A close-knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn was plunged into a new round of mourning Monday by the death of a baby who was delivered by cesarean section after his parents were killed in a grisly hit-and-run crash a day earlier.

Police hunted for the suspected driver, identified as Julio Acevedo, saying he was barreling down a residential street in a BMW at 60 mph, or twice the speed limit, on Sunday morning when he collided with a car hired to take the couple to the hospital.

The death of the newborn on Monday piled tragedy upon tragedy and compounded the community's grief. The infant was expected to be buried near the fresh graves of his parents, Nachman and Raizy Glauber, both 21. About a thousand community members turned out for the young couple's funeral a day earlier.

"The mood in the neighborhood is very heavy," said Oscar Sabel, a retired printer who lives near the scene of the accident. "We all hoped the baby would survive."

Brooklyn is home to the largest community of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside Israel, more than 250,000. The couple married last year and were living in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

They were members of the Satmar Hasidic sect, whose men dress in dark coats and hats, wear long beards like their Eastern European ancestors and have limited dealings with the outside world. Raizy Glauber grew up in a prominent rabbinical family. Her husband was studying at a rabbinical college; his family founded a line of clothing for Orthodox Jews. (source)

Question for the religious people here: If it was God's will that these parents and their unborn baby die in a hit and run, how can we hold the driver responsible based on his free will?

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Even though this question is not intended for me to respond, being an atheist, I am anyway.

My initial reaction when I heard this news story the other day was of sadness. It's a sad experience for families and friends to go through, the death of loved ones. Reading this more detailed description here, and then reading the posed question, I recall numerous times during a funeral service or in reading a death notice, about how the event was an act of God, that the deceased is now with God, that God works in mysterious ways, or it was part of God's plan. For all of my adult life, I have been amazed that people can hold on to that religious thought at all. Due to my beliefs, with the exception of close family and friends, I will only attend visitations or wakes, not the actual funeral service.

I my mind, there may be several correct answers to the question, however who is to say what God's intent was. Maybe God had to prevent this couple from having children because of what they would have done in the future; or maybe the speeding driver needed to experience whatever is in his future as punishment for his past. Preachers and Rabbis and others could invent numerous theories. All I'll do, once again, is shake my head, roll my eyes, and/or sigh, partially amused and partially annoyed that intelligent (?) people can think and believe these things.

I think you're missing my central point which is, how can the driver have free will and be held responsible for his actions if, as religious people say, "It is God's will"?

The accident might have had multiple purposes. But it may be how God is punishing the driver, be it for some other thoughts or actions. That could be God's will. And any punishment society gives that man is God's will as well.

There are other religious people who feel God does take a step back and lets life on Earth just happen, more or less as an observer to His/Her creation. In that case, God's will is to permit bad things to happen on Earth, as many believe the only important judgement happens in Heaven.

To some people we are all just puppets of God: we have no "free will".  To others, we are servants who must do as instructed if they wish to receive the ultimate, final reward. Otherwise, we will be doomed for eternal punishment. 

Yet another contradiction to religious thinking... It is both God's will, and the driver's fault.

You just can't win, and you can't even break even!

Why  not buy into the simple, obvious answer? God is imaginary and bad things happen to everyone, good  and bad..

Well I don't believe in "God", but I was trying to take the viewpoint of religious people that I know. I believe most religious people try to find answers using a belief in a god because of their inability to comprehend a world without a supreme being, due to their indoctrination of their religion. They will interpret passages from their holy books to justify laws and decisions to deal with those whose actions go against what they believe is the lifestyle and behaviour their god wants practiced.

Most religious people cannot "buy into the simple, obvious answer". For them to even let their thoughts go too deeply there is a terrible thing. The fear factor helps keep them under control.

Better to help the family recover, and keep the ass---- off the streets.

I didn't find the answer to my question in there. When a horrendous event happens resulting in loss of life, and it seems that some party is responsible, how can he (the perpetrator) be said to have free will if the accident is God's will? It seems it should be one or the other but not both.

Belle - "Free will is in relation to your choice as to whether you accept or reject god."  

That makes sense to me, if you define God['s love] in the right way.  Obviously, if he wasn't having a heart attack or something, but was just being careless - then Julio Acevedo chose to reject it.  Love is not an all-powerful thing, and we can accept or reject it. 

In fact, my little system can answer just about any theological problem.  Nobody seems to believe me: I can't find anyone to collaborate with. 

Simon, if I wasn't having such difficulty with ADHD and school, i would totally be working with you, but it has been hard.  I like what you have been doing, and after school is over I can work with you on it but it will be a few years.   I really like what you are doing in pulling the good human wisdom discoveries out of religion and helping recover their usefulness to the non-religious.


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