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God stepping in....


Rebelwife

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So I live where there was a school shooting yesterday at the University. Three people were shot, although thankfully it looks like all will be fine. The lone gunman, who appears to have had some significant mental health issues, was killed by police when he fired on them. All of this is so tragic, and hits so close to home - not only do I live here but I graduated from there and spent many nights in that library. All of this is preface to something else, I promise.

One of the most amazing and random stories that has come out of the event was that a student who probably would have been the first victim was protected by the books he had in his backpack. (Specifically a biography of John Wycliff for his Christian Traditions class but that's another wormhole altogether.......) In the newspaper this morning he is quoted as saying ""It was difficult to wrap my mind around, that I had been the first person that he shot," D______ said..... It was humbling to know that my life was in God's hands right there and he graciously spared me."...... I honestly think that this was a direct intervention from God," said D_____ who attends CrossWay Church every Sunday."

Why does this piss me off so much? I live in the South and I think some of this is just words that come out reflexively for some people and I know he had been through a tremendously stressful situation. I've been known to let out a "Thank God" myself, although if you called me on it I would say it was merely a habitual way of saying "I am so relieved."

I can't help but get my back up every time someone suggests they were spared of some horrible human or natural tragedy because God saw them as somehow more deserving than the people who weren't spared. Of course, I am not the kind of person who thinks God found you a parking space or even put that last miraculous dollar you needed to feed your children in the street for you to find, so that plays into it.

I think I need a second cup of coffee. :shock: I am just seriously angry about this, sitting at the kitchen table this morning. I'm imagining next Sunday as he offers his "testimony" in church, and continuing to do so for years. He hasn't even done anything like that yet and already I'm mad at him for exploiting a tragic situation.

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In my opinion, being saved from a bullet by a thick textbook is pretty much a miracle. It would give me pause, make me wonder if indeed, God had spared me for some specific reason, and probably I'd re-evaluate my life, to know that I had been given this chance to continue my life. Pretty spectacular revelation, all around.. I'd feel humbled, too. This person might not always feel so lucky. He may have survivor's guilt at some time, too.

I guess I'm not getting the rage.

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In my opinion, being saved from a bullet by a thick textbook is pretty much a miracle. It would give me pause, make me wonder if indeed, God had spared me for some specific reason, and probably I'd re-evaluate my life, to know that I had been given this chance to continue my life. Pretty spectacular revelation, all around.. I'd feel humbled, too. This person might not always feel so lucky. He may have survivor's guilt at some time, too.

I guess I'm not getting the rage.

I didn't say it was rational. :D This really has hit close to home and I am processing a lot of it here.

If something like that happened to me I'm sure it would cause me to rethink things as well. Other tragedies and near tragedies I've been touched by have certainly made me reassess my priorities and realize that life can be short and I should focus on what's important and let the other stuff go. That part I have no problem with. I just feel icky when I hear people say God stepped in for them, and by definition didn't step in for someone else. I am religious, believe it or not, and feel there is "something more" but at heart I am a Deist. (OT, gotta love the Episcopal Church - they're cool with that. 8-) ) My personal philosophy is that a person's faith can help them get through almost anything, and I am all about praying for the wisdom to see the best way to handle something.

Gah, I'm probably babbling at this point.

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I don't think you're babbling at all. Considering the tragic context of the statement, it does come off a bit as "God thinks I'm worthier than the others". While not outright offensive, in the way the student said it, I can see how it would leave a bad taste with the families who have lost a loved-one.

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First I just want to say that I can relate a little bit to how you feel and I realize how much this must mean to you.

I work at my alma mater. I'm emotionally attached to and invested in my university. We had a wild rumor of a shooter on campus after that story broke. I have been trained on shooter response, as has everyone in my office. Well this building, for sure. So it is something that is considered a real possibility, and I do believe it.

I can really only try to imagine your feelings. If this happens here, it will be a hugely upsetting traumatic event, and it will affect me personally that way, even if I don't personally know any victims. I think you should feel however you feel and not feel you should be apologetic for any of those feelings. You will process them in time.

Second, as for that kid, I imagine that he spoke out of huge emotional feelings. I feel certain that he does not mean those other people weren't worth saving. That's really a terrible thing to assign to him when you (general you) don't even know him.

Remember that Rachel Scott was the first victim at Columbine. She was a Christian, daughter of a pastor. She would be no less deserving of saving, yet she wasn't spared.

You know that kid has just passed through probably what will be the most traumatic event of his life. Your rational mind knows he is not saying those other people deserved to die, and likely he will indeed have survivor issues.

I don't know why you feel that if God does something for someone, that means someone else isn't worthy. Do you expect that God should never do anything for anyone? Or that God should do everything for everyone?

I don't have any answers for situations like these, I've struggled through some things, trying to understand why bad things happen to good people, why good people struggle and never attain, etc. Sometimes I just don't get it and sometimes it makes me rage, and sometimes I've turned full away from God because the situation seems so unjust and so unfair.

I guess I have just never, ever interpreted someone's thankfulness at being spared as a judgment that other people deserved whatever it was that happened.

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Rebelwife, this might sound weird but I am sorry that you are going through this. Yes, I believe that you are a victim as well. This hits very close to home to you. You know this place, you've walked its halls, you've sat in that very library. You've admitted you are still processing this and feeling some very strong emotions over it. Go ahead and babble away if you feel the need, though I also do not feel as if you are babbling. Sending you lots of cyberhugs today. :romance-grouphug:

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First I just want to say that I can relate a little bit to how you feel and I realize how much this must mean to you.

I work at my alma mater. I'm emotionally attached to and invested in my university. We had a wild rumor of a shooter on campus after that story broke. I have been trained on shooter response, as has everyone in my office. Well this building, for sure. So it is something that is considered a real possibility, and I do believe it.

I can really only try to imagine your feelings. If this happens here, it will be a hugely upsetting traumatic event, and it will affect me personally that way, even if I don't personally know any victims. I think you should feel however you feel and not feel you should be apologetic for any of those feelings. You will process them in time.

Second, as for that kid, I imagine that he spoke out of huge emotional feelings. I feel certain that he does not mean those other people weren't worth saving. That's really a terrible thing to assign to him when you (general you) don't even know him.

Remember that Rachel Scott was the first victim at Columbine. She was a Christian, daughter of a pastor. She would be no less deserving of saving, yet she wasn't spared.

You know that kid has just passed through probably what will be the most traumatic event of his life. Your rational mind knows he is not saying those other people deserved to die, and likely he will indeed have survivor issues.

I don't know why you feel that if God does something for someone, that means someone else isn't worthy. Do you expect that God should never do anything for anyone? Or that God should do everything for everyone?

I don't have any answers for situations like these, I've struggled through some things, trying to understand why bad things happen to good people, why good people struggle and never attain, etc. Sometimes I just don't get it and sometimes it makes me rage, and sometimes I've turned full away from God because the situation seems so unjust and so unfair.

I guess I have just never, ever interpreted someone's thankfulness at being spared as a judgment that other people deserved whatever it was that happened.

I guess that is the crux of the matter. I don't believe that God does things for some people and chooses not to for others. I couldn't believe in a God like that - one who decided to spare a single person of something (for whatever unfathomable reason) while millions of other horrific things happen around the world. I believe shitty things happen because people can be shitty. I also believe that really good things happen because people can be really good. Finally, I believe that sometimes really shitty things happen despite lots of good people trying to make a difference. I guess I'm just a fatalist at heart - shit happens and all you can do is deal with it as best you can and try to live your life in a positive way and hopefully make a difference where you can.*

And I realize that he said what he did in the stress of the moment (although to be fair this interview took place at least 6 hours after the incident). However, I don't think stuff like that comes out of nowhere.

(*Did I set the record for the most times a person can say some variation of "shit" in a single paragraph? :lol: )

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I think it's interesting how people look at these events. It's nice to think that you are special and have been saved, but why were you in the line of fire in the first place? If god values you and your life so much, why did he allow you to get shot (hit by a tornado, bitten by a shark) at all? I know a lot of soul searching goes on after these types of events and maybe that's the goal, but personally (and this is just me) my response to this is "Who the hell let this kid get a gun?" and maybe if god was involved his message is actually "Get rid of the guns" and not "Love me and carry thick books in your backpack and I'll protect you"

Sorry if this sounds dismissive/condescending. I don't mean to be.

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I don't think you're babbling at all. Considering the tragic context of the statement, it does come off a bit as "God thinks I'm worthier than the others". While not outright offensive, in the way the student said it, I can see how it would leave a bad taste with the families who have lost a loved-one.

I suspect at least some people who survive by virtue of such flukes would believe they live on to fulfill a task they have yet to complete, as opposed to seeing themselves as being more deserving of life than those injured or killed.

Because such flukes also befall people of questionable character.

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Yeah, I'm willing to offer this kid miles and miles of leeway, seeing as he just had a near death experience. This experience will affect him for the rest of his life-- I'm not going to snark on him for wondering if God saved his life six hours after the event. It's way less ridiculous than some of the things fundies call miracles.

But Rebelwife, I don't think you are wrong for feeling the way you do, either. It sounds like the shooting was close by you, which is a frightening event in and of itself. It would frustrate me if I someone said something about a tragic event that affected me that I felt minimized the situation.

Wishing you the best as you try to make sense of this tragic event in your community. :romance-grouphug:

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First off, cyberhugs to you because this does affect you, it was at your workplace.

His response was sounds to me like it was automatic. He's in shock and this is how he is processing it based on his own upbringing, background, mindset, beliefs, etc. I don't think it's meant to sound like he was favored but I can see why it come across to people that way. I would like to see how he fares down the line when he's processed it more.

In situations like this, where someone miraculously avoids a bad fate, it does seem like there was some invisible hand in it somehow. Not that there is. I am not of the belief that God finds parking spaces or steps into situations to stop something from happening, things like that, but in extraordinary happenings like this, it can sure look that way to people.

This reminds me of a story of a guy who was the lone survivor of a Great Lakes shipwreck. He spent years wondering why him because he was of questionable character and he admitted it. Even he didn't see himself as worthy. After years of struggling with "why?" eventually he accepted that he was meant to accomplish something, cleaned up his act, wrote a book and gave talks about his experience.

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I suspect at least some people who survive by virtue of such flukes would believe they live on to fulfill a task they have yet to complete, as opposed to seeing themselves as being more deserving of life than those injured or killed.

Because such flukes also befall people of questionable character.

Very true. Only, he made it all about himself. Which under the circumstances is understandable, and yet his statement may be objectionable to those who lost loved ones.

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This is why the Christian interpretation of G-D bugs me so much. Honestly I have to stop thinking about it because it makes my brain hurt.

So G-D spared you, why didn't he spare those other victims? Or better yet, why didn't he do something to "stop" the shooter.

Once you bring G-D into it where do the questions end?

If G-D is so in control he can interject and change our lives why the fuck are people dying. Why doesn't G-D do something to stop school shooting. Like by Idk fucking guiding Congress to pass gun control.

This kids quote basically says G-D wanted me safe but didn't give a shit about those other victims.

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This is why the Christian interpretation of G-D bugs me so much. Honestly I have to stop thinking about it because it makes my brain hurt.

So G-D spared you, why didn't he spare those other victims? Or better yet, why didn't he do something to "stop" the shooter.

Once you bring G-D into it where do the questions end?

If G-D is so in control he can interject and change our lives why the fuck are people dying. Why doesn't G-D do something to stop school shooting. Like by Idk fucking guiding Congress to pass gun control.

This kids quote basically says G-D wanted me safe but didn't give a shit about those other victims.

Years ago, I was at a lunch at some conference or another. Didn't know anyone there, at all. The man next to me mentioned he'd been in Viet Nam--maybe injured, but he'd made it while many he was with had not (dont' remember the context of why this came up, even) Some woman at the table started who also didn't know me or the man in question, started going on and on about how wonderful God was and how God had a plan. The man got aggravated and red in the face and told her he didn't / couldn't think of it like that. She didn't get it. He said it sounded like God had purposely killed his buddies but not him and that was an unacceptable thought for him. She didn't get it. I don't think she ever got it, just babbled on about God sparing him as he grew more agitated.

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He won't be the only one talking about how God spared him. His church and other Christians will be saying that he's alive because of God, and I can give him a slight pass at the moment, but I do get the anger. Saying God saw someone fit to be saved means he let someone else die when he could have stopped it. There are already people who grieve murders of loved ones and feel guilty for grieving since they believe that everything happens happens because God has a reason, so trust him to know better. I don't think anyone needs to hear how 1 guy was worthy to be saved (I'm not talking about how someone didn't die, but about how "it's all because of God deciding to spare ME!"), while many others die every day.

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Rebelwife, I am so sorry you, your town and those who got shot have had to go through this.

The fact that the paper quoted this statement, and went out of their way to mention what church he attends, makes them part of the problem, I think. It highlights the idea that of course God saved the believer, that it is culturally acceptable that he "deserved" to survive.

I wonder about the ellipses -- did they edit out questions they asked and other things he said, to push the focus towards it being direct intervention from God? I'd be more annoyed with the reporter, if so, than a young man who had gotten shot six hours earlier.

In the newspaper this morning he is quoted as saying ""It was difficult to wrap my mind around, that I had been the first person that he shot," D______ said..... It was humbling to know that my life was in God's hands right there and he graciously spared me."...... I honestly think that this was a direct intervention from God," said D_____ who attends CrossWay Church every Sunday."

Either way, the belief is annoying to me, as well, and potentially seriously upsetting. I do want to think "eh, poor guy just got shot, he can say whatever he wants." But, I would also find him unbearable if he went on to witness for years about how he was chosen and protected by God, because Christian.

That assumption is the seemingly harmless, flip side of the "God is on our side" assumption in war. It's part and parcel of the superstitious, fear-based variety of religion, that frightens people into praying for protection like they were paying off a Mob boss. It's the kind of belief that creates people who rage at God because God didn't "pay off" in the way they expected. Worse, it's the kind of belief that can create self-righteous creeps who want to make everyone follow their rules, because they really think God loves them best -- the fundies on whom we snark here.

I think being angered by someone thinking that God stepped in to save the believer is perfectly natural, and actually ethical. To me, it's the natural, decent reaction of someone who either doesn't believe in any god, or whose concept of God is that of a supreme being who isn't sitting on a cloud playing a petty game of "who deserves to live today?"

I apologize for not remembering what your beliefs are -- I hope I didn't overstep. But, whatever they are, it sounds like you don't think God is a petty, "kiss my tooshy or get punished" God, and that has to be a good thing! :D

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I can see why you are shaken by this! Sending cyber hugs your way. I think this happened to you as well and not that you need my permission but you have every right to be feeling what you are feeling. I hope this makes sense.

I can't imagine what it would be like to get shot and be saved because of a book in my backpack. I sure would question it. Not because I'm special, but because I'm not.

I also agree that I would be annoyed if he witnessed to everyone about being special. I hope he just realizes how precious life is and makes the best of it.

And I do realize this thread is not about me but today I just heard of a fourth parent at my kids school passed away from cancer in two years. Actually six parents have died in the past three years.It is a small Catholic school, with just under 400 students. That freaks me out a bit. It's hard not to question "the powers that be." In these circumstances. Or maybe it's a sign to get the fuck out and go back to public school.

ETA: I am so excited to be a vigorous leg humper! It's my favorite.

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I wonder if he would've gotten shot or died who he still thank god? I think people interpret things in different ways. When things go bad nobody praises god but when things go good he gets all the credit. I'm not saying it's wrong but it just leads to more questions

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I, too, think he probably spoke out of shock and didn't consider the rest. He'd probably feel terrible if someone took that statement to the logical conclusion you mentioned - that God chose to save him and let someone else die, on purpose. But I also understand why what he said bothers you. It is incredibly hurtful to think that God is up there deciding who gets to be blessed and who doesn't. Who gets to be blessed with 19 babies, and who will suffer years of anguish waiting to get pregnant just once, and then have a miscarriage? Who grows up relatively wealthy, and who scratches out a bleak existence in a third-world country and watches their peers die of disease or war?

I've become more sensitive to people saying these sorts of things out loud since my daughter joined our family. Hearing that God saved her by letting her be adopted makes her wonder why God allowed her to be beaten, neglected, and starved in the first place.

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Rebelwife, I am so sorry you, your town and those who got shot have had to go through this.

The fact that the paper quoted this statement, and went out of their way to mention what church he attends, makes them part of the problem, I think. It highlights the idea that of course God saved the believer, that it is culturally acceptable that he "deserved" to survive.

I wonder about the ellipses -- did they edit out questions they asked and other things he said, to push the focus towards it being direct intervention from God? I'd be more annoyed with the reporter, if so, than a young man who had gotten shot six hours earlier.

Either way, the belief is annoying to me, as well, and potentially seriously upsetting. I do want to think "eh, poor guy just got shot, he can say whatever he wants." But, I would also find him unbearable if he went on to witness for years about how he was chosen and protected by God, because Christian.

That assumption is the seemingly harmless, flip side of the "God is on our side" assumption in war. It's part and parcel of the superstitious, fear-based variety of religion, that frightens people into praying for protection like they were paying off a Mob boss. It's the kind of belief that creates people who rage at God because God didn't "pay off" in the way they expected. Worse, it's the kind of belief that can create self-righteous creeps who want to make everyone follow their rules, because they really think God loves them best -- the fundies on whom we snark here.

I think being angered by someone thinking that God stepped in to save the believer is perfectly natural, and actually ethical. To me, it's the natural, decent reaction of someone who either doesn't believe in any god, or whose concept of God is that of a supreme being who isn't sitting on a cloud playing a petty game of "who deserves to live today?"

I apologize for not remembering what your beliefs are -- I hope I didn't overstep. But, whatever they are, it sounds like you don't think God is a petty, "kiss my tooshy or get punished" God, and that has to be a good thing! :D

Sorry, I should have been more clear, he ellipses were mine. They were just added details like his major, how often he studied at that library and the fact that he is graduating next month. I didn't feel like the added anything to my point and honestly didn't feel like typing it all out.

I think you summed up my anger very well. It's not just that it's the heat of the moment "thank God!" or "I feel so blessed," it the underlying vocabulary that was used. I read that and immediately thought "there's a guy who is going to be offering up 'testimony'" at church next Sunday.

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In my opinion, being saved from a bullet by a thick textbook is pretty much a miracle. It would give me pause, make me wonder if indeed, God had spared me for some specific reason, and probably I'd re-evaluate my life, to know that I had been given this chance to continue my life. Pretty spectacular revelation, all around.. I'd feel humbled, too. This person might not always feel so lucky. He may have survivor's guilt at some time, too.

I guess I'm not getting the rage.

Well, since he's coming out and saying his god hated all the babies who died of AIDS in Africa that day, yes, it's pretty fucking rage inducing.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IZeWPScnolo

These people could choose to invent a god which really really wanted to save people from bad things, but is powerless to do so but instead they make and worship one who would save one guy from a painess instant bullet through the heart, but doesn't make the lock on that guy who kept those women hostage's basement door malfunction. It shows how selfish, fucked up and narcissistic they are.

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This is why the Christian interpretation of G-D bugs me so much. Honestly I have to stop thinking about it because it makes my brain hurt.

So G-D spared you, why didn't he spare those other victims? Or better yet, why didn't he do something to "stop" the shooter.

Once you bring G-D into it where do the questions end?

If G-D is so in control he can interject and change our lives why the fuck are people dying. Why doesn't G-D do something to stop school shooting. Like by Idk fucking guiding Congress to pass gun control.

This kids quote basically says G-D wanted me safe but didn't give a shit about those other victims.

I've seen you do this before, refuse to write the word "god". Are you Wiccan or Pagan? Or just worried it's like Voldemort and will notice you if you name it?

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I've seen you do this before, refuse to write the word "god". Are you Wiccan or Pagan? Or just worried it's like Voldemort and will notice you if you name it?

I'm pretty sure not writing out the word God is a tradition from Judaism.

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Sorry, I should have been more clear, he ellipses were mine. They were just added details like his major, how often he studied at that library and the fact that he is graduating next month. I didn't feel like the added anything to my point and honestly didn't feel like typing it all out.

Ah -- OK. Sorry about that.

I think you summed up my anger very well. It's not just that it's the heat of the moment "thank God!" or "I feel so blessed," it the underlying vocabulary that was used. I read that and immediately thought "there's a guy who is going to be offering up 'testimony'" at church next Sunday.

Glad the rest of my post made sense to you. It sounds like you have a mind that open to the whole world deserving to be safe, not just one person who worships a certain way.

I think your anger is the righteous anger of a good person, not really against this one guy, but against the whole cultural underpinning behind the "I'm saved, so God looks after me" mindset.

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I tend to believe that God lets certain things happen. He also "saves" certain folks for an unknown future purpose. When I was going through the worst times of my life, I couldn't understand why God was letting these things happen. Almost 20 years later, I know why.

There's been some deep shit going on in my life right now. But instead of stomping my feet and getting all negative about it, I've come to understand the reasons for it. There's lessons to be learned in this situation.

So...while I believe there's a purpose to things and some things have a ripple effect, I choose to believe there's a reason. It may be to stir people to action, it may be to learn a lesson, it may be to force some people to open their eyes.

Anyway...that's how I see things...

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