Monday, January 9, 2012

God Burns Widow's House, But Saves His Own Stuff

The headline says it all: Firefighters say Bible pulled from burned house is 'a miracle'.
"A family is counting their blessings tonight after an early morning fire in Dearing, GA destroyed most of their home. But one pretty special item was left unscathed ... Bernice Hunt's Bible was pulled from the ashes without a charred edge or a burnt page. The only damage at all was a little moisture from the fire hoses."
So let me see if I get this. God decided to burn this woman's house to the ground. He let all of her possessions go up in smoke. She already lost her husband, has cancer, and had open-heart surgery ... presumably God was responsible for all of that too.

So what 'miracle' does God perform for this poor, sick widow? He saves his own Holy Bible from the flames!

I mean, after all, it is His own word, isn't it? I guess if I were God and was going to burn down a sick widow's house, I'd want to get my stuff out first.

The real mystery is how thoroughly this attitude about God pervades Judeo-Christian-Islamic thinking. It's automatic: some massive catastrophe comes along and causes death, destruction and grief, but somewhere there's a tiny random fluctuation in events that spares a baby or a bible, and that is the miracle.

God, as usual, gets all the credit and none of the blame.


  1. I think this comic works well:

    From here:

  2. Well, He's nothing if not narcissistic.

  3. I find that this is the argument that atheists quite often put forward, "If your God is so good, why does he let bad things happen? Rape, murder, genocide, robbery etc." And feel that when atheists present this argument they often think that this disproves God completely, after all He must be hypocritical to claim He is good yet murders many himself in the Bible, allows bad things to happen to "good" people today and let good things happen to "bad" people. We rarely see one-dimensional people in real life, someone who is all-good or all-bad, so why should God be any different? There are other words used in the Bible that God uses to describe himself in Exodus as a "jealous God". The character of God is described further in the Bible, He not only shows love, but anger and wrath as well, we are fashioned in His image (although I respect that many who are follow your blog Craig and you yourself do not believe this).
    And why would I want to serve a God like this? Someone who seems as flawed as myself? Just as somethings in science are not fully understood yet people believe them, I too believe in my God. I know there are things He does that I do not and will not understand but then why would I want to follow someone who claims to be omniscient and omnipresent if I could map His every move!
    Again, I acknowledge that atheists often view Christians (and all religious people) as stupid, ignorant, close-minded and hard-headed but as a medical student I embrace the developments in medicine(something you expressed in your earlier blogs I think). I thank God that AIDs is no longer a death sentence, that through the will of God, the use of science and the determination of man we are working towards a cure for cancer. If i was ignorant, unwilling to learn I would have read the first two sentences of your commentary on the christian vs the professor essay (some of your points I actually agree with by the way), thrown up my hands in anger and written a nasty reply but similarly as you wrote that commentary to provide Christians with food for thought, I write this to provide atheists with a view from a Christian. We shouldn't all be stereotyped into a box. I agree that there are definitely flaws in the church worldwide, but I personally believe that being a Christian is not me telling others that I am better than them, but is my testimony that I do wrong but find hope in something much greater than myself.
    I refuse to be ignorant to those who do not believe what I believe, which is what led me to your blog. By regarding the views of others, taking in all the evidence that is laid before us, I use this to make up my own mind, my next step is to read "the God Delusion" and "the Watch-maker". As I thought about this the other day, I wondered did atheists ever read Christian literature (as I know quite a few Christians who have read various books by Dawkins)?
    Thank-you for taking the time to read this and I hope this hasn't come across as an aggressive attack on atheism.

  4. Susanne – while I appreciate your argument, I think you make an assumption at the very start that simply isn't true. Nobody that I know thinks this argument (that God allows genocide, etc.) can extrapolate to "God doesn't exist."

    The problem is that the Christian version of God can't exist. If you want to claim there is a god or gods, fine. But if you believe in a deity, he/it is either terribly cruel or utterly indifferent. The idea that an omnipotent, omniscient and loving God created all of this suffering is simply wrong.

    And while I mean no disrespect, I can't even begin to see how a god capable of creating the universe would be human in any way. The idea that such a being would feel the same sort of anger, jealousy, love and hate as a few tiny creatures in an inconceivably small planet in one corner of his creation just makes no sense. The idea that you worship is a human creation.

    At the risk of sounding self serving, I hope you'll read my book, "The Religion Virus." In spite of the title (my publisher wanted something edgy), it was actually written for religious people like you looking to expand their understanding of their own faith.

    1. Suzanne (sorry I got your name wrong the first time!) Here is a link that you might find interesting.

      God Can't Exist - The Vastness Argument

  5. Thank you Craig, and no disrespect taken at all. I think I understand what you are basing your argument on. Even if God existed, you can't understand (not an assumption about your intelligence but think its more emotionally based- sorry if that doesn't make sense)why someone/something could inflict such cruelty on His/it's creation.

    My previous comment about being made in His image wasn't to say that we are the same as God, but rather we are to share a likeness to Him (somewhat like an artist signing his work).

    I was reading the first few pages of your book on amazon and have put it on my list of books to read! Thank-you for your swift reply. Also, I was just curious to see if you ever read any Christian literature outside of the Bible, for example Lee Strobel or Dan Story, because like I said earlier, I know Christians who have read books by Dawkins and wondered if atheists did the same.

  6. Suzanne - I have read quite a lot of Christian literature, but mostly in the form of formal Christian apologetics rather than popular books. Most atheists (and I confess I include myself) find that reading Christian literature is not a fruitful way to spend time. Forgive me for citing my own blog repeatedly, but I've written six or seven hundred of them and have addressed many of these topics before. Try this one:

    How to go Crazy: Just Read the Bible.

  7. Thank-you for your reply Craig, I realised that that question was quite futile after I'd sent it and read that you had studied religion as part of course at University.

    Your first blog you sent about the comparative size of earth to the universe is an interesting one. I know that many atheists may sneer at this view but that only demonstrates to me that God cares for His creation. I know that your believe otherwise.

    Above is video that a friend sent me a while ago. Its a pastor's criticism of Christianity in America and the hypocrisy of the church nowadays. Part of it is Paul Washer speaking about the duality of God, He isn't just love, He is wrath and judgement as well.

    Your second blog is interesting and I would like to take more time to read about this matter so I can't comment on it at the moment.

    Again, thank-you for your replies.

  8. Suzanne - again, at the risk of sounding self serving, I made a collection of the "best 99" of these blogs. They're better edited, and organized into topics. The book is called "Is Christianity Dying," and is available on Kindle for only 99 cents. It will save you a lot of time digging around these blogs. If you don't have a Kindle, you can get the paperback version.

  9. I'm sure you would make a better god than god (and I'm not being sarcastic, I think the issue of natural evil in our world, bring to question the existence of the judeo-christian god).

    But if one accepts god, then one must accept that god has a perfect reason for what happens (and therefore, your post isn't making a valid point).
    -tim elliot


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