Even if I felt like praying, now I’m too terrified to try

I was reading this thing by Hans Fiene — you know, this Hans Fiene:

Hans Fiene is a Lutheran pastor in Illinois and the creator of Lutheran Satire, a series of comical videos intended to teach the Lutheran faith.

He’s writing about the latest mass murder in which a gunmen slaughtered people in a church. He’s explaining that this is not the time to be criticizing religion for the failure of prayer to protect them.

However, we should all recognize that pointing to a couple dozen warm corpses and saying, “Fat lot of good your Jebus-begging did you” is an act of profound ugliness.

OK, OK, I can see his point. This is a tragedy, and it’s a little unfair to chastise the dead for the failure of their faith. I could agree that maybe this is an appropriate time for empathy, rather than mockery. But wait…that isn’t his point at all.

When those saints of First Baptist Church were murdered yesterday, God wasn’t ignoring their prayers. He was answering them.

Say what?

It may seem, on the surface, that God was refusing to give such protection to his Texan children. But we are also praying that God would deliver us from evil eternally. Through these same words, we are asking God to deliver us out of this evil world and into his heavenly glory, where no violence, persecution, cruelty, or hatred will ever afflict us again.

So those dead church-goers were praying for God to kill them? Dude, that is fucked up. If it’s bad for atheists to mock the sincerity of the faithful, it’s also bad to pretend that the deceased were praying for their demise, and God was being nice by sending a gunman to blow them away.

Next, he talks about how Jesus was mocked by the priests and then killed.

Yet God proved his son’s divinity by, three days later, lifting him up out of the death those men gave him. Despite the chief priests, elders, and scribes doing all they could to silence the one who claimed to be the savior of the world, God turned their hatred into the catalyst of the world’s salvation.

Twenty six people were killed on Sunday. So we can expect them to rise from the dead on, oh, Tuesday?

Despite the horror that madman made the saints of First Baptist endure, those who endured it with faith in Christ have received his victory. Although the murderer filled their eyes with terror, God has now filled them with his glory. Although he persecuted them with violence, God seized that violence and has now used it to deliver his faithful into a kingdom of peace. Although this madman brought death to so many, God has used that death to give them the eternal life won for them in the blood of Jesus.

Dude. Fucked up. Was the terror a necessary part of their ‘rescue’ into heaven? The blood and pain and fear? This Jesus guy is one evil, nasty character.

And, hang on, they had to endure it with faith in Christ to get this glorious reward of a terrible death. What about the ones with no faith, or who lost faith in this moment of unjust torment? If they’re burning in hell, then this was an awful and futile exercise. What about the people who weren’t delivered into heaven, and instead just watched loved ones die? Are the survivors hellbound and undeserving of the sweet, sweet release of a bullet plowing through their lungs so they drown in their own blood?

Those who persecute the church and those who mock Christians for trusting in Almighty God rather than Almighty Government may believe that the bloodshed in Texas proves the futility of prayer. But we believers see the shooting in Texas as proof of something far different—proof that Christ has counted us worthy to suffer dishonor for his name and proof that no amount of dishonor, persecution, or violence can stop him from answering our prayer to deliver us from evil.

We already know that God’s aim is terrible, but now you’re telling me someone could pray to get over their cold, and God will interpret that to mean he should deliver them out of this evil world and into his heavenly glory with a bullet to the brain? STOP PRAYING, everyone — you might be wishing for a puppy, and God will think you’re begging for bears to eat you.

Jesus, Hans. I hope the Lord answers your prayers soon, and that your ascent into heaven is preceded by truly majestic quantities of dishonor and violence. You deserve it. Keep on prayin’, buddy.

I hope your little essay about groveling before the savage cruelty of your god wasn’t more of your version of “satire”, though, because that ain’t funny or enlightening.


  1. zetopan says

    “Religious logic” is an oxymoron, and the pastor is simply a “true moron”. Not need to try reducing war, hunger, or disease – their idiot god is actually “helping” people with those. What does it take to be a religious leader? A total failure to comprehend how anything in the universe actually operates and an unshakable belief in magic.

  2. Larry says

    Somebody have some Dramamine? The spinning put forth in that “logic” has me dizzier than the time I spent the evening downing rum and cokes. How is his vision of christianity different from Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacres? These people are sick, sick, sick!

  3. says

    OK, OK, I can see his point. This is a tragedy, and it’s a little unfair to chastise the dead for the failure of their faith. I could agree that maybe this is an appropriate time for empathy, rather than mockery.

    To be less charitable – I haven’t seen any mockery,* only anger. And the anger isn’t directed at the victims but at the “thoughts & prayers” politicians taking millions from the NRA.

    * To be sure, I don’t associate with the shittier elements of the atheosphere.

  4. Scientismist says

    Sounds like not only a Biblical, but a Shakespearean scholar. This Lutheran pastor wants future potential mass-murderers to consider that, if you want your victims to go straight to hell, you should heed the cautionary advice of Hamlet, and wait until some time when they are not praying. But if you have no particular animosity for some random bunch of victims you just want to mow down for the fun of it, then a prayer meeting is your best bet to kill with kindness. Atrocities must be well-timed for maximum spiritual effectiveness.

    I would add a ‘/s’ mark, but I’m afraid that this is not satire, but exactly the message he’s sending.

  5. jrkrideau says

    # 4 Scientismist
    On the other hand we could the killer must have been inspired by god. Otherwise he would not have chosen a church.
    Presumably he is in heaven already, with a commendation?

  6. microraptor says

    In other news, they had someone on the evening news here suggesting that we should have shooting escapes in buildings like we have fire escapes, so apparently we truly have reached the point where mass shootings are treated as if they’re just freak occurrences that happen randomly with no direct human action involved.

  7. Bruce says

    Some Hindus believe that life starts before conception, so it is necessary for a girl to be married by the time of her first period.
    If we apply a similar idea to young males, then each teenage boy is killing millions of potential half-souls every time. But because these sperm are innocent, they presumably go straight to heaven, where sperm is the vast majority of the population there. If god in Texas did a good deed here as alleged, then the greatest good is to encourage the maximum number of young males to follow the maximum amount of emission. Nobody should waste their time going to church or praying when they could be jerking or helping someone to jerk. It’s the most efficient way to send souls to heaven.
    It’s a shame about the world history of colonialism, when we now realize that the church would have been better served by everyone staying home and having a party of one.
    You owe it to god to ask yourselves, who have I helped to have emissions today?
    Where would we be without this preacher’s divine inspiration?

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    Earlier tonight, rawstory.com had a headline: “Texas gunman Devin Patrick Kelley: a militant atheist who beat his wife and child”, which led to an error message.

    Now they have 14 separate “Texas” headlines, 13 about the church shooter (& 1 about the UTex campus cops rousting ~35 nazis), but nothing about anything “athe”.

    My current guess – one of RS’s too-many too-sensationalist copywriters saw something about Kelley verbally attacking the church in question and took a clickbait leap too far, with the editors then pulling that piece after feedback from commenters &/or others.

    Howsomeverwise: … the shooter had personal ties to the church through his wife; the gunman claimed he briefly taught Bible school, but he also liked Facebook pages devoted to atheism and weirded friends out with his posts about it.

    I don’t feel like looking for samples from Kelley’s weird posts tonight, but feel fairly sure they’ll make a good share of blogfodder around here, & elsewhere, before long.

  9. vucodlak says

    Yeah, that’s about what I was taught. If, however, you ask questions about why we shouldn’t just be killing everybody when they’re in church, you risk getting kicked out of confirmation class.

    The pastor thought I was being a smart ass, but I was genuinely curious. That was the logical conclusion of what he was teaching, so I couldn’t understand why Christians didn’t simply convert everybody, then kill them. That would be the righteous thing to do. Even if killing is a sin, you could always ask forgiveness once you were done. Far worse to allow people to go to Hell.

    It was that line of thinking (among a few others) that prompted the pastor to suggest that “some people” in the class might be going to Hell. He was pretty circumspect about it, but everybody knew who he meant. At the time I thought it was because he believed I was mocking him (I wasn’t), or even God (nope), but now I wonder if he said it because I made him uncomfortable. As I said, it was a perfectly logical conclusion, based on what we were taught.

    In any case, the pastor was pissed, and I spent the next decade or so begging God not to condemn me to Hell.

  10. says

    And the people that just got wounded and hurt did just not pray hart enough? God did not allow them to die because there faith was to weak?
    What a sick ideology.

  11. says

    Pierce@9, the Raw Story article you mentioned was actually an Agence France Presse if I’m not mistaken. But if it was it seems to have vanished.

    As for Fiene his statement sounds a lot like some of the stuff New Agers believe.

  12. Rich Woods says

    @vucodlak #10:

    If, however, you ask questions about why we shouldn’t just be killing everybody when they’re in church, you risk getting kicked out of confirmation class.

    And the downside?

  13. unclefrogy says

    people seem shocked and appalled by this sermon because they do not understand what the implications of the christ really are.
    they are trying to graft it on to normal traditional religious thought when it really is very different. death and resurrection and eternal life in paradise in the afterlife free from all pain stress and sorrow. it is a rejection of life and an embrace death at its heart.

    uncle frogy

  14. TheGyre says

    Hot-diggety-damn! I see the light! Or, rather, the faint, ruddy glow of insanity. If I read this apology for mass murder correctly, the fact that I’m an atheist and do not believe in any deities (aside from that wonderful bottle of Virginia bourbon I’ve been saving for the apocalypse), means that I will not be murdered by a god directed madman the next time I step outside my house. I’m sure the Christian god wouldn’t allow my kind into ‘his heavenly glory.’ I will never win that eternal life, which, after about ten seconds of deep reflection, is totally cool by me. I mean, if Christians think it’s just fine to be be shot dead at point blank range while praying in their holy sanctuary, and that their god actually smiles on this sort of thing, well, far be it from me to object or raise objections. This explains all that gun hoarding. They’re just warming up for the Big Game Day! With love and faith in their hearts the true believers will blaze away at all of those ‘worthy to suffer dishonor for his name’, sending millions of their brethren on their smiling way to paradise. When that day arrives I will make sure I turn off the lights, pull the drapes, play some old Beautiful Day tunes, light up my bong, and crack that bottle open.

  15. vucodlak says

    @ Rich Woods, #16

    If I had gotten kicked out of confirmation class for “mocking the pastor Lord,” I would likely have gotten kicked out of my parents’ house next. Not something 12-13 year-old me considered a desirable outcome.

  16. busterggi says

    “Yet God proved his son’s divinity by, three days later, lifting him up out of the death those men gave him”

    Well these 26 folks are overdue for their resurrection. Somebody text Jesus already, that guy is always late.

  17. expat says

    I’m in the Dallas area at the moment and while I was out working, I overheard casual conversations to the effect of “it’s a good thing those people were in church – no time to sin before dying.”

    Yeah, that really takes a load off my mind….. (disgusted sarcasm)