Houston Firefighter Captain William Dowling is, without a doubt, a hero of the highest caliber. According to an article on khou.com while fighting a fire in the Southwest Inn last Friday, he and 4 other firefighters were trapped in the building when the roof fell on top of them. He was the only survivor, and he remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma with both legs amputated. For this to happen while he was doing his job shows an abundance of courage on Captain Dowling’s part, and it is the hope of this writer that he pulls through.
But what should stick in the craw of any and every self-labelled atheist out there is that his family is thanking Yahweh for sparing his life. Of course they believe that their prayers and not the medical facilities will preserve him from here until he hopefully recovers, and of course that’s irrational and wrong, but let’s put that aside. They think the creator of the universe specifically chose for William Dowling to live and for his 4 fellow firefighters to die.
“We trust in God, and we know that he answers prayers. We’re just thankful that he’s alive,” Rickie Dowling said. “I believe that God will raise him up and he’ll be a great testimony to the grace of God.”
So did nobody pray for all five of the men to come out of the Southwest Inn alive? Christians often fall back on the belief that Yahweh decides when it is each person’s time to die and that when he does so, they will enjoy eternal bliss in Heaven with him. Why would anyone pray to keep someone out of eternal bliss?
The obvious explanation, of course, is that religion is the way people avoid realities that are too unpleasant for them to face. It’s not that religious people are weak. They’re not at all. The issue is that when one puts off dealing with a problem or a fear, the problem or fear only gets bigger and more difficult to deal with. The heroic Captain Dowling did not survive because Yahweh saved him any more than his equally heroic compatriots died because Yahweh killed them. He survived simply because he was not killed.
If Rickie Dowling really wants to show the world the power of prayer, he should pray for his son’s amputated legs to grow back. He would get $1,000,000 from James Randi to help with any medical bills, and lots of people would believe Yahweh actually exists and maybe start worshiping him. Obviously, that won’t happen. Prayer doesn’t cause miracles to happen, and Yahweh does not exist outside the minds of those who believe in him.
In any event, this atheist wishes the Dowling family the very best and the good Captain a speedy recovery. To read more about this story, click here, here, here, here, or here. Don’t click here though. Just kidding. Click there. And while you’re at it, click here.