October 16, 2010

Idiots of the Week: Those Thanking Gods for Rescued Miners

We atheists are often depicted as being angry misanthropes, and I must confess that this is a fair characterization of at least some of us. But it glosses over the important question of why those of us who are angry feel that way. And in asking this question, religious people and non-religious people alike stand to learn a great deal.

When I look at this cartoon and think about the near constant god-thanking we have seen since the first Chilean miner emerged from the ground, I understand anger quite well. And this is hardly the first time we've seen this with a mining disaster. Remember the Utah mine in 2007? Thanking a non-existent entity for something like this is more than mere idiocy; it is a slap in the face to the science and technology that permitted the rescue, the tireless efforts of the rescuers, and so on. It is morally repugnant, and the anger it produces is entirely understandable.

If you want to thank gods for this sort of thing, why do you bother to seek medical treatment instead of prayer? When your child suffers appendicitis, why do you go to the emergency room instead of church? You don't need health insurance because you have your faith to sustain you.

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