God Allows Mass Murders, To A Point

A lot of people who read my blog mistake me for a militant atheist, which isn’t really correct. I know a lot of them, and often find that atheism is just as much a religion to them as Christianity is to those they despise.

I can understand their anger. I wrote a bit about it in my most popular post ever, Why Anti-God Books Sell Well. It’s simply a reaction to religious people trying to enforce their beliefs on others through laws and cultural norms based on a bad epistemology. I get it, really. It pisses me off too.

But, like most things, anti-Christian sentiment on the part of atheists is is an oversimplification of the issue. There are plenty of Christians who are pro-choice and in favor of legal gay marriage. And if they’re happy to let me live according to my own value system, I’m happy to let them believe in their old guy with a fuzzy white beard who made the Earth in 6 days before kicking back to watch some football. While I’d love nothing better than to live in a society in which the Sarah Palins and Pat Robertsons are totally marginalized, I’m not going to lump all Christians in with them.

Still, sometimes I’m totally stumped by the logic of believers. A recent example is a guy named Keith Lavery. Mr. Lavery is being called a hero by a lot of people in my area, and I don’t mean to dispute that or belittle what he did. He heard a nut bag shooting innocent neighbors so he grabbed his gun and went out and helped a cop who had come to the scene shoot the mass murderer. Pay attention Stephen Colbert, you’ve got next week’s Alpha Dog right there.

But watching the interview I was stunned to find he believed his reaction was part of God’s plan. He said God "brings the right people together at the right time to do the right thing." This was after the nut job killed 7 people, including an 11 year old boy he chased down. I find it hard to believe God was involved in the timing there. What he’s saying, essentially, is that God allowed the first 7 murders before deciding it was enough.

If I really believed in God, and that he allowed that, I think I’d be pretty pissed. What happened, though, had nothing to do with providence and everything to do with circumstance. A guy was in a tough position, through an extremely unlikely coincidence, was trained to handle that situation, and made a decision to risk his life to help out even though he could have stayed inside with his son. God had nothing to do with Keith Lavery helping to stop a mass murderer. Mr. Lavery should simply take the credit he deserves for being an upstanding citizen and not credit Sky Daddy with the save on that one.

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2 Responses to “God Allows Mass Murders, To A Point”

  1. It’s interesting the superiority complex of ATHEISTS, which are different to atheists, in that non-belief becomes an identifier of greater inteligence. Nietzsche was overcome by the problem of how the humans can continue to live if ‘god is dead’. Life suddenly becomes meaningless, and with nothing to replace the void left by god, our purpose becomes blurred.

    You see this in society, where the disenchanted masses wonder what it’s all for. The seek authenticity, then to discover its just as empty. Post-modernism has left us broken, and our unhappiness seems as entrenched as fundamentalist thought was in the dark ages.

    To criticise religious people is fine, I do it often. But their belief is a classical solution to a contemporary problem no one has solved. ATHEISTS believe loudly that this is living in denial, but what do they offer as an alternative? Yet still, smugly, they proclaim that religious people are doing it wrong. Sorry, religious people are doing it right, for their life has meaning, your life doesn’t, yet you think this is wholly irrelevant and not something which is a problem. Stay glued to your TV, impersonal sex and 9-5 cubicles, you’re winning vs religion, right?

  2. Howard Treesong Says:

    I’m not sure about the extent to which faith is really a matter of choice. At root, there are things about the universe that simply aren’t explicable now as a matter of fact and perhaps are beyond the capacity of humans to understand. I think that fact is a root driver that causes many to believe in an omniscient deity, and I see that argument as having some persuasive force. But to the point of your post, I myself cannot square the viciousness that has existed for all of human history with the existence of a god that actually sets moral or behavioral standards for humanity.

    Hope you’re well in all events.

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