8.03.2005

"Miracle Plane Crash"

[Not much time today. But I've got one thing on my mind.]

I just wanted to take a moment and thank God for the miracle that occurred yesterday in Toronto. How does a plane crash and burst into flames without taking even one life? I'm sure there are some of you out there who may be able to give me some scientific answer to this. I believe that the media properly named this story. It's a miracle. Thank God for it.

I wish the media would take time to appropriately name other miracles. How about the possible news headlines:

Some High School Students Actually Say "No" to Drugs
Twenty percent of College Graduates Maintain Their Virginity
Despite Political, Cultural and Economic Pressure, Women Increasingly Stay Home with Family

and my favorite "miracle story": No Terrorist Activity in the US Since 9/11


May God give us eyes to see the miracles that surround us.

23 Comments:

At 8/03/2005 01:54:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

No terrorist activity since 9/11? You just wrote a post about the non-coverage, relatively speaking, of the Egypt attack. Do they not count? Or the people in Bali? Or in London?

Do you really think God is protecting Americans but allowing others to die?

I cannot wrap my brain around these types of "arguments" -- I think "wish-fulfillment" comes closer, as you unintentionally (I assume) write.

What kind of religion is based on seeking out coincidences and ignoring disasters -- how about the number of Iraqis who have died as direct or indirect result of our invasion? or the 1800+ American soldiers? or the tsunami victims? or the 3 million about to starve to death in Nigeria? etc., etc.?

That, to me, seems more like a safety-blanket, head-in-the-sand approach to religion than something more philosophical that actually tries to deal with the existence of "bad things happening to good people."

No, I'm not at all religious. But I can't abide this me-ist type of Christianity -- God's looking after me; my own personal Jesus; I'm just SO important!

Nothing meant obnoxiously here; I go on Thornblog and talk to Allen, Jamie, et al.

Wouldn't it have been a better "miracle" -- or the better operation of a supposedly omnipotent God -- to have prevented the crash in the first place?

 
At 8/03/2005 02:13:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

By the way, considering how little has actually been done, as opposed to talked about, since 9/11, maybe it is a miracle!

However, al-Qaida and its many imitators, now currently getting their "graduate degrees" in Iraq -- thank you, neoconservatives! -- take their time. Years. Then they strike.

In the meantime, we've basically done just about everything bin Laden could have desired, creating another Palestine in Iraq, and losing whatever pro-American feeling in the Islamic world we had pre-9/11, and especially immediately post-9/11.

Not that anyone will actually read this, but try to see this wave of Islamist jihad for something closer to what it actually is -- you know, in reality, not in fantasy -- here.

And, no, I don't hate America, by the way. I love it; that's why I and millions of others are working to protect it from collapsing into an authoritarian society. We kind of like the Bill of Rights; we're conservative that way. We don't believe in one-party theocratic rule based on one religion's tenets. That kind of didn't lead anywhere good in any society ever. Tolerance, an old 17th-Century view (European version) and even older in other cultures -- inlcuding, yes, the Islamic at times in certain places -- is the only hope for our species, which is facing tremendous, existence-threatening challenges denied by "your" president: global warming chief among them. I know that's "science" -- I'll go with science.

OK, I'm obviously pissed off. All apologies, really, but I just can't take this blog. And with that, exeunt.

 
At 8/03/2005 03:47:00 PM, Blogger mlwhitt said...

Doug, I think you know what Lores meant. She was referring to the fact that there hasn't been another 9/11 type event in the US. I think we both know that she is extremely sadden by other terrorist attacks, but you would have to be an idiot not to see what she was referring to. No offense meant, but use some common sense.

And just because people are killed in some disasters but spared in others, doesn't make the ones that are spared any less of a miracle.

Lores: I love you point about the news not covering "good events'. I talk to Kim about that all the time. Just once I would like to see a news broadcast focus on the good stuff. People helping people, miracles, and such. You are right we sometimes focus on stuff like 10% preteen preganancies but we don't thank God for the 90% of preteens that don't get pregnant so forth.

 
At 8/03/2005 08:13:00 PM, Blogger Poison Pero said...

Nice write up Lores........It is all too easy for us to get caught up in the horrible stories around us. It's nice to see some good.
-------------------------
Thanks for your view on the issue Doug......Blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah.

We get a little pick-me-up, from a story of life and luck, but leave it to a damn Leftist to paint a terrible picture.

"Nothing meant obnoxious here," either, you POS!!

Please come visit my blogs, Doug........We can tangle there.

Lores is much to ladylike to get involved with such BS......I'm not at all.

 
At 8/03/2005 09:52:00 PM, Blogger Layman said...

"No terrorist activity since 9/11?"

She was pretty specificly referring to terrorists attacks in the United States. And since she just did a post devoted to undercoverage to the Egyptian terrorist attack, your attack on that point is ridiculous. You do know that Lores is Egyptian do you not?

"Do you really think God is protecting Americans but allowing others to die?"

God may very well be protecting us. As He may very well have been protecting Brits from the last attack (explaining why none of the bombs detonated as intended). What is so bad about that kind of thinking? It does not mean we are better than others per se. Just that we've been protected.

"What kind of religion is based on seeking out coincidences and ignoring disasters -- how about the number of Iraqis who have died as direct or indirect result of our invasion? or the 1800+ American soldiers? or the tsunami victims? or the 3 million about to starve to death in Nigeria? etc., etc.?"

It is only you who believes that Christianity "igonres" disasters. You will find many, many Christian bloggers who posted about the Tsunami, who pray for the soldiers, and who have sent aid to the tsunami victims and starvation victims in Africa. In fact, if you looked into it you would find that Christians have donated more than secularists to relieve the suffering of these people. So no, we do not ignore the suffering, we take the heart of caring God gave us and act on it to save others who are precious human beings because they are made in his image.

The "graduate degree" most terrorists who are sucked into Iraq to attack U.S. soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians is a bullet or bomb or missile courtersy of the United States Military. It's the Roach Motel of international terrorism.

How many of the terrorists that attacked London were trained in Iraq? Oh, yeah, NONE.

And actually, pro-U.S. sentiment in on the upswing around the world and in Muslims countries. Support for suicide bombings has declined rather dramactically:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-boot27jul27,0,1437541.column?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

"The percentage of people holding a favorable impression of the United States increased in Indonesia (+23 points), Lebanon (+15), Pakistan (+2) and Jordan (+16). It also went up in such non-Muslim nations as France, Germany, Russia and India."

"Support for suicide bombing has declined dramatically in all the Muslim countries surveyed except Jordan, with its large anti-Israeli Palestinian population. The number of those saying that "violence against civilian targets is sometimes or often justified" has dropped by big margins in Lebanon (-34 points) and Indonesia (-12) since 2002, and in the last year in Pakistan (-16) and Morocco (-27)."

Support for Osama bin Laden has plummeted:

"This has been accompanied by a cratering of support for Osama bin Laden everywhere except (unfortunately) Pakistan and Jordan. Since 2003, approval ratings for the world's No. 1 terrorist have slid in Indonesia (-23 points), Morocco (-23), Turkey (-8) and Lebanon (-12)."

I'd say U.S. commmittment to democracy has won over a lot of skeptics. Too bad you won't give your own country the same benefit of the doubt.

And when a liberal starts talking about a "theocractic state" right here in the U.S. they have outed themselves as a bigot. The notion that people of faith should be prevented from voting their conscience is much more scary and a much more realistic threat to democracy than any supposed theocracy brewed up by the religious right.

 
At 8/04/2005 01:40:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

The other comments here have pretty well covered what I would say,(except the athiest) so I'll just say this:

Considering the amount of illegals that walk across our borders so freely, no terrorist attacks in America since 9/11 is indeed a miracle.

 
At 8/04/2005 02:38:00 AM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

gentlemen (mlwhitt, pero, layman and mark), you have answered our guest well. i do believe that i have the best bloggers/commenters on this site! :)

I do wish that doug had spent more time reading other postings before painting this blog with such a broad brush. however, what I regret even more is that anyone would have such a difficult time acknowledging a good report. I am sure that there may have been a few athiests on that Air France flight. But, my guess is that all three hundred nine people and their families have a newfound gratitude for their lives being spared.

My hope is that it wouldn't require such a tragic event for any of us to be thankful and appreciative of the good things bestowed on us.

 
At 8/04/2005 05:10:00 AM, Blogger Poison Pero said...

William T. Cummings has a famous quote:

"There are no athiests in foxholes."

I'm pretty sure this applies to people in planes falling out of the sky, or skidding across runways.

 
At 8/04/2005 12:48:00 PM, Blogger mlwhitt said...

Good one Poison Pero. That's a great quote.

 
At 8/04/2005 01:57:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

I guess none of you read the comments I made to the earlier posts on the Egyptian bombing or on stem cells. Note the timestamps. Not that that would matter.

poison: I think your blog nick is well taken. Do you feel oh-so-tough defending poor lores? I doubt very much you'd have the same balls (or "balls") if you were face-to-face with me. But bullies usually don't.

As for the other comments, yes, I can read: she said in the US. I was commenting on this post plus the little-coverage-on-Egypt's bombing post, with which I agree with lores -- it's ugly. What piqued my interest was that the same person then posted this about the US. I saw an interesting disconnect: was God protecting the US but not her Egyptian compatriots? If so, why not?

Apparently those last bombs were not intended to go off -- if you believe the lawyer of one of the suspects. But that's beside the point: I am pointing to the ridiculousness of painting good luck as God's work (as if one could pretend to know the mind of God) and bad luck as, well, what, exactly? Is it just the due of those people? Is it just the inscrutability (viz., Job) of the omniscient, omnnipotent, and still apparently omnibenevolent God? This is an actual theological question; can any of you deal with it? I'm not saying all Christians ignore disasters; how do you all explain disasters? Was 40,000,000 deaths from the flu in 1919 all part of God's benevolent plan?

I expect perspicacious answers, given that you can know the mind of God when confronted with a real event, such as the Canadian airline incident.

I never said anything about barring the religious right (or left, or center, or nonreligious) from voting, but it is clear to anyone with two eyes and a brain that a political movement that wraps itself in the NT has been actively taking over this country. I don't think that's a good thing -- and guess what? Neither do many theists of all stripes. They vote, too. And organize. And give money. FYI.

Sure, I was pissed off yesterday, and I apologized, so I'll do so again. Sometimes I have an acid "pen" -- or keyboard. But, as expected, no one has really responded to anything I wrote -- except the understandable rejoinder that I must have misread lores' post on US vs. non-US terror attacks. I think I've addressed that.

If our abysmal poll numbers are actually rising around the Muslim and the rest of the world, I'm happy to hear it. Unlike what the GOP noise machine would like you to believe, "liberals" or whatever are not happy to see our nation's fortunes fall. We're not Maoists -- we're worried, and rightly so. I live here, too, and I was in NYC on 9/11, 3 miles from ground zero, so don't think I don't "get it." I just happen to care a bit about civil liberties, and I think as a nation we should be tougher than to hand over the Bill of Rights because of one awful terror attack.

Now, if I "hate America" because I 1. look into the deeper causes of this wave of terror (viz., US-Soviet shenanigans in Afghanistan, support for oil-rich countries' dictators [the kernel of truth in the neocon position], total non-movement on Israel/Palestine, and so forth) and 2. don't just bend over for whatever the executive branch lies about, including this horrific, illegal, and counterproductive Iraq war, well, gee, I guess I take dissent to be patriotic. As did the founders.

One can love one's country and not be a Christian conservative -- fancy that!

Not that you will believe me, but I have real and "virtual" friends of all religious and political stripes.

In any event, if you all want to vote me off the island -- do so. I was only going to stick around while Thornblog was "offline" -- and you can find actual debate over there, not simply parroting administration propaganda (yes, all do it; this one has "improved" on it to a shocking degree) or refusing to deal with theological questions.

Up to you; I've got plenty to do and plenty of other blogs to visit.

Best,

 
At 8/04/2005 02:10:00 PM, Blogger Daffy76 said...

I think doug is so caught up in being angry, he can't focus on the good in this world. Lores' post was basically an expression of thanks. How can anyone really attack that? But I guess in doug's philosophy, because there is evil in the world, we shouldn't be thankful for the good.

Layman, great point. I guess because Christians do what they do out of a heart of love and not out of a need for recognition, people forget that we do have compassion for those who suffer.

Lores, I cannot begin to tell you how much I respect your world-view. I find your posts to always be intelligent, and well-thought-out. Often, you say what I'm thinking only better than I can say it.

 
At 8/04/2005 04:45:00 PM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

Doug, thanks for coming back. I accept your apology and welcome your difference of opinion. I believe we can have respectful and intense debate. With that in mind, no one is voting you off here.

 
At 8/04/2005 05:06:00 PM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

daffy,
thank you. i think that at the end of the day that's what all our discussions come right back to: our world view. we all have basic presuppositions that we apply to our lives and the events taking place around us.

and, those presuppositions become evident in discussions like this one.

 
At 8/04/2005 06:03:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Hi, lores:

Thank you! Very cool of you, especially since my debut was not as calm as it might have been -- I appreciate your magnanimity.

So, I'll try to prove to everyone that I am not actually always angry, in some psychological sense, but am quite angry with the Bush admin (and, for the record, I wasn't such a huge fan of the Clinton admin, either -- these folks work for us; they're not gods), for I think real reasons.

One thing that piques my interest is the worldview statement, which I've seen in other places, Thornblog in particular. Is this meant to mean that we are all limited mortals and have our lenses, but that we have the rationality with which to identify and fight against our biases? (By the way, I think that true knowledge, or knowledge of truth, is only possible on the social plane -- e.g., science is a social process -- this follows precisely from believing that we mere mortals are not omniscient, which theists and atheists can certainly agree upon.)

Or, are you saying that worldviews (or paradigms, mentalities, epistemes, frames, or any other version of this type of epistemological point) determine one's views to the extent that one can't break out of them, regardless of evidence, reason, argument, etc.? Because that would be something very close to epistemological relativism -- and I am no epistemological relativist (even though many lefties are)?

I mean, if my statements, arguments, etc., can be dismissed because my worldview has been identified and dismissed...well, why can't I do the same for you (singular or plural)? I happen to think that identification of bias is not refutation of an argument, for the simple reasons that we are all biased, that bias can potentiate insight into reality, not just hinder insight, and that in the absence of the ability to use reason, evidence, et al, to debate and reach some kind of conclusion that might go against one's worldview (or whatever you want to call it), then all one is left with to adjudicate epistemic claims is power. I'm not a big fan of that position, whether it comes from right or left -- and it has forms on both sides of the spectrum.

I imagine that a possible or likely reply is that faith is what adjudicates, but what happens when faiths collide, either with each other or with lack of faith (the much less likely case; I realize I'm in the minority in this country)?

This is not just philosophical navel-gazing; it's a deeply political question (in the good sense, the Aristotelian sense -- we all have to get along day-to-day somehow).

Thanks again to lores and everyone else for being cool, especially to a flawed sinner like me. :) (This is not meant to be sarcastic, just gently and self-ironically teasing!)

After reading my posts, I realize I can communicate better than that, so hopefully you will experience that.

I think Allen and Jamie and other Thornbloggers are sincere and critical thinkers -- sure, I think they have their blinders, as I'm sure they think I do, and we don't agree on certain fundamentals. But, agreement on fundamentals of a kind is simply unnecessary, I think.

E.g.: we "solved" the abortion issue in two weeks that didn't please anyone fully, but did basically satisfy much of what each "side" wanted. I can get into that or not, but it is possible.

Anyone here is more than welcome to come bother us over at cyberpols -- Allen and others comment there, and we like to have all viewpoints.

Thanks, again!

Best, Dug

 
At 8/04/2005 06:48:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

On the topic of challenging one's worldview, liberty, and what to do when faiths collide...

What do people think of this?

(Meaning: 1. the event described below that occurred in Iran; 2. the Iranian laws that made it possible; 3. the substance and argument of the letter quoted below; and 4. the fact that a secular-humanist group wrote the letter, and whether and how that affects your opinion of 1-3?)

Council for Secular Humanism Condemns Iran's Execution of Homosexuals

AMHERST, N.Y. (August 3, 2005) -- The Council for Secular Humanism, which works to promote values of secularism and democracy around the world, denounces in the strongest possible terms the recent hangings of two Iranian youths accused of committing homosexual acts. The two teenagers, identified only by their initials, A.M. and M.A., admitted to having gay sex but stated that they did not know that homosexuality was a capital offense. Press and TV news reports show that these two young boys were hung before crowds of people that cheered the hangmen while their parents pleaded for mercy, to no avail.

The Council urges widespread condemnation of these atrocious public hangings by the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as the over 4,000 more executions of homosexual men and women in Iran since 1979, when the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. The Council also calls on all friends of liberty to work to repeal Articles 144, 152, 154, and 155 of Iranian Law, which outlaw all manner of homosexual activity, much of it punishable by death, and which make even same-gender kissing illegal.

"Civilized nations of the world respect the right of privacy and the right of individuals to make their own choices; the democratic countries of the world respect the sexual orientations of its citizens," stated Paul Kurtz, chair of the Council for Secular Humanism. "This is a vital component of the democratic principle of civil liberties and the right of self-determination."

"The execution of homosexuals is a resort to barbaric methods of repression, and its practice by an Islamic country offends the conscience of humankind in the 21st century. Religions of violence that flout the ethical standards of the civilized world should be held accountable. We deplore these acts of homophobia and urge the leaders of the world's democracies to do the same."

 
At 8/04/2005 08:19:00 PM, Blogger Pelty said...

"Twenty percent of College Graduates Maintain Their Virginity"

I am not sure if this belongs in the "miracle" category. It is a rather sad statement on our culture that the number is so low. Think about it. 8 out of 10 people have sex before the age of ~22! I am supposed to be thnkful for that?!?! rather, I am disappointed and disheartened. Please, besides a simple "it could be worse," explain how this headline is good news...

 
At 8/04/2005 09:42:00 PM, Blogger Layman said...

Doug,

Are you trying to be offensive and suggest that American Christians approve of the murder of homosexuals because we disagree with their behavior?

What do you think of the millions killed by atheists Stalin and Mao? Do you feel somehow culpable because they too were secularists and left of center? Are all people who take their secularism seriously on the edge of becoming violent extremists like Stalin and Mao?

 
At 8/05/2005 04:08:00 AM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

pelty, you make a great point. i was, admittedly, depressed about writing that one. however, the more i talk with college students, the more i realize how rare it is even among people of faith. it saddens me. but, the fact that it is so prevalent and such a battle on all sides for young people, i've realized how miraculous it is for any of them to maintain their values and yes, their precious virginity.

 
At 8/06/2005 03:40:00 PM, Blogger pawlr said...

Miracle Plane Crash - Seems to me that by sending high winds and sleet to cause the accident, God was TRYING to kill those people, and the brave pilots, crew, and emergency service workers were heroically able to thwart the will of God and save all those aboard.

Please join me in offering congratulations to those brave intelligent mammals!

 
At 8/09/2005 08:07:00 AM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

pawlr,
welcome. i'm glad to have you join us. you are entitled to have and to write your opinion on matters we discuss here.

however, i'm not here to prove the existence of God or to define the characteristics of God. there are many wonderful theology blogs (like Christian Cadre) available for that purpose.

So, if you'd like to discuss the issues of the day, please join us.

Thanks again for coming by!

 
At 8/09/2005 07:39:00 PM, Blogger pawlr said...

Thanks for the response, Lores, I have enjoyed the opportunity to comment.

I certainly didn't mean in my tongue-in-cheek post to raise irrelevancies to the ongoing discussion.

I don't think i'm really off-topic though, since implicit in your calling the safety of the passengers a "miracle" is the assumption that the outcome is due to a supernatural occurrence.

I only meant to point out a fallacy in assuming supernatural outcomes when in fact, none exist, that in fact the "miracle" of a tragedy avoided is based entirely on human actors.

 
At 8/09/2005 07:59:00 PM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

pawlr, i appreciate your passion on the subject. you have such a great faith in the non-existence of God.

 
At 8/13/2005 11:39:00 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Actually, Christian theologians have spent some time on trying to figure out when they have a true miracle on their hand (supernatural occurrence) versus a coincidence (natural occurrence). The Catholic Church spends some time on this when determining sainthood, even today.

So, pawlr's question is a good one. And there is precious little line between theology and politics these days in the US.

 

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