Some of you may already have heard of the tragedy that ocurred in west virginia this week, when a mine disaster claimed the lives of 12 miners. What makes this unique in disasters of this kind is that an initial, unofficial communication from within the mine office lead people to believe that all 12 miners had been found alive. When word reached the families desperately praying in the local church, the cry of Miracle! resounded. Reporters on site raced to press with photos of celebrating, god-fearing christians whose faith had saved the lives of their loved ones. ‘Miner Miracle!’ read the headlines. All around the country, people praised and thanked a merciful god, and lauded the power of prayer.
And then the official report from the mine office came, revealing that only one had survived. Suddenly, it was the fault of the mine office. The fault of the press. The fault of the rescuers.
Not one person turned around and shook their fist at the sky, and blamed the god who they were so keen to give responsibility to only seconds earlier. Nowhere did the headlines read ‘Miners Abandoned by God’. People don’t think that way. And it’s that kind of selective reasoning that means religion works. God is given all the credit for the good stuff, and someone else gets all the credit for the bad stuff. Amen.