For a while, it wasn’t clear that Josie would survive, either. He was in a coma, on a ventilator, suffering from double pneumonia. But he lived. His oldest brother, who is also named Thomas, told me that the physicians treating Josie were stunned to see a person survive 20 minutes in a septic tank. “It is one of the many miracles we have experienced,” he said.
To fall into a septic tank is also unlikely, is that not a miracle?
I’m reasonably sure an atheist would sacrifice his life for his child. But I also don’t doubt that Thomas Vander Woude’s powerful faith cleared the path into the tank. A person who has an articulated calling, who believes in something larger than himself, could more immediately accept the gravity of the moment.
If you replace the word Atheist with jew, muslim, black or gay this would be a grave insult. It’s also insulting to anyone of faith as it implies that the only reason you are selfless is your faith not your own choices as a human being. This is just plain insulting to everyone.
This works on the idea that our faith drives us to help others, to defend our families and to make sacrifices for our families.Being human makes us do that. I have no delusions that Thomas jumped in not because he believed in god or satan or heaven or hell, but because he wanted to save his child’s life. Co-opting his action to make a dig at atheists is just stupid. One may as well state that his bravery is due to his love of country music for all that’s worth. The man’s bravery and sacrifice was because he was a father and his child was in danger rather than him somehow gaining a deep respect for life due to a faith in a god.
And if anything? Surely the atheist who does such an act understands the gravity of the moment even more so considering the atheist doesn’t have a belief in an eternal life. To the atheist it’s the only throw of the dice, no re-rolls and no take backs.
Avicenna is blogging for the SSA over the May Day holiday and will be doing so on the Saturday/Sunday too. He is trying to reach the goal of $500 of your shiny American Dollars. Help him do so by donating here. And leave your suggestions on the concurrent hangout happening over here.