No Atheists In [Chilean] Mines?

(Thanks, ThinkingAtheist) :)

I was going to refrain from posting anything about the Chilean miners, but Bill Donohue changed my mind. As usual, Bill Donohue is making himself look very foolish in a very recent Catholic League
news release:

"The miraculous rescue of all 33 Chilean miners is difficult to understand from a purely secular perspective. In this day and age of militant atheism, coupled with relentless assaults on Roman Catholicism, it is refreshing to read about the central role that Catholicism played in helping these courageous men survive, and of their enormous gratitude to God.

To those who cling to the superstition that there is no meaning to life beyond sheer material existence, we ask them to reflect on the following testimonials. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no atheists in trapped mines. Click here for some inspiring comments."

Actually, Bill, the "miraculous" rescue wasn't some divine intervention and it's very easy to understand. People came together and used naturalistic means (technology) to rescue the trapped miners. The miners' faith may have helped them prevail, but faith alone certainly would not have saved them (God did not teleport them out). I'm so sick of the equivocation with the word miracle. An improbable totally naturalistic event is not a miracle...and you can't attribute God to something just because it is "against all odds."

We can read about the role that belief had in doing good here, but what about all the bad, Bill? You certainly can't have it both ways; if you want to look at the good that is a result of belief, you also have to account for the bad. How about the great role that Catholicism is playing in hindering embryonic stem cell research, telling Africans that condoms can make AIDS worse, and contributing to anti-gay sentiments in this nation that lead to the deaths of homosexuals? All that aside...

It's nonsensical to say that atheists "cling to a superstition that there is no meaning to life beyond sheer material existence." What does this even mean, anyway? Atheists like myself do not believe in any gods who set up some goals that we have to strive for. Everyone is different, though, of course, but many say that we can make our lives meaningful by being a good person, educating others, doing what we want to do, and not harming others. My life is tremendously meaningful...and I don't need to believe in any gods to establish meaning. I think Bill is confusing materialism with nihilism and atheism here. Materialists (most atheists) will say that nothing exists beyond the physical world, but this doesn't entail a lack of meaning. How is lack of belief a superstition anyway, Bill?

The idea of "no atheists in foxholes" is nonsense. Bill should do his homework and think about the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and maybe even read this article.

I'm tired of hearing about the faith of these Chilean miners. I'm tired of God getting all of the credit for the rescue. Chile doesn't need more superstition and reinforcement of religious belief. People are going to flock to this in all credulity and God will be thanked...but never mind all of the Haitians who died in the recent earthquake, all of the people who die of AIDS, tsunami victims, or children who die at a very early age because of disease and other maladies. God will help rescue the miners, but he won't worry about the rest of the world. Give me a break. If God really cared so much about the miners, why were they even trapped in there in the first place?

God always gets the thanks, but is never blamed. Baseball players always thank God for the World Series wins and home runs, but they never say, "God, screw you for letting me strike out!" Football players never flip off God when they fumble the ball. Hockey players don't blaspheme when they miss scoring a goal on a breakaway.

What we should take away from this rescue is this: people who come together with a common goal can work together and accomplish great things. Although many people behave poorly and often lack compassion, we can accomplish a great deal by working together to achieve a common good...and we don't need to believe in any gods to prevail through difficult times.

I thought that God hates miners, anyway?