September 1, 2008

Man Refuses to Leave New Orleans Because "God Won't Let That Happen Again"

Roughly 2 million people evacuated from Louisiana alone due to Hurricane Gustav. This includes more than 95% of New Orleans residents. Some of those staying behind in New Orleans did not have the means to leave, but others defied the evacuation order and chose to stay for other reasons. One man, and something tells me he may not be alone, staying behind is convinced that he has nothing to worry about because he has faith in some sort of god. I have some questions for this man.

According to an article from Reuters, window cleaner Julio Iglesia plans to remain in his home only one block from the Mississippi River, convinced that his god will protect him. Neither his previous experience of Hurricane Katrina nor the official evacuation order are sufficient for Mr. Iglesia. "Katrina was here, but God won't let that happen again."

This raises a few questions for me:
  1. Why exactly did your god let Hurricane Katrina happen?
  2. By defying the evacuation order, are you relieving rescue personnel of the danger you are placing them in should your situation deteriorate such that you need rescue? Can they simply skip you and let your god deal with you?
  3. If your god didn't want to let bad things happen to New Orleans again, why send the storm your way?
  4. If you survive the storm, you will credit your god. If you do not survive, you will not be here to criticize your god. But what if you survive while others perish? Do you then celebrate that your god has killed others but not you? What sort of person does this make you?
By conjuring up gods to explain bad weather and also to explain survival in the face of such weather, you are trying to have it both ways. Your god will keep you safe through the storm, but why did your god send the storm in the first place? If it is because everyone else around you deserves pain and suffering, then what does this say about your god?

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