”
One person took photos in the church after the storm passed, noticing the Bible on the pulpit. This can all be viewed by clicking the link above. It has to be said after looking at his images, the whole church seems to have withstood the storm. It wasn’t hurtling hundreds of feet through the sky, only to end up on the lawn of a family that just lost their house and providing divine support at a time of need. Not that this would render it immune from further criticism by any rational thinker. It survived because the building around it did.
“No building was left untouched,” Wilemon told CNN. “So many appear to be total losses.”
I ask Wilemon, what part of this makes it a comforting story? Depending on the time of day, the church may have been the only empty room. It is the buildings around it that needed support. It seems, in this case, that God prioritizes anything set up as a worshiping tool. Even if the followers outside of church are vulnerable to injury or death as a result of debris and fallen infrastructure, those that make it through will always have a facility to dedicate their lives to God. The day we detach ourselves from our chosen deity is the day we realize that we aren’t his pride and joy. He is.
To let a tornado- actually, scratch that. To create a tornado in the first place, let it rip through the center of a town or city and then destroy almost everything other than the building that allows worship, is an incredibly self-centered move. Picture Donald Trump in a similar yet thankfully fictional scenario*. He has created enough tension between nations to have provoked a nuclear attack. The warheads are launched, Trump orders the contents of each and every ‘Trump’ hotel, business, tower and place of residence to be placed into a shelter. How would the population of such a disaster react to Trumps possessions being treated with a sense of urgency, only to find their own homes and families ripped to shreds? Pride? Appreciation? Love for the President?
The President would have to step up his egotistical game a level or two to be hated any more than he could be in this scenario. So why do we love hearing stories of untouched Bibles in the rubble of devastated towns, crosses emerging in the ruins of skyscrapers and the Virgin Mary appearing in dissipating clouds after a hurricane? It seems this father figure gives us comfort. A deity failing to keep us safe, or worse, putting us in a difficult situation is better than no deity at all, so long as he throws us a bone every now and then.
Another inspiration for this post comes after the devastating plane crash that killed most of the Chapecoense football team on their way to a cup final. First things first. The event was truly tragic and I can only imagine the horrors that were witnessed in the final moments. Not to mention the long term effects on the survivors and families. Alan Ruschel, a 27 year old survivor, stated:
“I didn’t want to [move seats] but then I saw (Jackson) Follman and he insisted that I sit beside him,” Mr Ruschel told reporters at his first news conference since the crash.
“Only God can explain why I survived the accident. He grabbed me and gave me a second chance.” (Taken from The Independent)
The act of giving this survivor a second chance means that God did not give others that very same option. The only way this can seem beautiful, or miraculous, is if there is no other way for someone to process such a traumatic incident. To lose so many so close to you must be unbearable, but lets not forget it is God that is carrying out that duty.
Ruschel also posted on social media how Gods plans were greater than his, so great that we could not imagine and how the Lord is wonderful for his mercy. Again, this addition to the post is merely to analyse how so many theists react after a tragedy. I can understand how the victim may feel this belief is necessary to get through an incredibly difficult time, however I struggle to see how theists without a close connection to the player can agree. Surely if a loving God has plans greater than we can imagine, why do they rarely have positive outcomes for us? I wouldn’t beat a child up to show him that he had Brittle Bone Disease. I would be very saddened if the child praised me for doing so.
Well guys, we are better than that, and it feels damn strange to say that. It feels strange as I know this post will cause mild offence. Some people would much prefer a God that places us in incredibly painful and traumatic experiences over a world in which no one is causing plane crashes or violent storms intentionally to keep us on our feet. Believe it or not we are intelligent enough to criticize a God that kills so many instead of having to praise him for sparing one person (or thing) in a miraculous manner. The above story of the untouched Bible is only beautiful if God has no control over the weather, the path of the tornado and the people in that doomed path. It is only comforting if God has no control outside of Churches and Bibles. This itself is very unsettling and in the aftermath of a crisis, the comfort knowing that a God didn’t press that red button keeps me sane.