272 Die. 1 Lives. God Gets Credit for…

A deadly earthquake hit Italy this past week. In the aftermath, 272 people have been confirmed dead.

20-year-old Giulio Colangeli was thankfully pulled from the rubble and survived.

One headline about this: Divine intervention helped Antonello Colangeli find his son

The grateful dad comments:

The Times found Dr Colangeli, a lung specialist at San Salvatore hospital, itself badly damaged by the earthquake, at his son’s bedside in Rome. “I am a doctor. I am a rational man. But I can only say that all those signs, all those coincidences, that led me to my son, must have been sent from God,” he said.

*sigh*

I’m glad the son is ok. I’ve never been in the same position as the father and I hope I never have to be.

That said, if God is to be thanked for the son surviving, God must also be blamed for killing those other people. I don’t see any reference to anyone thanking God for working in some mysterious way by destroying cities and hundreds of people.

God shouldn’t be getting credit without any chance of getting the blame.

(via Evolved and Rat/i/onal)

  • Skeptimal

    God gets credit for what goes right, but none of the blame for the disasters necessary for the “miracle.” It’s no wonder the fundies all think god’s a Republican.

  • debg

    This happens at every single opportunity and quite frankly drives me nuts. It seems to me to only make sense that if god should receive credit for one, he should receive credit for all. Would these people all be saying, perhaps, that the credit for the bad things that happen go to the devil?

    Ridiculous and frustrating… that’s what it is.

  • http://noguyinthesky.blogspot.com/ No Guy in the Sky

    He had a special purpose for those 272 lost souls :) Maybe it was a test. The one he saved, it was not his time. As omniscient he knows everything that is about to happen and what will happen. It is all in his plan. Never mind with worrying about going to hell. He already knows if you are going. Do not worry about free will either, you are just a puppet he plays with in his big blue doll house called earth.

    :-D

  • Matthew

    You’re right, you can’t have it both ways. Either God does not exist, and both the story of the survival and the death of the 270+ are random events.

    Or God does exist, and Dr. Colangeli can both thank God for leading him to his son, while at the same time grieve the loss of life for the other 270+.

    The atheist cannot “blame” a God that does not exist. And most theists believe in a God that has the authority to take life (or allow life to be taken) at will, for reasons beyond human understanding.

    A tragedy like this may lead some to say, “I don’t like God,” or “I don’t understand God.” But that’s much different than claiming 270 deaths means “God does not exist.”

    So… I see no inconsistency in Dr. Colangeli attributing the signs that lead him to his son to divine assistence.

  • Eliza

    Oh, no, no, free will is maniacally important, at least in this life, otherwise you couldn’t choose to accept v. reject him, & you wouldn’t be responsible for your own destiny for eternity.

    Which fits in with divine intervention…how? Wait, let me think about this a minute…

    *head explodes*

  • Pingback: Why does God get all the credit, none of the blame? | williamlobdell.com

  • Giblet

    I live in Oklahoma (yes, feel free to pity me), and we recently had a bout of wildfires that destroyed many homes. I kid you not, an article was run in THE DAILY OKLAHOMAN about divine will affecting the devastation. One man had his house survive when all those around his burned and he of course attributed this to God saving his house; meanwhile, his neighbor, who is a Christian minister attributed the destruction of his own house to God as a “lesson not to be too attached to material things.” Apparently it’s OK for the first guy to be attached to material things and God didn’t give a flying f*** about the house of the second guy (or the houses of hundreds of other people in the state either). I wonder if an arsonist ever tried that defense in court: “You misunderstand Your Honor, I didn’t burn his house down, I was contributing to his development as a moral person by helping him be less attached to his material things!” Defense attorneys take note!

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    Dr Colangeli is committing a post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy. A disaster happened. His son alone survived. Ergo, God saved his son. He is making an assessment and then fitting the facts that he wants around this assessment. His son surviving does not mean that God saved him, it is a coincidental correlation.

    Alternatively God no longer performs miracles for precisely this reason. He saves one but is blamed for the death of hundreds (or thousands) more. He can’t be everywhere at once you know, he isn’t all powerful. Tsk!

    Either way survival is a lucky coincidence. Except I don’t believe in luck.

  • Rosela

    God doesn’t –and shouldn’t– get credit (or be blamed) for such disasters because He is not the one responsible for them. GOD desires nothing but the good things for us. if you only realize that…you wouln’t be atheists. and by the way, why blame God at all if you believe there is no God? or why be affected by such articles in the first place? you may want to check that emotion…it just might lead you to God…(w/c is the best thing that could happen to you.) ;-)

  • Rosela

    to add…we grieve the deaths of these 200+ people because we look at it in an earthly perspective. if u don’t believe in the afterlife…the better life…then this is indeed sad. but if you believe that there is actually something better in the next life…then you’d realize that these people are probably luckier that us who are still alive. just a thought for you to ponder. ;-)

  • Jason R

    Damn! If my name was Physics I’d be pissed!

    Divine Intervention gets all the headlines.

  • Spurs Fan

    Either God does not exist, and both the story of the survival and the death of the 270+ are random events.

    I’m not sure they are random. Earthquakes can be explained quite easily and it is pretty logical that once they occur, cause some great harm both to humans and infastructure will follow.

    Or God does exist, and Dr. Colangeli can both thank God for leading him to his son, while at the same time grieve the loss of life for the other 270+.

    I have no doubt that Dr. Colangeli thinks this, but the point wasn’t that he didn’t grieve. The point is this: How can the saving of one life in an event be attributed to god, while the death of 272 can not? Were those 272 not worth it to god? Are all of their families made up of heathens that are to be punished, while Coalangeli’s son is the only “righteous one”? If a headline can say “Divine Intervention” saved someone in this case, why whouldn’t there be a big headline saying “Divine Intervention” causes death of 272? The main thrust of the criticism here is that is is inconsistent to say that god saved one person while sacrificing 272. That inconsistency alone should be enough to at least beg the question of a diety not existing.

    God doesn’t –and shouldn’t– get credit (or be blamed) for such disasters because He is not the one responsible for them. GOD desires nothing but the good things for us

    Then who is responsible? And if a god existed that desired nothing good for us, and is all-powerful, could he/she not have prevented the earthquake from happening? Or could god have saved all 272?

    then you’d realize that these people are probably luckier that us who are still alive. just a thought for you to ponder.

    Ok, I have pondered it. What if some of the 272 aren’t “saved” or are atheists? No doubt they wouldn’t be better off right now. Also, if those who died are luckier than us right now, why isn’t Dr. Colangeli cursing god, saying “damn you god, my son could be better off right now. But no, you had to save him and keep him on this earth.” Using this logic, those who believe that those who die are better off (and are in god’s good graces, whatever those may be) should practice their own theology and sucumb to death when they have a chance. Is a tornado coming toward your house? Better stay there and get this death thing on the road. The faster it gets here, the better.

  • Alexis

    And in Pittsburgh on Friday a retired priest assisting at a local church accidentally ran over a half dozen parishoners killing one and seriously injuring at least two.

  • Skeptimal

    Rosela said: “God doesn’t –and shouldn’t– get credit (or be blamed) for such disasters because He is not the one responsible for them.”

    I agree. I don’t think anyone here is blaming god for those things. That’s not really the point.

    The objection a lot of us have is that theists so frequently claim divine intervention without accepting the other half of that equation. If you’re going to say that this man’s survival was anything other than the luck of the draw, then you have to accept that the gods (at the very least) made a decision not to save the others.

    “…and by the way, why blame God at all if you believe there is no God? or why be affected by such articles in the first place?”

    I understand why you would ask this question. To a theist, it probably looks like all non-theists have a problem whenever a god is mentioned. That isn’t what this is about, at least for me.

    One reason I am glad I’m a non-theist is that I can accept that stuff just happens. Aside from the choices we make and the things we do, what happens is not a matter of divine blessing or wrath: it just happens.

    What puzzles me is that people are so afraid of accepting that fact that they would rather view accidents and natural events as messages from the gods, even when the message, if true, would be one of cruelty or indifference.

  • EA

    Remember the “miracle on the Hudson?” People were praising god for saving the crew and passengers. A few weeks later flight 3407 crashed in NY and unfortunately everyone died. Funny how people stopped talking about god. I made this graphic to try and make a point:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/57849478@N00/3284881003/

  • Brooks

    God doesn’t –and shouldn’t– get credit (or be blamed) for such disasters because He is not the one responsible for them.

    That’s not what the bible says. Isaiah 45:7 clearly states that all evil things/disasters are caused by God. Have you ever read the bible yourself?

    GOD desires nothing but the good things for us.

    So why doesn’t God heal amputees? Is God not powerful enough to heal them or something?

    if you only realize that…you wouln’t be atheists.

    How does realizing the feelings of a being for which there is no evidence for suddenly prove that theism is true? That’s like saying if only a child would realize Santa Claus wants the best of them, then you wouldn’t be disbelieving in Santa Claus, therefore Santa Claus is real.

    and by the way, why blame God at all if you believe there is no God?

    Nobody is “blaming” God for these actions. What we’re doing is pointing out the illogical contradictions in Christian theology. Christians claim that God controls the universe but then turn around and say God only has control over the good things. All the bad things are apparently out of control for your god. Either God is the ruler of the universe in control of everything and he controls both good and bad things or he isn’t. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. The next time one child out of 200 people gets saved in a disaster don’t you praise Allah for intervening instead of Jesus?

    then you’d realize that these people are probably luckier that us who are still alive.

    I thought you said God only made good things and not bad things? Didn’t God make life? But now you’re saying death is better than life. How can death be better than life if God made it?

  • Vystrix Nexoth

    “GOD desires nothing but the good things for us. if you only realize that…you wouldn’t be atheists.”

    Yes, if only we’d think the way you think.

    Here’s what I think: You know how you can look into your heart and see God? I think, once you realize that what you’ve been seeing all this time was really yourself in disguise, that the strength you got from God was your own strength all along, then you would be an atheist, and wouldn’t feel the slightest loss from it – except for no longer having other peoples’ views of God themselves weighing you down.

    (If it’s just one little insight keeping us from knowing what you know, then it’s just one little insight keeping you from knowing what we know. Fair is fair.)

    “why blame God at all if you believe there is no God?”

    The point is that the people who do believe in God give God all the credit and none of the blame, that they are not consistent in their views of God.

    As for death, we don’t need an escapist fantasy to deal with it: we can deal with it head-on, with no illusions. When someone dies, that’s it, it’s all over, they are gone forever. That makes death all the more painful… and life all the more precious.


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