Letter to the Editor

Miners' fate in God's hands?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

To the editor:At this writing the fate of the Utah coal miners is still not known. If they are found alive, we shall no doubt be treated to a spate of news coverage that will refer to their lives having been preserved as a "miracle," i.e., an event that could not, in the ordinary course of events, be expected to occur and cannot be explained as having happened other than by supernatural intervention. If this happens, consumers of news will be expected to draw the conclusion that the deity, all-good and all-powerful as he is, showed us just how much he loves us by saving the miners. Is there anybody out there who disagrees with me thus far?

Very well. If the saving of the miners must be taken as evidence of God's benevolence toward us, then if they are found instead to have perished, I am waiting to see if the logically opposite and symmetrically proper conclusion will be drawn: that God is a neglectful absentee landlord, if not a homicidal monster. My guess is that in that event, the theological implications will be omitted from the coverage. Or perhaps the Rev. Pat Robertson will, from his vantage point of one who has a personal relationship with God, enlighten us as to exactly how the miners had offended God.

Atheists like myself are not willing to do such mental flip-flops. Orwell called the process double-think. And our unfortunate religionists have to do them all the time.

DONN S. MILLER, Tamms, Ill.