A very successful, and very religious woman was in New York with her mother and daughter. She was in New York for business reasons, but invited her daughter and mother to enjoy the sights. While in New York, they visited all the sights that they desired, and being enamored with fashion, spent a lot of the time shopping and simply enjoying life. After a week or so of fun, outside of work, it was time to fly home to Oregon. The flight in which was scheduled was the last available flight that would enable this woman to be home on the day of her 3 year old sons birthday. While moving through the large New York airport, they would stop at various shops and a restaurant, enjoying their final hours in New York. Soon however, fun came to an end and it was time to reach their boarding area.
She was not the most punctual woman. That is not to say that she was never on time, she was usually on time when punctuality was required. But she was certainly never early. As time ran short on their flight departure, they raced to customs to have their bags checked, go through security and so on. With very little time until the flight, it was time for her to retrieve her I.D. It was at this moment when she would face her greatest conflict of the trip. She did not have her I.D.
In a moment of panic, she tried to calm herself down. She then looked at her mother and daughter and insisted they continue through to the plane while she tries to retrace her steps. Being in a large airport, she would have to take a train from point to point as she scrambled back to the places she had been. In the time that this took, the time for the flight was nearing too close for comfort. She returned to various shops and so forth, asking if an I.D. had been spotted only to feel the knot in her stomach tighten as a look of confusion grew over the employees she asked. This was about all she could bear. In the struggle with only minutes until the plane was to leave, she returned to her train in tears, hoping that she might be able to talk her way onto the plane. Something that she knew would be impossible.
While in tears, she began praying to God that a miracle would occur. Not long after, while still in tears with the belief that she would miss her sons birthday, a security guard approached her with a question. He asked of her name, “are you Mary?” She looked up, surprised. “yes,” she replied. “I have your I.D. here. I found it while walking to the train.” He held up an I.D. It was in fact hers. Tears of fear quickly became tears of joy and relief. She found even greater relief when she found that even though she was incredibly late for her flight, it had been delayed for quite some time, allowing her to board and later make it home in time for her son’s birthday.
This is a true story. My aunt, whose name is not Mary, for her privacy, actually went through this experience. I remember hearing her tell this story. At the end of the story, she went on to speak about how blessed she was by God for Him to answer her prayer. She would then end her story by saying, “I am so blessed.”
Now let me start by saying that I love my aunt. She is a kind and loving person. But this is something that all Christians fall in to. They believe that they are being humble; glory be to God, they might say. But what Christians do not realize is that by saying this, you are, to the most explicit degree, spitting in the face of those who suffer their entire lives.
We see this all of the time. People thanking God for shining the light on them, while in this same moment, playing the part of the completely blind to the reality of this life. What’s more is that these people who believe that they are blessed appear very narcissistic. Look at the things that these people believe God is blessing them with. God blessed me with the ability to play Football. God blessed me when I thought I would be late to work by guiding me to my keys. God delivered a man unto me holding the I.D. I needed to board the plane to make it to my sons birthday. These things are so petty. These “blessings” are so offensive in light of the reality we know to be true. So what is occurring at the same time as these blessings?
In the story above, her turmoil lasted about an hour. In that time, roughly 1,000 children under the age of 5 died. It is not hard to believe that the parents of these children were praying to the same God as my aunt that their child would be spared, and yet their prayers went unanswered. We can look at humans all we want, but suffering extends beyond our species. Animals in the wild were literally eaten alive in the time that my aunt faced this “crisis”. In the time that you have read this post, people have died of starvation and been diagnosed with a life-threatening illnesses. The list goes on and on. But isn’t what I have provided more than enough?
When Christians proclaim God’s favoritism over them, no statement is more vile to me. And I know that they do not always realize what they are saying, but that’s the problem. Open your eyes people. Open your eyes to the reality of this experience we call life. To believe that a God would help you find your keys, or throw a touchdown pass, while allowing a 5 year old to suffer his/her whole life and then die after hundreds if not thousands of the most sincere and desperate prayers, you are a narcissist, or you need to wake up.
Some people have been dealt better hands than others. This is a sad fact of life. No blessings, no punishments, nothing. This is a reality that makes sense and does not permit such selfish behavior. To rather claim that God blessed you with these little things is not a humble act, it is a selfish and immoral one. Driving my point home, I leave you with a video by Sam Harris. I conclude my thoughts by saying that this was primarily to express why many of us atheists show such displeasure when people speak of blessings around us. We know that you believe blessings are real and good. But they are not. They are only offensive when you consider the well-being of all who experience this thing we call life.