Stop thanking god for the three rescued kidnapping victims.

::HELLA TRIGGER WARNING::

Ten years ago three Cleveland women, two of them teens, were kidnapped.  During this time they were chained in a house, never allowed to leave, raped, and forced to have children.  Just yesterday, with the help of a neighbor, one of them managed to escape and call the police.

And the article on CNN, and the comments, just make me wish for blindness.

“I love you honey, thank God,” Berry’s tearful grandmother Fern Gentry could be heard telling the young woman in a telephone call

And…

Her mother, Barbara Knight, told NBC Wednesday that she had not yet spoken to her daughter.

“She’s probably angry at the world because she thought she would never be found but thank God that somebody did,” she told NBC.

Thank…god?  The internet is abuzz with people claiming prayers have been answered.  Halle-fucking-lujah!

Too bad for one of the prayers, the mother of Amanda Berry.  She died before her prayers were answered.  If I was that late getting to work and getting my job done, nobody would be praising me.  As a matter of fact, I would be fired and people would be asking, “Where the fuck have you been?!?”  “Working in mysterious ways” would not get me off the hook.  In fact, saying that would probably add fuel to the fire as I’d rightly be accused of trying to duck responsibility behind a flimsy excuse.

Any of us would have tried to rescue those women if we were there when they were taken, or if only we knew where they were being held.  But god was there and he knew where they were being held, and god did nothing.  God watched them get abused and raped for ten years, and not once did the spark of compassion move god to act.  He watched coldly.  And even after all that time, it was not god who broke the door down, but another human being.

Some will say that god doesn’t intervene because he values free will.  Well, if god doesn’t intervene, then you can’t give him the credit for finally deciding, after ten fucking years, to do something.  There is no reasonable scenario where god gets all the credit for acting but is absolved for all his apathy when he didn’t.  Either god can stick his hand into the situation or he can’t.  Pick one.  If he can’t, then he might as well not exist and you need to stop thanking him for answering your prayers.  If god can interfere on behalf of victims like these, then he chose to watch teenagers get raped and brutalized instead of releasing them.  There is simply no scenario here where the god you envision, even if it did exist (which, thankfully it doesn’t) should be worshiped or thanked.

And what if those three women had been found dead?  Would we instead blame god for his inaction?  Nope!  You can bet the praise would just keep flowing.

And what of the majority of kidnapping victims who don’t get to live or who never get rescued?  You’ll note in the story that the police found the bodies of two women they thought could be one of the kidnapping victims.  They were somebody’s daughters, and likely prayed during the entirety of their murder, but just weren’t special enough to god.  If god can liberate them, but doesn’t – if god looks over the shoulder of the perpetrator while he inflicts unimaginable suffering on innocent women and god never lifts a finger, why should we praise that god?  Why should we do anything but revile and defy that god?  Where it you in his shoes, even though you could lose your life or sustain all sorts of injuries (a problem that does not concern god) you would fight to save them.  If you’re offering up praise to a god possessed of so much indifference then you are wrong, and need to think about what you’re worshiping (if you have any moral sense, this will cause you to feel very, very dirty).

Praise god?  Praise god?  What the fuck is wrong with all of you?  I cannot tell you how ashamed I am to share the same DNA with these people.  I don’t care if belief in god gives these people comfort.  Comfort is available without subscribing to a force that disfigures our compassion in this way.

Worshiping this god means one of two things: either you haven’t thought it through, in which case you should do better; or you have fucked up moral standards, in which case you should do better.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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