"Help me, help me, sweet Jesus, help. I'm going to die."

Natalie Lewis, 24, Ginny Doyle, 44, and a still-unidentified pilot died when a hot air balloon burst into flames shortly after takeoff on Friday night near the University of Richmond. Horrified onlookers heard the women screaming for help as they desperately jumped from the basket to escape the flames.

"Help me, help me, sweet Jesus, help. I'm going to die. Oh my God, I'm going to die," witnesses reported hearing one of them scream as the gondola and balloon separated.

Jesus did not perform a miracle to rescue the woman as she cried out to him. Why not? Google search featured a blog entry where Google user and atheist Tessa Schlesinger asked this very question. She's been flooded with support, condemnation and (of course) explanations from religious who claim to know the answer.

A sample:

"...I believe some people are more "God-obsessed" and angry - and so willing to be nasty about faith that they lose the compassion that even non believers have.  No offense to you sir.  It is a tasteless comment on a horrific death of 3 human beings.  It is also notable to me that this person who cried out in sheer terror as her life was ending is probably in the presence of the God she cried out to.  I feel badly for the families in mourning."

God does not work in mysterious ways - he works EXACTLY as if he does not exist.  Keep up.  ;-)

"Atheists often wonder why they are viewed negatively. For my part, it's because they can't resist saying "where's your Messiah now, eh?" when tragedy strikes."

"I have had many a prayer unanswered in my life so far and I still believe that God exists and that he is good. Why? Because he always comes through in the end even if it's in a way I don't expect. God promises to hear prayers and he says that he will answer them, but you're missing the whole point! The point of "If you ask my father for a fish, will he give you a stone?" is not that God will give you exactly what you want every single time. If that were true, our lives would be a complete mess. What Jesus meant by that example is that God gives good gifts to his children when they ask, and sometimes we have to go through hard times in order to receive them and fully appreciate them. Indeed, God works in mysterious ways, but he promises to bring good to those who love him and he never leaves us without instruction."

"Wow! I came to a different conclusion. I was thinking of all the people who die tragically and how few times I hear of them crying out to God or Jesus in that moment. Here is a victorious woman who probably loved God dearly. She was ushered in to Gods' presence because of Jesus death for her. It is much more tragic to be facing death and having no one to cry out to but yourself. We all die eventually. You should read "Foxes Book of Martyrs" and see the incredible miracles of people being burned alive and praising God until their body fell apart in the flames. God be with the friends, family and students as they say goodbye. I will remember this cry to Jesus, our only hope for forgiveness."

Shoulda prayed to Joe Pesci.  Woulda been just as useful.

"I must say that the "comment" smacks tasteless, unnecessary, and fundamentally inappropriate within the context of the dying moments of those individuals.  But then it is your prerogative to comment as you see fit.  That said, it would appear that your "comment" showed more desire for opportunistic expression and exploitation of a tragedy. Not enlightened humanism. It displayed a great unwillingness to consider that "sometimes" that which we cannot see or explain within our own selectively skewed purview (be that out of conviction, indoctrination, academic enrichment, ignorance or simple obstinance) can still ring true for some but not others. Human compassion and love were nowhere to be found.  An individual calls on the Lord and some earth bound observer always has to take issue with it from an "enlightened" "on high" perspective.  The death of an individual who cry's out for help does not disprove that the God of the Bible is "incapable" or "absent" or "insufficient." Nor does it technically prove anything "on face value." It is within the overarching intention and framework of scripture examined "within appropriate context," along with faith and belief as a result of personal experience that one comes to understand that there "just might be" something beyond the supposed self sufficiency of strict rationalism or blind denial.  Still others might come to an opposite conclusion.  And that's fine. Unfortunate, but fine.  I am a scientist, but from 'my experience' all is not "science," if you will, and science is not all."
Obviously some other 'christian' either had a stronger faith or prayed more fervently that they wouldn't be save. Concluding, prayers are in fact answered. 

And so on...

Tessa Schlesinger claims she was simply asking a legitimate question. Even if taken at her word, was this done in poor taste? Do you think Schlesinger accomplished anything positive in starting a discussion this way?

Tags: blogging, death, prayer

Views: 1150

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I think the obsession is often with atheists. Asking crass questions about where is the Christian God at a time of three such awful deaths is a good indictor of compulsive Christian baiting. Leave them to their grief. We all know Christians have a perfectly cogent answer as to why their god allows suffering.

"We all know Christians have a perfectly cogent answer as to why their god allows suffering."  - John, I'm not being crass, but what is it?  This is what I've been trying to get at clearly.  I promise you I've got no axe to grind. 

Well, one of them is that God gave men free will, the ability choose between right and wrong. Through the choices men make, they find redemption. That bad things happen is because of this freedom. God wants as many people to freely turn to him as possible. Unless it can be shown that at least as many could be redeemed with less suffering in the world, then it can't be argued that the level of human suffering is incompatible with a good god.

I think it's a cop out, but there you are

In other words, the suffering is there for people to pretty much either choose or not choose.  Yes, that seems like a cop out, because people die in balloon accidents that aren't their fault. 

I think an alternative, more coherent explanation would be that God made a universe where life is possible - yay for us.  In this universe where life is possible, along with that, we have to accept that He couldn't be changing it every five minutes to fit in with what we find nice.  We get the universe, we have to put up with a certain amount of crap because it inevitably comes with the territory.  I do believe that He could help us in our efforts to be good, and this wouldn't violate any natural order, since people like Jesus and Buddha placed control of morality into human hands, so it's our domain in the first place. 

There are arguments to explain some suffering. They fail to explain all the animal suffering as animals have no chance of redemption. Also they fail to explain suffering brought about by natural disaster.


Actually, thinking about it, it turns out that the two explanations aren't so far apart, and are complimentary.  If you choose good, you're redeemed, and if you choose bad, you're lost.  In an ordinary moral sense.  Simples. 

Some atheists can be extremely nasty in situations like this but there was nothing wrong with this particular comment...nor the comment nor the context in which she wrote it.

Semantics, I know, but if I were to say "help me, Kelley, I'm going to wash the car" I'd expect her to respond affirmatively by helping me to wash the car.

"Help me Jesus, I'm going to die"? Bad wording. Perhaps if she had yelled "help me Jesus, I want to survive"...

Hi Strega....at least Jesus will survive:-)

Too funny. I am going to go off to work smiling over the image of Jesus getting taken out by a bus while lip-syncing I Will Survive.  That's wrong on so many levels.

There's only one reply to that: Jesus the Super-Rapper!

Or...perhaps it's this preacher proclaiming that Jesus Christ is his nigga:


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