"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?

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I challenge anybody to say something witty and memorable when they're falling out of a burning hot air balloon. 

It didn't go unanswered. He just got the wrong guy!

Gotta rely on science for that one ;)

I would not like to ask where the miracle is, but why they started to crash in the first place considering God was loved so much and He likes to look out for his sheep.  

A miracle should never have been necessary.  If my child was plummeting to the ground in a hot air balloon and I could intervene to stop it, I would.  To not stop it sounds horrifying.  Unless the one not stopping it is God, then in THAT case, it is a perfect decision because God is Perfect and all loving and all Good.  

Got cancer?  Praise God, he is just testing your faith.  

Are you a quadriplegic?  Great!  Praise God that he graces you with whatever life he allows you to continue to have, for you were and always will be a filthy sinner deserving of worse. 


Even more sickening that Christians attempt to rationalize the obvious disgusting behaviors of their God in times of death-situations or horrifying accident-situations and ultimately express that God is perfect even though incredibly horrifying things happen to supposedly good Christians, worthy of Gods love and interference.  

I do believe this was done in poor taste and even seems cruel at that point and time. I don't see much positivity in some of the statements made here. My daughter died 5 years ago at 34, I felt like dying and it has taken a long time for the pain to ease but the sadness will always be there. I miss her everyday. When people said to me such things as; "she's in a better place now", she is in the arms of Jesus' I didn't get angry or lecture them I just told them that I did not believe but thanked them for their concern. The only place where I believe she is, is in my heart and in my memories.

Yes, I do feel outraged at what is done in the name of religion. Some of the comments I see (not only on this subject) are filled with such anger and contempt. I am an atheist and if people ask me I tell them yes. If they want to discuss it then fine. Most people talk about it with me and only a few come right out and say they will pray for me. I think fine, pray.

See you.

Upon reviewing the dates of the incident and the article, I wish to conclude - Based off normal social conditioning and judgments of such situations - That it was in fact out of line to use the incident as a means of advancing an atheistic viewpoint so soon.  Although I personally find nothing wrong with it.  

But the viewpoint stands as solid reasoning.  Maybe just wait a wee bit longer.


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