4/30/14

Clinging to God in the Face of Tragedy

A tornado near Seymour, Texas
A tornado near Seymour, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With some bad tornadoes producing death and destruction in Mississippi and elsewhere in the American bible belt recently, I suspect we have all seen the prayer requests and the claims that some sort of god spared one's life (while one's neighbors were not so fortunate). I find such sentiments quite repugnant, and I know I am not alone in this view. All the focus on how somebody was saved by some sort of god is a slap in the face to everyone who experienced tragedy.

Godless in Dixie has written an excellent post articulating why many of us have such negative reactions to this sort of god groveling. If you have not already done so, be sure to read Why Praising God in the Storm Should Make Your Stomach Turn. An excerpt:
Those who survived will testify that they prayed and that God spared them. The death of their next door neighbor will sadden them, but it will not lessen their conviction that their prayers made some kind of difference in their circumstances. We won’t hear from the ones whose prayers for salvation went “unanswered,” so this scenario sets up the survivors for a kind of confirmation bias which assures them that “prayer works.” Since their surrounding culture overwhelmingly endorses this belief, very little will work against this conviction, and this belief will grow stronger through this tragic experience.
Of course, the local Christians utilize this process for far more than natural disasters. As Godless notes, we also see it with car accidents, illness, and all sorts of other scenarios.

Stomach turning? You better believe it!

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