While thousands of fans waited for the main act to start on the main stage at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis Saturday night, a sudden and catastrophic gust of wind blew up and caused the rigging of the stage to collapse. It took two seconds for the scaffolding, which held up numerous lights and speakers, to crash to the ground. Several people were killed and many were injured.
Within moments, Twitter and Internet forums were abuzz with people urging prayer for the victims and their families. "PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for all the victims and families. That's all we can do," one post said. I know there is a sense of helplessness in situations like this. People want to help, but they don't know how or are not in a situation where they can. But what good does urging people to pray, or prayer itself for that matter, do?
You're going to send prayers to a god to help victims that he caused or allowed to become victims to begin with? Things like this are often called acts of God. So if God caused the stage to collapse on people, why would he then help them just because someone prayed? If God merely allowed it to happen, the same question still applies.
Unlike God, the good people who attended the concert ran to assist the survivors after the collapse. It was heartwarming to see people rush to the stage without thought for their own safety in order to save those who were trapped underneath. That wasn't God; it was humanity.
Of course some survivors are quick to thank God for their survival. How many TV interviews are there during which survivors thank their god for letting the scaffolding miss them and their families? Aren't they just so special? God reached his hand down from heaven and saved them from disaster and they are so grateful for it. But what about the people in the row next to them that were trapped under the stage with bones broken? Or what about the stagehands that were killed during the collapse? They must have lived dreadfully sinful lives for God not to have reached down and push them out of the way, too, right? I know people don't mean to be impudent, but they need to think before they speak. People don't have God figured out. They assume that if they survive a close call it must be because of God's or their guardian angel's protection. Isn't it more reasonable to believe that it was a matter of mere chance?
Why is it that God's behavior always looks exactly as though it was caused by chance? Could it be that maybe things really do just happen by chance and that God has nothing at all to do with it? Why does God always get the thanks for anything good that happens, but he never gets the blame for anything bad. Bad things are caused by Satan, or by demons, evil forces, or sin. God always gets a pass. Maybe bad things happen as punishment or because they are simply parts of God's plan that we don't understand. It's all a giant cop-out. People cannot conceive of why God would allow disasters to happen, but they know he is supposed to be all good, so they make up excuses for him.
These people need to face reality. If God does exist, he certainly does not care one bit for you, me, or anyone else. If he did, events that take place wouldn't always look so random. If it is impossible to tell the difference between random chance and God's behavior patterns, then one must realize that God is not interacting with us at all. That means he's either a deistic god or he doesn't exist. Either way, there's no need to pray to him.