Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Why I Don't Like "Faith-Promoting Stories" of Miraculous Saving when Others Die

The worst part of many "faith-promoting stories" when someone avoids death is the implication of unrighteousness or unworthiness of those who weren't saved from death.

For example, when the towers fell on 9/11, stories circulated about people who had been delayed getting to work or didn't take their scheduled flight for some reason - and many of those stories expressed thanks that God had saved them from death as a result. I appreciate those people's faith, but I also understand the subtle message that God did NOT intervene for the many people who died in that horrific event.

In nearly all cases, the stories are not malicious or intentional; it's just a case of not thinking through the implications - and not recognizing the prideful foundation (the Rameumpton) on which the stories are built. The irony is that most people who feel protected and tell the stories are coming from a place they see as humbly recognizing God's presence in their lives, but the way the stories are framed is not grounded in humility.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do think we need to leave open the possibility that at least some of those stories ARE grounded in faith & humility, but that we as the listeners seem to have a need to ask, "Well then, why didn't the Lord save everyone?" The bottom line is that I believe the timing of the end of each of our mortal lives is in the hand of the Lord. The actual mechanics are somewhat moot, since the timing is up to the Lord, I could die in a car accident where I am the only fatality & everyone else is spared, or I could die of cancer, but when my time is up, it is up. I don't believe that group outcome applies here.

Anonymous said...

I get what you are saying but don't necessarily agree that it is as all-or-nothing as you imply. I read (perhaps too rigidly) your post to be saying that if we insist on attributing miraculous saving to God then we must also tribute non-miraculous non-saving to Him as well. Rather, I think we should work to foster the "But if not" attitude where the possibility exists for the miracle but we don't choose to destroy our faith or Gods intentions I there is no miracle.

Papa D said...

I agree that some (many) of the stories are spoken from a humble heart, but I still don't like them, as a general rule. The implications simply are not acceptable to me. I would rather the people keep all these things and ponder them in their hearts.

I do not have an all-or-nothing view of this, and I probably didn't make that clear enough in the post. I have said many times that I don't understand the apparent randomness of God's intervention in people's lives, but I do believe He intervenes sometimes and not other times.

fraggle said...

I've been prone to feel this way for a long time, but I've recently been reading the war chapters of the Book of Mormon and the experiences of the Stripling Warriors. What I'd never noticed/fully realised before was that it's Helaman, not Mormon, who is making the connection between the faith and faithfulness of the Striplings and their preservation; and not just Helaman, but the rest of the army too. The ones who are doing the dying see and bear witness and are even *encouraged* by the preservation of the ones who are not.

I'm not entirely sure quite what to make of this fully yet, but I know in some way I've had this quite wrong.