So this morning I saw a Tweet pop up in my timeline and though I did comment on it on Twitter itself I felt the need to elaborate upon my point a little bit more on my blog. So the Tweet in question said the following:
“Back in May a couple of teens were lost at sea off the coast of Florida clinging to life when they started praying for God to save them.
A boat finally arrived; the name of the boat ? The “AMEN.”
Tell those teens it was a coincidence.
I see those comments very often expressed by Theists in an effort to claim that God still works miracles and that prayer actually works. As an Atheist I do not accept this claim of course and I maintain that the reasoning employed within this is both lazy as well as arrogant and outright inconsistent.
So let’s address it: Is it coincidence? Well I certainly wouldn’t find it surprising that when children are saved that it may very well be by a boat or a ship or whatever which has as its name a religious foundation. The vast majority of people on our planet are Theists. The majority group of those people are (as it stands) Christians. If you are a believing Christian and you own a boat then it is to be expected that you give it a Christian name. In this case it was the “AMEN” but there are probably other boats like the “gospel” or the “grace” out there as well. I have no idea how many boats are currently in existence but with approximately 2/7 of the world identifying as Christian I can imagine that no shortage of boat owners will have a boat with a Christian theme.
And let’s be real here if it was the “grace” that saved these teens his reaction would have been no different.
So right away it doesn’t seem that unlikely anymore. Considering then that there is a limited amount of boats in Florida and considering that people may have been searching for them it does not seem that miraculous after all now, does it?
What bothers me the most about these supposed answered prayers and these supposed miracles is the inconsistency behind it:
How many times has this happened in history when the Christian boat was not able to save the poor children? Probably more than zero. Would Christians count this as evidence against God? Of course not no. What if the “AMEN” was about to save the children but failed to do so in the last second? Does that mean that God’s word failed? No this can be chalked up to “mysterious ways” . Or what about the children who died in this very seconds where I wrote this line?
Now I am not presenting these as a problem of evil or the problem of suffering. Not at all. What I am saying is that when you think prayer works in this case but you do not think that prayer or by extension God failed in those other cases then you only take into account the data which suits your preconceived conclusion and ignore the data which would go against it.
But let us take it a little bit further: What if it was the “HSF Muhammad” which came to rescue? Would anyone of the Christians reconsider their stance on Islam? What about the “PS 666” . May it be that Satan is a good guy after all? Or how about the “MS Godless” ? If God existed why would he use a ship to save people which declares that he is not needed to begin with? That’s very contradictory to his nature which seeks to glorify himself.
If you would be unwilling to change your stance in those cases, then how can you honestly expect anyone to take you seriously in this one?
But we could in theory extend this scenario of a “Christian symbol” coming to the rescue and see how we stack up when employing that:
If God uses Christian boats to save people then that means that he influences the minds the body etc. of the people within the boat in order to save others. Given that this Hypothesis is true then we would likewise expect this principle to work with other scenarios. So if we have various lifeguards named “Noah” who as we all know supposedly built an Ark to save his family as well as animals from the Flood through which other people drowned then we would therefore expect them to all be immediately on alert when there is a child which is about to drown at the beach. If that is not the case then the Hypothesis is disconfirmed. Same with a guy named “Jesus” who sees a man beating on a woman. One thing we absolutely would not expect is anyone or anything who or which represents Christianity in any way to do harm to people in any way. So a person named Jesus could presumably never be a criminal right?
One final thing: Notice how these happenstances are touted as miracles these days. Yet in biblical times we have had miracles of far greater magnitude. Men who are undefeatable and beat up 1000 men with the jaw of a donkey all because they never cut their hair off (Samson). Jonah living inside a giant fish for 3 days instead of drowning. Jesus walking on water and pulling up his disciple out of the water to save him from drowning. Moses parting the sea.
And now what are we reduced to? A lucky occurrence which involves nothing demonstrably Supernatural, nothing unusual and nothing which cannot be explained by natural means.
These children may or may not have been saved by God. I just find it funny that he used to save people in a grandious and spectecular way in order to show the world who the Boss is and nowadays instead of simply pulling the children out of the water without the involvement of a boat, he sees it necessary to save people in a way that does not make him appear to be real in the first place once we remove our biases.
I hope you afford yourself the opportunity to think about why the world is the way it is. As always I am open to criticism. Hope you have a good day.
Goodbye from yours truly,
René von Boenninghausen @Renevelation