Malaysian Atheist

An avowed atheist living in Malaysia.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Angels in the Alley

This story was told in the documentary The God Who Wasn't There:
Late one night, a young woman was walking home on her own. In order to get home, she had to walk past a dark alley. As she was entering the alley, she saw a suspicious-looking man lurking about. Fearing for her safety, she prayed to Jesus for protection and she walked through the alley unharmed. The next day, she found out that a woman had been raped in the same alley the night before, probably just after she had walked through it. She went with the police and helped identify the man lurking in the alley in the line-up. The man confessed and was arrested for raping another woman. Stricken with guilt, the woman asked the man why he did not harm her as she was walking past him last night? The man replied, "How could I, with those two big men walking beside you?" God had heard her prayer and sent angels to protect her!
This is one of those inspirational stories shared by Christians with the message that God hears our prayers. In times of danger, God sends His angels to help us. A truly heart-warming message indeed... at first glance. That's because there is a darker message to this story. After all, a different woman got raped. Was is because she did not pray to God? Did she pray but God chose not to hear her prayers? Did God "allow" her to be raped because it's for her good? Was she not good enough for God's protection? Are all rape victims undeserving of God's love and protection?

I was immediately reminded of something a Christian friend said to me about two years ago. The tsunami had just struck, and the city of Aceh in Indonesia was badly hit. Over a hundred thousand people were killed in Indonesia alone. My friend said that Aceh is a predominantly Muslim province and last time, they used to persecute Christian missionaires there. God is now punishing them for persecuting His children. Naturally, I was quite upset to hear that. Schadenfreude is not an admirable quality. Surely you'll agree with me that, that isn't a very helpful way of seeing things. Do bad things only happen to bad people? Are believers always spared from misfortune? It is most naive to think that way, for, if you are willing to believe in a personal and caring God, then you must also believe in a God that is vengeful, unjust and cruel.

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but is not able?
Then He is not omnipotent.
Is He able, but not willing?
Then He is malevolent.
Is He both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
If He is neither able nor willing?
Then why call Him God?"
- Epicurus

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At 6:35 AM, December 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that Christians can make up such stories and lie about them, for there are so many examples of them that they're surely lies. Liars for Christ, admirable, huh?

Christ himself said not to think bad things happen to people because we think they are "evil". Good and bad things happen to good and evil people alike without reason, to paraphrase him. So Christians that say New Orleans was punished for being "evil", or Aceh was hit for being "evil" do not even understand their own religion.


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