First, if you haven't read my blog on the heroics of Rob Lehr
with the Give A Damn
project, please do.
I will also start by saying that there is a place in this world for people like Ben over at War on Error
, who edit their posts meticulously in the interest of not putting out the wrong vibe. I am not one of those people. I have a blog to say what's on my mind, and right now my mind is pretty livid with some people.
But first the important stuff. Rob has posted a blog
detailing the plane crash, and it is one of the more touching things I've ever read. I strongly urge everybody to read it. He's also posted an interview with Dan a day after the crash.
I know I have sung Rob's praises at length, but his blog reveals another aspect of his heroism I had not yet heard about:
"At the hospital, our travel insurance that was purchased before the trip was flat out denied by the hospital, and having dealt with a multi-thousand dollar uninsured hospital visits before, I made a quick decision. As soon as I realized our insurance wasn’t going to work, I got off the gurney, removed the electrodes and told them to stop charging me immediately, and to do whatever they could for Dan. I then requested some Gauss and materials to clean my own wounds, and I’ll never forgot the look on the nurses face when I put my melted synthetic backpacking pants back on and then pulled up a chair next to Dan to talk him through his pain. For the next 7 hours I refused pain killers and stayed by Dan’s side as much as possible until I was confident that he was safe, and I knew what had happened to the other passengers."
Let me reiterate that: with a gash on his head that would later require six stitches, burns from reaching through fire to save the co-pilot, and pieces of the melted seat grafted by the flames onto his skin, Rob refused treatment and pain killers in the interest of helping Dan.
Rob's blog is posted on Conversant Life, a Christian web site that supports the film. While there is an outpouring of admiration and sympathy, you can imagine some of the things that turned up in the comments...
"May God continue to give you his grace and peace and healing."
If what these young men have had to endure can be indicative of god's grace, then I would hope that Rob and Dan get as far away from him as possible.
Also, god is healing them? Perhaps you noticed the steady beeping in the above video emanating from the products of human ingenuity
that are sustaining Dan? Perhaps the mortals who rushed them to the hospital, risking their own life and limb in the process, or the doctors who operated on them should get some of the credit (note that by "some" I mean, "all")? If god is so interested in bestowing his grace, why let the plane crash in the first place? Could god's plan to show his goodness really be to kill a 35 year-old pilot (leaving his wife and four children without a provider), to mangle one of his followers, and to horribly scar (and perhaps kill) the co-pilot? Is this part of god's plan that us mortals are just too dense to comprehend? Give me a break.
And what of peace? These people will never
be the same again. The trauma will likely haunt them for years at a minimum. If the psychological wounds are at all mitigated, it will be by flesh and blood counselors employing tested means and modern medicine in an effort to unmake the "peace" that god has bestowed upon these people. Trying to paint something meaningful and miraculous in having a burning, bleeding friend's face in your mind is pretty shitty, and it takes a mind so drunk on faith that any horror, no matter how wretched, can be paraded out as evidence of god's "goodness." Again, it is suggested that we are to thank god for the travesty simply because it didn't turn out worse
But there is one comment I found to be particularly odious.
"The story does require this one question: if you saved Ryan, and you saved Dan...Who saved you?"
I suspect that this pious pissant is implying in a none-too-subtle fashion that an all-knowing, all-powerful god, who knew in advance that the plane would crash, watched it crash, let Dan get ripped to shreds, burned the co-pilot into a coma, and killed the pilot before leaving it to the non-believer to drag his crippled body back into the plane to rescue the two survivors, should receive the credit for inspiring Rob's heroics after all of that? Or perhaps god is to receive the credit for not killing Rob outright so that Rob could go rescue the believer while god was too occupied leaving a calling card for his "goodness" to reach his divine hand into the plane and pull anybody out?
Here's one for you, dumbass: if god was interested in rescuing any of them, why did he not just stop the plane from crashing?
This type of penitent idiocy makes me want to vomit blood.
But most importantly, how could any compassionate person try and take the credit away from Rob for what he did? How could this person even think about minimizing Rob's sacrifice and pain in the interest of proselytizing his myths to any of us, but especially to Rob? Only through faith could somebody so eagerly play the parasite and consider it holy.
But this contemptible cross-peddler manages to sink even lower.
"I wonder if Dan or Ryan wrote their story as you did, and closed with "Although I don't believe Rob exists, I consider his children a friend", if their story wouldn't beg the same question?"
Beg the question? Rob was there at the time, saving everybody despite how much it hurt. Tangibly. Witnesses saw it. Where the fuck was god? Off being pissed about two men swapping spit?
Yeah Rob, you did pretty well, but shouldn't you be grateful to my god for what you did? Fuck. No.
Then there was this one:
"I hope someday you will come face to face with the God who defeats and has control over death."
Really? Last I checked, all Christians die. If god has control over death, he bloody missed his chance to employ it, didn't he?
Let's talk about what it takes to really have power over death...
- A particularly noble human being to pull the believers from the plane that god, if he exists, just watched crash...meanwhile, believers pray.
- Other brave human beings to rush the injured survivors to the hospital, risking their own well-being in the process...meanwhile, believers pray.
- Doctors trained in techniques acquired through centuries of the scientific method treating them...meanwhile, believers pray.
- The doctors having tools at their disposal with which to treat them, that are also the product of human comprehension, without so much as a nod from the bible hinting at how to develop them...meanwhile, believers pray.
Had Rob not been willing to march back into the cinders of that wreckage, a believer would have died. At every step, the credit for our ability to conquer death belongs exclusively to human goodness and intelligence, while a group of the faithful sits idly by with clasped hands thinking they too are helping. Again, that someone could try and steal some of Rob's nobility in an attempt to build up a god that can, at best, be described as apathetic to the lives of these people, is pretty damn rotten.
Yes, these people are being more stupid than malicious, I can readily admit this. But it's a stupidity that is a result of forgoing their ability to think critically and to honestly assess the situation for what it truly is - a trait that their beliefs demand of them. All the prayer in the world would not have shuffled Dan or Ryan from that crash. The bible gives instructions on how to beat slaves and sacrifice animals, but not a word about how to construct the devices that are currently being utilized to heal the survivors.
And frankly, it is not hope or the nobility of truth that allows anybody to hear of a tragedy like this and rejoice at god's goodness - it is madness, and it is an addictive madness that people think they cannot live without.