Monday, August 16, 2010

How Many Must Die for it NOT to be a Miracle?

There was a story today about an airline crash on a Colombian island.
BOGOTA, Colombia — A Boeing 737 jetliner with 131 passengers aboard crashed on landing and broke into three pieces at a Colombian island in the Caribbean early Monday. The region's governor said it was a miracle that only one person died.
I wonder if the family of the one person who died thinks it was a miracle?  I wonder what that one person did to not have God save him when he so readily intervened in saving the life of 130 others.

Here is a story on a plane crash in Libya where the sole survivor was an 8 year old boy.
Afriqiyah Airways confirmed on its website late Wednesday that the other 92 passengers and 11 crew members were killed when the plane crashed while trying to land at the Tripoli International Airport.
Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, said the child's survival, "given this tragic event, is truly a miracle."
I wonder if the families of all the other people who died think it was miracle?  What was so special about this child that God intervened on that day to save him and let all the others die a horrible and painful death amongst the flames of the wreckage.

Finally, we have a story I'm sure you all remember, the "Miracle on the Hudson."
NEW YORK — With both engines out, a cool-headed pilot maneuvered his crowded jetliner over New York City and ditched it in the frigid Hudson River on Thursday, and all 155 on board were pulled to safety as the plane slowly sank. It was, the governor said, "a miracle on the Hudson." One victim suffered two broken legs, a paramedic said, but there were no other reports of serious injuries.
So, for those of you keeping score at home, let's review:

  • Plane crashes, all die except one.  Miracle!
  • Plane crashes, all live except one. Miracle!
  • Plane crashes, all live.  Miracle!
  • Place crashes, all die.  No miracle.  Unless, of course, it was a plane full of Haitians, atheists, or Muslims.  In that case, Pat Robertson would likely call it a miracle.
It would seem a very low threshold to declare a miracle.

We are constantly hearing about how the new Islamic Center in Manhattan is slap in the face to the feelings of the surviving families, and given the scope of the tragedy, they are justified in their bigotry.  Is it any less callous, as the sole survivor of a plane crash, to declare your life "a miracle" and yet there is no thought given to how the surviving families feel about it?  Is it any less callous to declare a miracle where only a single person died?  Where is the outrage for the feelings of these surviving families?

What may be even worse is that a number of those families will, in the mourning of their loss, state that "it was his time to go," or "God must have plans for him."  Why?  Is it the belief that our lives are predestined and when our number comes up, it comes up, and there is nothing we can do about?  It seems like this may be a testable hypothesis.  Let's get 10 volunteers who believe their life is predestined by God, dress them in dark clothes at night, blindfold them, and have them walk across a busy street.  How many of those 10 do you think would go for it?  I bet none.

1 comment:

  1. Yesterday, I was just about to start my car when I dropped my keys. Annoyed, I retrieved them from my floorboard, started the car, and went on my way, delayed by only perhaps three seconds. Just a block up the street, a little kid darted out into the street in front of me. Wasn't even close. I didn't even have to brake, though I did just in case. All because I dropped my keys and delayed my trip by three seconds. It's a miracle.

    Crime Dog