Not Entirely Rational
Here is an early expression of pain, sent before I had started posting letters about the terrorist attack. We post this letter in order to chronicle the initial feelings of at least one atheist.
From: Shaun Michelson
To: Positive Atheism
Sent: September 13, 2001 8:47 PM
I notice there are no postings about the recent events in New York and Washington DC. I have some thoughts on the events, as they relate to religion, that I would like to submit for use by the website. I must admit, though, that it is somewhat emotional and not entirely rational -- so I understand if you would rather not post it. Feel free though, if you would like, to post the attached document anywhere on your website. If not, thank you for reading it.
It makes me sick each and every time I hear reference to the "mercy of God", or to people "thanking God" referring to the terrorist attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon.
How utterly selfish -- how embarrassingly narrow-minded to thank God for sparing one's own life, when he neglected to spare the thousands of other lives lost in the attacks.
While we're thanking God, let us not forget to thank him for all that he's done, not just a select few of his "acts of mercy":
1. Let us thank him for even allowing terrorists to fly jumbo jets into the WTC towers in the first place.
2. Let us thank him for allowing both buildings to subsequently collapse after allowing the jetliners to fly into them.
3. Let us thank him for killing all of the people trapped in the buildings, including the firefighters working to rescue civilian victims, and the handicapped people trapped on the higher floors because the elevators were not functioning.
Yes, our God is a righteous God.
Do not try to convince me that God was not responsible for the atrocities committed on that day, or that God did not allow them to occur. No Christian will argue that God's power is limited; that God is not capable of all things, no matter how impossible they may seem; that our God is not an all-powerful God. With absolute power comes the matter of choice -- the choice to either A) Use one's absolute power or B) Refrain from using one's absolute power. It's as simple as that -- there is no way around it. If there is a God, you may be correct in saying that he did not use his absolute power to cause these airline crashes -- but you cannot say that God did not refrain from using his power to prevent these crashes, i.e., God chose to refrain from using his power to prevent the deaths of thousands of innocent people, i.e., God chose to allow thousands of innocent people to die a horrifying death.
As I watched the news coverage of the incident, reactions from numerous government officials scrolled across the bottom of my screen. One such official (who's name is unimportant) stated, "All Americans -- Christians, Jews and Muslims -- condemn these acts of terrorism." There are so many things wrong with this statement I don't know where to begin. Let us forget that this person is wrongly placing all Americans in one of three religious sects. Let us forget that this person asserts that all Americans are a Christian, a Jew, or a Muslim -- declaring that if one is not a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim, that one is not an American! But my main quarrel with such a statement is this: While we are busy condemning such acts of terrorism, why not skip right to the point and condemn the cause of these acts of terrorism -- i.e., your Christian God!!! Condemn your God for allowing these atrocities to occur!!! Condemn your merciful, all-loving God for choosing not to spare the thousands of lives lost as a result of these tragedies!!!
Most speculate that Middle-East terrorist sects are responsible for the attacks. I can make no such assumption, as I am ignorant of the facts. But let me for a moment hop on the bandwagon and agree that, yes, it likely was Middle-East terrorists. What motivates such people to commit suicide for the sake of their countrymen? What rewards can a man possibly reap for flying himself into a building, if he is dead afterwards? The answer is frighteningly clear -- the man knows that his rewards await him in Heaven!! It may be the Muslim heaven instead of the Christian heaven -- it does not matter which. The point is, if the men responsible for hijacking four commercial jetliners and flying them into buildings were Muslim, they did so because they believed that their God would reward them in Heaven for punishing those that would stand in the way of their heavenly ordained mission!!! Again, what was the cause of men flying airplanes into buildings? Your Muslim God!! Religion convinced the men that they were messengers from God, and turned them into suicidal madmen!!!
I received a chain letter, asking all Americans to light a candle and place it in their window in remembrance of those lost in the attacks. Very well -- I am all for showing my concern and grief over the recent events. But the end of the letter is what burns me to the core --
"Almighty God, bless, keep and protect America.
For Christ is the light of our hearts"
I am so infuriated by such remarks I fear I may go insane.
The second phrase is meaningless, and does nothing for me. "Christ is the light of our hearts." Okay -- and? What is the point? What comfort is such a saying supposed to bring to me? Or to those who have lost a loved one in the carnage? I can picture it now -- "Today my wife died in a fiery plane crash. No she wasn't in the plane -- she was sitting at her desk in her office when the plane flew into the back of her head! But you know, I don't feel so bad -- because I know that Christ is the light of our hearts."
The first of these is the one that I have a problem with. Are you seriously asking God to protect you? Have you not been watching the news? Did you not hear that two airplanes filled with people crashed into the WTC towers, also filled with people, causing them to collapse and kill probably everyone inside? Wake up people!! God is not protecting America!! there is no one protecting America except Americans!! if there is a God, everything bad that happens to you is because God has chosen not to intervene, whether you loose your car keys, stub your pinky toe, or fall from a 100+ story building while trying to escape your imminent death!!
When will people come to their senses and stop their appeals to religion for all the answers? When will people realize that religion is the cause of this catastrophe, not the solution!? When will they realize that religious zealots are the only people capable of committing such atrocities!? These men did what they did because they thought they would be rewarded in Heaven!! and there are a thousand more men just like them ready to die in the name of their Almighty God!!
So yes, let us join President Bush in saying a prayer, as he so enjoys inviting all of us to do with him. Say a prayer for the thousands of dead people buried under tons of concrete and steel. Pray that they will meet their maker in Heaven, and spit in his face for allowing them to die in such a way. For those who survived -- pray that one day they may regain their sanity after watching their life pass within an inch of annihilation, and after watching those around them meet their unfortunate end. And for the rest of us -- those who were thousands of miles away and spared the agony of living through such events. Pray that we will never be subject to God's infinite mercy, that we will never be the objects of God's sadomasochistic affection, lest we all meet our doom in some horrible act of his undying benevolence.
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