Recently, there was a dramatic news story about an 18-month old baby that survived a car crash. Baby Lily was found in her car seat in a car that was overturned and in a river, where she had been for about 14 hours.
Fortunately for Baby Lily, she was in a properly fitted car seat and above the freezing water. Rescue workers performed CPR on her and tried to warm her. It seems that Baby Lily was very lucky. Unfortunately, her mother was not. Baby Lily’s mother did not survive the crash.
One of my friends who saw a news report on this story posted it on Facebook along with the comment, “God is good – All the time!”
While I am trilled that Baby Lily is going to be all right, I found my friend’s Facebook comments a bit unsettling for a number of reasons. First, if she believe that there was a divine hand in this car crash, which appears to be what my friend believes, and she thinks that her god enacted for the good of this baby, why did her god let the baby’s mother die? Baby Lily will now have to grow up with out a mother. The baby’s father will have to raise Lily by himself and he has also lost the woman who he described as the love of his life. In my friend’s defense, the news story she posted was an abbreviated version of the story that did not mention the mother’s death. Maybe she did not realize the mother died in the accident when she chalked this incident up to her god’s goodness.
Second, even if you do not take the mother’s death into account when you determine that Baby Lily’s survival is because of a god’s goodness, I have to ask why did this god allow the to be left in the cold for 14 hours without food, water, or the comfort of a caretaker? Baby Lily was likely frightened, lonely, and hungry for a very long time. How can this be reconciled with the goodness of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, good god? With an adult, or even an older child, one might argue that allowing a person to suffer temporarily might lead to a greater good for that person; he or she might learn from it. However, Baby Lily is only 18-months old. She is too young to process this suffering as anything more than misery. It seems unlikely that she will grow intellectually from experiencing it.
Third, even if we grant that there is a greater good for Baby Lily that will come about from her temporary suffering and the loss of her mother, what about all of the babies in the world who suffer and die? Why do people give their god credit for saving this baby but do not hold him responsible for all of the other babies who suffer and die every day?
In addition to all of this, giving a god credit for saving the baby diminishes the efforts of rescue workers and the hospital workers. Those who found the car, pried the baby out of it, warmed her, gave her CPR, and those who helped her in the hospital deserve credit for what they did. If it were not for them, Baby Lily would have remained trapped in the car and would not have survived.
Instead of praising divine beings for the good things that come out of tragic events, let’s start praising those our fellow human beings that that we can see taking steps to make those positive events come about. Looking to each other, instead of the sky, will help us learn to rely on ourselves and one another, instead of expecting to solve lives problems through prayer.
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News article about the events described in this article:
Dramatic Video Captures Rescue of Utah Toddler Trapped for 14 Hours Inside Overturned Car in River
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