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High-wire act
January 29, 2003 8:20 AM   Subscribe

God did it? I'm not usually one to accredit daily occurrences to the whim of the Almighty, but in this case, one has to wonder. A young man is thrown from his vehicle in a rollover crash, ejected, and saves himself from impact by catching the telephone lines 25 feet overhead.
posted by Ogre Lawless (101 comments total)

 
Why didn't God tell him to wear his seatbelt in the first place so he wouldn't be ejected? Though I do find the story interesting people's refusal to follow laws + common sense always get in the way.
posted by stryder at 8:25 AM on January 29, 2003


once at a golf course a buddy was on the backswing and i pitched a ball out in front of him. his ball struck the one i tossed and they both shot out over the course, one slicing and one hooking, in a perfect V. we all stood there gape jawed. therefore, i am god.
posted by quonsar at 8:25 AM on January 29, 2003


Gosh, they sound like a such a special family, just the sort of people that God would take a personal interest in.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:29 AM on January 29, 2003


Dude, it's called luck.

Come on.
posted by xmutex at 8:30 AM on January 29, 2003


While "God looks after his own", I think this is more of a case of "God looks after fools". Why has never been satisfactorily explained.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:30 AM on January 29, 2003


My aunt told me this story the other day:

She's a photographer and she sold a slide to some big company for $1700. They lost it. They had to buy a copy of the slide from her for another $1500.

"That $1500 paid my bills for the month of January, J.D.," she told me. "Now you tell me: is that coincidence or didn't God play some small role, looking out for my well-being?"

How can one even answer that question? The person's mind is already made up.

My aunt's a sweet lady, but even if I did believe in some sort of supreme being, I'd have to wonder whether the person who lost the slide thought God was involved in the process? What, God prefers my aunt to the poor guy who lost the slide in a stack of papers on his desk?
posted by jdroth at 8:33 AM on January 29, 2003


It's cool how God only kills heathens in car crashes.
posted by stonerose at 8:33 AM on January 29, 2003


So people who die in car accidents are obviously godless heathens on their way to eternal torment anyway.

Blech
posted by Julnyes at 8:33 AM on January 29, 2003


It's also cool how God created that special connection between Julnyes and me, telling us to post the same thing at the same time. I'm all shivery... I think I'm coming down with stigmata.
posted by stonerose at 8:37 AM on January 29, 2003


"but in this case, one has to wonder."

Wonder why? Really. I read through the whole thing and I'm missing the divine intervention angle. What is it exactly you think God did here?

a) Altered the man's trajectory through the air such that he could grab the power lines?

b) Plucked the man out of the air and placed him on the power lines? Or,

c) Caused the power lines to move into the man's path?

If the thinking is just, "He's alive, thus God saved him.", I think that's a bit silly.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:40 AM on January 29, 2003


Maybe God just didn't like the guy's car. God hates Jeeps, you know, but, as they say, "Hate the sin, love the sinner." So He sets up this wreck, see, but He doesn't want the guy hurt. He'd been thinking about just smiting the car with lightning or a falling tree or something while it sat in the driveway, but that wouldn't have been dramatic enough.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:43 AM on January 29, 2003


Not to mention that:

A) millions of fools die in predictable, mundane ways;
B) there are plenty of instances of remarkable, loving and probably Christian people who die in spectacularly unlikely accidents.
posted by argybarg at 8:43 AM on January 29, 2003


And also, in my interpretation of the article, he didn't grab the lines. From the way the story is told it sounds like he landed across a couple of lines (the phone line and the neutral ground line), and it was only after he realized that he was on those lines that he started hanging on for dear life.
posted by starvingartist at 8:45 AM on January 29, 2003


I think that MrMoonPie's got it pretty much figured out. God's pretty damn clever sometimes.
posted by jdroth at 8:46 AM on January 29, 2003


one has to wonder

No one doesn't.

If God caused this guy to fall onto some power lines to save his life, why didn't God stop the accident from happening in the first place?

What, did it catch Him by surprise?
posted by moonbiter at 8:50 AM on January 29, 2003


So, Ogre Lawless, are you really still wondering if a magical old man with a beard plucked this guy out of the air and saved his life so he could witness to people?

Or is "God" just another name to you for the bizarre set of circumstances that affect our lives in harsh, funny, lucky and utterly unfair ways?

I'll take the latter, thanks.
posted by mediareport at 8:52 AM on January 29, 2003


I had a friend back in high school that was ejected from his pick-up truck in a wild, high speed roll/summersault and landed in the bed of the truck. In the final tumble the truck landed upside down. The cab of the truck was completely squished flat, the bed however was completely fine as was my friend who was safely watching the whole thing unfold save for a few cuts and bruises. The bed and plastic bed liner had cradled him through the whole affair like a ball in a catcher's mitt. Not so sure God had much to do with it, just dun luck. He drove a station wagon from then on and ALWAYS put his seatbelt on.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:53 AM on January 29, 2003


As a Theist, I find it interesting that "miraculous" or "fortunate" occurances are the only ones that seem to be attributed to God by other Theists.

Aristotelian/Thomist idea of Motion.

Ruth 1:20, 21
posted by mealy-mouthed at 8:54 AM on January 29, 2003


Make that dumb luck, thanks.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:54 AM on January 29, 2003


So people who die in car accidents are obviously godless heathens on their way to eternal torment anyway.

No, in the case of good Christians, it means that "God needed them in heaven right away".
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:58 AM on January 29, 2003


Er, pollo, if he was saved because he didn't wear his seatbelt, what led him to think that starting to wear it would be a good idea?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:59 AM on January 29, 2003


I believe God did it. The poetry of coincidence is God's work, just as the ruthlessness of bad luck and pointless grief is also part of something not even well-educated MeFiers could possibly understand.
A good fictional example of that is Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" .
Some of you are too western. Go east, young men!
posted by 111 at 9:00 AM on January 29, 2003


Yes, people. Wear your seatbelt. These kinds of stories fuel the people who deem them unnecessary.
posted by agregoli at 9:04 AM on January 29, 2003


Er, 3F, because he was LUCKY, seatbelts save people's lives! Seeing the whole event unfold in front of him from that truck bed made him realize that driving a light pick-up at a high rate of speed on a rainy night without a seatbelt was an easy way to get killed. Driving a grocery getter with a seatbelt, not quite as easy.

What exactly does God have to do with Buddhism, 111? Or is my education getting in the way of my true sight?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:06 AM on January 29, 2003


just as the ruthlessness of bad luck and pointless grief is also part of something not even well-educated MeFiers could possibly understand ... Go east, young men!

Some practicioners of the Zen school of buddhism don't see the need of speculating about God or the supernatural.

It's Occam's razor for me, thanks.
posted by moonbiter at 9:07 AM on January 29, 2003


Just once I'd love to see someone blame god when thier child gets abducted and murdered.
posted by bondcliff at 9:12 AM on January 29, 2003


God stuff aside, what's the deal with "getting thrown" from a crash? I understand motorcycles, and cars with the top down/off, but how does one get thrown from an enclosed vehicle and wind up, as many seem to, with little physical damage?

How are these people getting out? I can barely extricate myself from my car the normal way (I'm 6-4) without getting hurt. Who are these liquid people that seem to flow out from behind the steering wheel and out the windows only to reconstitute under truck beds and on power lines with only cuts and bruises?
posted by luser at 9:20 AM on January 29, 2003


People tend to give evidence which supports their beliefs greater weight than evidence which goes against their beliefs. Like the smoker who tells you of his great uncle who smoked every day of his life an lived to 150 gazillion years. Despite the overwhelming evidence that most people who smoke die earlier, he'll focus on the one exception to justify his actions/beliefs. So too is it with religion.
posted by jeblis at 9:22 AM on January 29, 2003


Just once I'd love to see someone blame god when thier child gets abducted and murdered.

Oh, bondcliff, they do. They do.
posted by luser at 9:23 AM on January 29, 2003


Forget all this religious mumbo-jumbo. Doesn't anybody see the beauty in the line from the report, "My brother called and said, `Your son's been in a terrible accident, the Jeep is totaled, and he is hanging on for dear life,' " Thompson's father recalled.

Everyone's a comedian.

posted by robbie01 at 9:23 AM on January 29, 2003


bondliff, in order to keep you happy , some child has to be abducted and murdered and the grieving parents have to blame god ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:25 AM on January 29, 2003


A Christian friend of mine just lost her grown daughter in a car accident, leaving behind her four young children. It rains on the just and the unjust. In her case, from what I have read in the paper, she tried to beat the light and lost.

In my opinion, everyone has his or her own time to go, and it wasn't that young man's time. Even if he was foolish enough to not have the seat belt on.

I myself have had pretty direct answers to prayer, but I'm not gonna post it here because people believe what they want to believe. I am of the opinion that even if someone rose from the dead right in front of them they would find some way to rationalize it. Not trying to be critical here, just stating a fact.

Anyway, I thank God for every breath, and understand I have never been guaranteed the next one.
posted by konolia at 9:30 AM on January 29, 2003


What exactly does God have to do with Buddhism, 111? Or is my education getting in the way of my true sight?

Your binary black or white education could be getting in the way, Pollo, but your lack of education is not helping either; try a little Schopenhauer, for instance, for a watered-down, somewhat biased european version of some tenets of Eastern thought. And although I've mentioned Buddhism specifically, there are other sources out there, of course.
Moon rightly observes that only Zen dispenses with theological discussions about God. Buddhism as a whole does not necessarily follow the same path.
posted by 111 at 9:30 AM on January 29, 2003


So, wait, God was trying to pass on the right and clipped this guy's Jeep?
posted by UrbanFigaro at 10:13 AM on January 29, 2003


I bet God has "Heaven" and "Hell" mudflaps on the Godmobile...
posted by stifford at 10:23 AM on January 29, 2003


For the record, I believe in God, and I believe there are times when God intervenes in people's lives, only never in the way they think He does.

And in this case, I think this guy just got lucky.

If you follow his logic, then God must despise trailer parks, because almost every time there's a tornado, He nails one with it.
posted by bwg at 10:24 AM on January 29, 2003


bondliff, in order to keep you happy , some child has to be abducted and murdered and the grieving parents have to blame god ?

I'm from the video game and MTV generation. We're not easily satisfied.
posted by bondcliff at 10:24 AM on January 29, 2003


I bet God has "Heaven" and "Hell" mudflaps on the Godmobile...

And a picture of Calvin peeing on L. Ron Hubbard.
posted by bondcliff at 10:25 AM on January 29, 2003


So, 111, is it purely an aesthetic thing? That is, is it just more aesthetically pleasing to bin up the world in poetry-shaped clumps, rather than statistics-shaped clumps? Or is it just deep soul fear of being "alone" (despite the presence of 6 billion people in shoes just like yours), hence the need for a nice comforting deity? Just something I've wondered about people who look for god for reasons other than guilt or family....
posted by badstone at 10:42 AM on January 29, 2003


Presumably he won't be claiming on his insurance for the jeep if it was an act of god?
posted by biffa at 10:52 AM on January 29, 2003


It was God, it wasn't God. It doesn't really matter.

It's called coping, and whether someone does it through alcohol, sex, religion, or reason it makes them deal with what happens.

Because no matter what, it doesn't change what happened. You just have to convince yourself that it did, and it did for some reason.
posted by superchicken at 10:58 AM on January 29, 2003


Your binary black or white education could be getting in the way, Pollo, but your lack of education is not helping either; try a little Schopenhauer, for instance, for a watered-down, somewhat biased european version of some tenets of Eastern thought.

Glad to see that Eastern thought has taught you not to pass judgement on people you've interacted with maybe once or twice in your life and have no idea what they have and have not read or studied. Perhaps I am uneducated, perhaps I've read nothing about religion or philosophy. Perhaps I've read Schopenhauer and a whole host of others thoughts both East and West, some of may have even sunk in. Doesn't really matter now, does it? Judgement's already been handed down on me.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:18 AM on January 29, 2003


God wasn't so kind to this deer.
posted by moonbiter at 11:23 AM on January 29, 2003


No, no, biffa — saving him was an act of God. Because, you know, he's much more worthy than the 3000 people God burned and smashed to death here in New York 18 months ago.

But I guess He sacrificed them to show us the necessity of a new Crusade against the Middle East, where they worship Him all wrong. It's all part of His plan.

Or maybe He was just busy responding to one of konolia's prayers that morning.

Religion, ew. Ew and duh.
posted by nicwolff at 11:24 AM on January 29, 2003


Presumably he won't be claiming on his insurance for the jeep if it was an act of god?

Biffa, out of all the posts in this thread, this is the one that made me laugh out loud...
posted by delfuego at 11:32 AM on January 29, 2003


Your binary black or white education could be getting in the way, Pollo, but your lack of education is not helping either;

I think your rudeness, if not getting in my way, is certainly getting on my nerves. I guess that isn't very zen of me, now is it?

Jerk.
posted by jalexei at 11:36 AM on January 29, 2003


*groan*

Anyone else wanna promote their agnosticism / atheism / monotheism because somebody didn't die?

Stupid, silly, useless thread.

It only makes people get angry at each other.
posted by zerofoks at 11:43 AM on January 29, 2003


Or maybe He was just busy responding to one of konolia's prayers that morning.

That was uncalled for.

I am not going to argue theology here. I have already said it rains on the just and the unjust. This is not the place to have a Bible study regarding God, free will, and man's responsibilities. Those who have honest questions on the matter can find answers-or at least speculations-elsewhere. Meanwhile I am glad that one set of parents still has their 18 year old boy safe and sound instead of having to put him in the ground. As far as I am concerned that is all that matters.
posted by konolia at 11:54 AM on January 29, 2003


OK, I'm working here, so to be brief:
1-This is MetaFilter. This is a peer-reviewed discussion site. If you (jalexei) expect pats on the back and cookies, join a special interest social club; btw, your temper is as zen as every other thought anyone may entertain;
2-Badstone, the aesthetic salvation is Schopenhauer's conclusion entirely; I mentioned him, above all, for his haute vulgarisation on the field of eastern religions;
3-Pollo, you know better than that. You're trying to reduce everything I said to some kind of ad hominem attack, when my first post was clearly aimed at the assertions of the Richard Dawkins' groupies who revel in crude atheism. I respect you too much to patronize you and and say "yeah dude, whatever".
posted by 111 at 11:56 AM on January 29, 2003


1-This is MetaFilter. This is a peer-reviewed discussion site.
i have always loved metafilter and equally despised the intellectual snobs like you who hang out here. history reveals that one by one, they eventually abandon ship in disgust, so why not do everyone a favor and simply accelerate that tired process.
posted by quonsar at 12:09 PM on January 29, 2003


If this thread were a movie, it would be named Signs. Just add aliens.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:17 PM on January 29, 2003


This belongs on MeTa, but anyway: you know quonsar, since you are saying it, I guess everybody should leave MeFi to lowbrow Homer Simpson-brained, attention-starved, trollish, frat-boy unfunny types like yourself! Why not! No, wait a minute. There are already lots of sites out there for people like you! If you try really hard, perhaps someday you can be quoted on bash.org (although, as I said, your attempts at being funny are worse than a Robin Williams sketch)! Or maybe you could be "geek of the day" somewhere! No, you'd probably get rejected as well. Look, here's a suggestion: ignore whatever I write or post and do not ever again even think about addressing me. I will not say this twice.
On the other hand, even someone like you partakes of the Buddha nature, so I guess I've just burned lots of bad karma by replying. You have been instructed as well, I hope.
posted by 111 at 12:36 PM on January 29, 2003


Oh, that's rich...

Pollo: "What exactly has God to do with Buddhism?"

111: "Read some Schopenhauer, you uneducated Richard Dawkins groupie who revels in crude atheism!"

Pollo: "Huh? How do you know what I've studied?"

111: You're trying to reduce everything I said to some kind of ad hominem attack
posted by nicwolff at 12:38 PM on January 29, 2003


i've got a fat little buddha you can partake.
posted by quonsar at 12:41 PM on January 29, 2003


Fortunately, my attempts at being funny are hilarious!
posted by nicwolff at 12:45 PM on January 29, 2003


guys, can you take this outside or something? We're trying to have a reasoned discussion here.

So, can someone explain to me why this kid didn't get electrocuted or something? Apparently those weren't live wires.
posted by konolia at 12:48 PM on January 29, 2003


Metafilter: Somewhat other than cordial.
posted by babyiconomy at 12:49 PM PST on January 29
posted by y2karl at 12:54 PM on January 29, 2003


1-This is MetaFilter. This is a peer-reviewed discussion site. If you (jalexei) expect pats on the back and cookies, join a special interest social club;

Pats on the back and cookies? Ummm, whatever. All I "expect" is that posts are more or less polite and absent personal attacks. You seem to know so much about MeFi, I'd expect that to be the easiest rule to remember. I've admittedly broken (am breaking) it myself, (sorry konolia) so I'll shut up now. Please take your own advice and seek out one of these other clubs you speak of.
posted by jalexei at 12:54 PM on January 29, 2003


I bet God has "Heaven" and "Hell" mudflaps on the Godmobile...

And a picture of Calvin peeing on L. Ron Hubbard.


This made me laugh out loud in that embarassingly inappropriate way that draws attention from coworkers who want to know what's funny, but you can't tell them because it's more complicated than a Dilbert cartoon and you might piss them off, given the subject matter. Peeing on L. Ron Hubbard! HA!
posted by jennyb at 1:03 PM on January 29, 2003


If it's good, it's a miracle. If it's bad, then it's "god works in mysterious ways". Geez. This "god" character has all the bases covered.
posted by dazed_one at 1:10 PM on January 29, 2003


who's to know it wasn't the Grim Reaper who actually "saved" him anyway??
posted by marvin at 1:17 PM on January 29, 2003


Wait, we're back to God being an interventionist? Don't only morons believe that these days? Guess not. Learn something new every day!
posted by Hildago at 1:18 PM on January 29, 2003


konolia, I apologize for using you as an example. Since 9/11, I just get set off when people claim God's looking out for them. It's no longer just pitiable, it's infuriating. Believe in him if you must, but don't tell me he's benevolent; unclever theodicies no longer amuse me.

As to the electrocution question, from the article: Gene Gould, assistant fire chief of the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, said Thompson landed in telephone cable and neutral ground wire.
posted by nicwolff at 1:19 PM on January 29, 2003


can someone explain to me why this kid didn't get electrocuted or something? Apparently those weren't live wires.

From the article (and mentioned above in this thread already):

"Gene Gould, assistant fire chief of the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, said Thompson landed in telephone cable and neutral ground wire."

"A few feet more, he would have been thrown into more powerful lines of 30,000 to 70,000 voltage," Gould said."
posted by tolkhan at 1:20 PM on January 29, 2003


Jeez, everyone calm down. This will all get hashed out in Final Destination 3.
posted by Skot at 1:22 PM on January 29, 2003


Now, that was funny.
posted by nicwolff at 1:28 PM on January 29, 2003


*reviews previous posts*

*finally understands the whole Israel vs. Arab thing*
posted by UncleFes at 1:31 PM on January 29, 2003


The other day I had this really wierd feeling about my friend. I just couldn't stop this sensation, like I needed to get in touch with her right away, or something terrible would happen. So I called her on the phone.

She was fine. We talked for a bit and then hung up.

And then there was the time when I was driving, and I pulled out form behind a bus, and didn't notice a van coming the other way. I slammed on the gas and closed my eyes.

The van crashed into me and I got some stitches on my knee. The insurance paid for both our repairs.
posted by signal at 1:32 PM on January 29, 2003


Got any band camp stories? :D
posted by UncleFes at 1:34 PM on January 29, 2003


God, if there is a God, does not micromanage people's lives, and it drives me crazy to hear someone attribute moments of fortunate or unfortunate coincidence to God's individualized plan for them. Hundreds of children will die today from hunger and easily preventable disease, and yet God catches one teenager as he flies out of his jeep? There may be divine plan in all of this, but if there is, then suffering and death must mean something very different on the cosmic scale than they do here. The blows of fate are random. People die, people live; did my father "deserve" to die? Did I "deserve" to survive that accident when I was 24, intact and not (despite the heart/lungs shutdown) braindamaged? There may be a 'why', but who knows. [/spleen]
posted by jokeefe at 2:13 PM on January 29, 2003


God must despise trailer parks
Doesn't everyone?
posted by dg at 2:19 PM on January 29, 2003


"Got any band camp stories?"

Dear Metafilter:

I never thought this would happen to me, or that I'd be writing to you about it...
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:29 PM on January 29, 2003


My favorite line from the article is this:
Sitting at his kitchen table smiling Tuesday afternoon, Thompson said he couldn't wait to talk to his friends at his church group, called Reborn and Dynamically Different.
posted by arielmeadow at 3:09 PM on January 29, 2003


im still waiting for matt to say whether he saved that guy from the jeep crash or not.
Until then , we can only guess.
you know quonsar, since you are saying it, I guess everybody should leave MeFi to lowbrow Homer Simpson-brained, attention-starved, trollish, frat-boy unfunny types like yourself!
exactly 111, we need a messiah like you to save us from
konses attempts at 'humor'. i envisage you crushing him to death under the might of your intelligence and strangling him with your white robes.
Robin williams is so unfunny ?
i think you mean robbie williams.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:35 PM on January 29, 2003


Yes Virginia, god(s) do everything that are statistically rare. Lets ignore the fact that odd things are supposed to happen on a long enough timeline.
posted by skallas at 8:11 PM on January 29, 2003


I like what 111's had to say, actually, so please don't go scurrying off just yet. As for why he wasn't electrocuted: either the lines were dead, or he wasn't creating a complete circuit. I don't think simply touching a power line will cook you like a fried chicken unless you complete the circuit by either touching something that's grounded or touching another power line. I'm not really willing or able to test this out, however.

"I rike you. You make me raff."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:03 PM on January 29, 2003


I find this stuff so stupidly difficult to resist... If an event is physically possible, then there's no need for a supernatural arbiter to intervene. Most times, the kid who flies out of an automobile will die, but not always; it's a percentage thing. If it makes sense according to the laws of physics, then it isn't a miracle. It's good luck for him, and random nature for the rest of us.

People can believe whatever helps them through it all, but I just can't understand how one could make sense of & worship a deity who acts exactly like random chance...
posted by mdn at 9:18 PM on January 29, 2003


do not ever again even think about addressing me. I will not say this twice.

or you'll do...what, exactly? WTF, 111? Civility? If something pisses you off that much, get up from the 'puter, grab a sandwich, take a walk. (If I wanna hear unreasonable demands and threats, I'll just go to work.) Granted, I've never studied philosophy in any serious way, but doesn't Eastern philosophy teach that you shouldn't act that way?
posted by Vidiot at 11:26 PM on January 29, 2003


This one time, me and my sister were at the Wal-Mart shopping for a lava lamp. We saw one of those round orbs that you can touch that make really cool light-wave-electricity-beams connect to your finger tips. Well, my sister squatted down and put her forehead on it, and I put my hand on it, too. I put my other hand on the shelf and one of my fingers landed on the one tiny spot where the paint chipped off the metal shelf. I got a charlie horse in my dimple and my sister can speak Chinese. Tell me that's not an act of God.
posted by jessicool at 11:58 PM on January 29, 2003


I love this thread.

I've got to ask - Does god have a penis and testicles? He did make man in his image, didn't he? Does he have sperm? Does god have a wife? If not, why does he need sperm? I'm confused, please help me.
posted by PigAlien at 8:20 AM on January 30, 2003


He created man AND woman in His image. Since God is Spirit He doesn't need the extra parts-but Jesus was fully man, so He had a male body. I don't know what our new bodies will look like (yes, people in heaven get brand new ones) but I doubt we will need the extra stuff. Probably no appendixes either.

But I am putting in an order for a skinnier body next time *wink*

For those who are disappointed that there most likely won't be sex in heaven- I have it on good authority that things will be even better there-in other words we won't miss it. Since God created penises and vaginas, etc. He obviously thought that sexual enjoyment is a good thing-I can't imagine Him not coming up with a few surprises once we get to be with Him.

Atheists, don't bother to reply to this one, since we all already know your opinion on the subject, and you all know I think you are wrong. So no new territory there. No hard feelings.
posted by konolia at 8:29 AM on January 30, 2003


In heaven, are you the same age as when you died?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:05 AM on January 30, 2003


This couldn't have happened on January 26. God would have been too busy helping American football players win the big game.
posted by terrapin at 10:31 AM on January 30, 2003


God is never too busy to do anything. I mean no harm, but that is a totally asinine statement-I do understand that some folks say it with tongue in cheek tho.
posted by konolia at 10:54 AM on January 30, 2003


Good lord. Not what I'd quite intended -- really, it was all about the funny picture in the paper for me. It showed this guy hanging on two wires looking like something out of a goddamned MTV show and it turns out that homeboy is not there on purpose but _by accident_.

How freaky is that? I will turn over all the cards and admit that I mostly play for the atheist team. Religion interests me, not as a pursuit but as an anthropologist. Why certain places are used over and over for holy sites. I was in a small provincial church in the UK countryside where they'd built a Green Man _into_ a church (essentially like having a big crucifix hanging in temple).

Religion-as-phenomenon _fascinates_ me.

In one branch we have a belief system based upon faith. In another we have a belief system based upon reproducible results.

In the faith-based world, God did it. The guy's a youth minister for (er) Crissakes.

In the world of science, its a freak bit of luck. The pope falls in the shower, breaks his hip. The world shows no favoritism, only random chance.

The world is changing, folks. There is an increasing number of world players who believe that God himself is on their side. Most Gods are funny guys and gals, somehow both regimented and fickle at the same time. Most religions tend to ignore this fact and tell their parishioners that the bad things are just learning opportunities.

And maybe they are. Its certainly cheerier to think that one has a tad of self determinism than none at all. That all this is random chance.

Religion is a powerful tool, capable of both great and despicable acts. Occasionally simultaneously.

I wonder about the science of religion. Why must I both reject God as a player in my own existence and at the same time deny that it might play a part in others? Why if I'm not pro-God must I therefore be anti-God, as so many here were.

Anthropology says that religion and superstition arise from an inability to positively effect one's situation. Batters are more superstitious than fielders. Carrier pilots have more rituals around takeoff than landing, though the latter is generally more dangerous.

So what happens when science finally is licked, I wonder. Is there such a point? What the hell is up with quantum mechanics? It seems like if such a thing is true the standard assumptions about how the world works are all bullshit, right? A thing just sort of "can" happen, a real-life improbability drive.

Anyways, if anything, that was the kind of discussion I was trying to foster...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:56 AM on January 30, 2003


God is never too busy to do anything. I mean no harm, but that is a totally asinine statement

it's a joke. Isn't it a more asinine statement to actually claim that god would will one football team to win over another? And especially, while at the same time allowing children to die of cancer, or of malnutrition, over and over and over again, the only saving grace being human work and ingenuity, and the occasional bit of luck.

The world is changing, folks. There is an increasing number of world players who believe that God himself is on their side.

what makes you say this? Take a look at history -- I'd say right up to the present this belief has never really left. And it's certainly been the cause of much fighting.

Why must I both reject God as a player in my own existence and at the same time deny that it might play a part in others? Why if I'm not pro-God must I therefore be anti-God, as so many here were.

? I don't see what you're saying. Either you believe there's a supernatural world, or you don't. If you don't, how does it make sense to believe that there sort of is a supernatural world when it comes to other people, but somehow it just skips over you? Are you situated in a different universe?

And what is it to be anti-god? If you mean that your comprehension of the world as one that has only the natural, perceivable realm, and beyond that only mental and imaginary ideas (not actual things), causes you to question the reasons for believing otherwise, I wouldn't categorize that as anti-god. It seems to be a curiousity to understand the capability of people to take things literally that are conjured from imagination.

So what happens when science finally is licked, I wonder.

science can only be "licked" if humans lose their capacity for reason. Science is not the answers but the method, which is in its simplest terms just looking at what actually is and trying to explain it, and then looking for specific things the explanation would produce, to confirm or deny the validity thereof. It's an attempt to understand the universe, one we can all share because we all share basic sensory capacities and reasoning capacites. We do not all share the same traditions and imaginations, and therefore religions tend to split into multiple possibilities rather quickly.
posted by mdn at 11:17 AM on January 30, 2003


I don't think simply touching a power line will cook you like a fried chicken unless you complete the circuit by either touching something that's grounded or touching another power line.Civil_Disobedient

Or you arc to ground! Do not try this at home.

God is never too busy to do anything...that is a totally asinine statementkonolia

Well, something must be distracting Him, because about a million and a half innocent infants and children will shit themselves to dehydration and death this year.

Oh, right, never mind — it's part of His inscrutable (but loving! not evil) plan.
posted by nicwolff at 6:39 PM on January 30, 2003


What the hell is up with quantum mechanics? It seems like if such a thing is true the standard assumptions about how the world works are all bullshit, right?Ogre Lawless

No, those assumptions are merely being qualified and refined. Science never promised they were true for unexamined cases, anyway!

Carrier pilots have more rituals around takeoff than landing, though the latter is generally more dangerous. — ibid.

Uh, they're a little busier before landing than before takeoff. Y'know, flying a jet fighter.
posted by nicwolff at 6:50 PM on January 30, 2003


Look, not to be preachy or anything, but I am not about to tell God how to do His job. As to the children with dysentery and dehydration, maybe He expects humankind to get off its butt and do something about it. He gave people this planet, and that is our job. And interestingly enough there are Christian organisations that have a mandate to do just that, as well as other acts of mercy. Feel free to make a donation.
posted by konolia at 7:25 PM on January 30, 2003


Pshaw. You can't have a God that, on one hand, has a personal interest in your well-being (hence the prayers and personal salvation), yet at the same time has no interest in the well-being of everyone else.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:37 PM on January 30, 2003


As to the children with dysentery and dehydration, maybe He expects humankind to get off its butt and do something about it. — konolia

We are! It was three million in 1990. So, you're saying God can't do anything about it? Not much of a god then. Or he let all those kids suffer and die to test the rest of us? Evil bastard!

And interestingly enough there are Christian organisations that have a mandate to do just that

In fact, the foremost organizations working for relief are secular. Save their bodies without polluting their minds; give to UNICEF, MSF, and the Red Cross.
posted by nicwolff at 9:30 PM on January 30, 2003


Don't you dare tell me God doesn't care, because He does. Besides, there are lots worse things than dying, if it comes to that. I still believe God gave mankind a responsibility, and so far many of us have failed miserably, and there will be consequences.

As for those suffering children-there will be leaders of regimes held personally responsible for the wickedness of letting little children and their parents suffer.
posted by konolia at 3:41 AM on January 31, 2003


As for those suffering children-there will be leaders of regimes held personally responsible for the wickedness of letting little children and their parents suffer.

what about the ones suffering from completely natural and fatal diseases that even the best hospitals in the world can do nothing about? Is that also god testing us to get off our butts to cure cancer? 'Cause guess what, humankind has been devoted to solving that one for generations, and we keep working on it, and eventually we'll probably even come up with an answer, but there's a lot of heartbreak and sorrow on the way.
You said yourself that letting little children and their parents suffer qualifies as "wickedness" - so how can god not be wicked, if he allows cancers, and mental & nervous system disorders, and other painful, fatal diseases to kill children every day?
posted by mdn at 9:46 AM on January 31, 2003


Wait a second there, konolia — maybe those leaders have plans you can't understand that justify letting so many of their youngest subjects dessicate and die in agony, like God does. Maybe, like God, they care, but refuse to help those who can't help themselves. Maybe they're terribly disappointed in their subjects for letting each other suffer, like God is, and will punish them, uh, later.

Maybe they're doing God's plan, and will be richly rewarded in Heaven. But who will hold the Leader of all regimes responsible for the evil He permits? Apparently not His worshippers.
posted by nicwolff at 9:46 AM on January 31, 2003


What is this, the Greenwich Village v. East Village theist-kicking tournament? Hi, Miranda!
posted by nicwolff at 9:57 AM on January 31, 2003


You guys never heard of Satan?
posted by konolia at 10:51 AM on January 31, 2003


Oh, I've heard of him. What's he been up to lately?
posted by agregoli at 10:56 AM on January 31, 2003


Wow. I've tried to read this whole thread but it is making me buggy. I predict Konolia and 111 battling for supreme righteousness on judgement day. Everyone else (especially you quonsar ;-) will already have been cast aside into fiery pits.

In the history of God (as a monotheistic western construct), Christianity continues to struggle with making God more "real". My mother (God rest her soul, perhaps over-educated for 111 or too heretical for Konolia) often attributed this phenomenon to the incorporation of pagan entities in the Catholic pantheon (paradoxically, Catholicism then, admitting that Christianity is not monotheistic). The Reformation and contemporary differences in Christian sects reflect this struggle.

It is this greater reality of God (e.g. the Trinity, Jesus being the son of God, and the Virgin birth) which is, interestingly enough given contemporary currents in world conflict, the main objection that the two other monotheistic religions which share Christianity's roots, have with Christianity.

As for the kid in the car, his Holy attribution of this event only cheapens the grace of God, in my opinion. And I don't even believe He exists. Strange, isn't it.
posted by Dick Paris at 11:23 AM on January 31, 2003


Ah, so Satan is responsible for evil. But why does the buck stop with Satan, whom God made and whom presumably God rules? Or is Satan a god as well, whom God cannot defy? Nice polytheistic religion you got there!
posted by nicwolff at 1:37 PM on January 31, 2003


Atheists, don't bother to reply to this one, since we all already know your opinion on the subject, and you all know I think you are wrong. So no new territory there. No hard feelings.

By that token, why are you even posting in this thread, since, having read the bible, I already know your opinion on the subject?

Is it because you like a good scrap, just like everyone else, even while knowing you're not going to change anyone's mind? Ok then! No new territory there either!
posted by Hildago at 3:06 PM on January 31, 2003


Don't you dare tell me God doesn't care, because He does.

Don't you dare tell me there is a God, because there isn't.
posted by moonbiter at 8:39 AM on February 3, 2003


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