The CBS News had a report on tonight’s news (they haven’t posted a video of it yet, but I’ll put it here when they do) where they 3 times mentioned that people being saved from the rubble in Haiti was a “miracle”. Maybe I’m overly sensitive to such language, but does the word “miracle”, used not by people being interviewed but by reporters, appropriate in a newscast?
It’s similar to the comments by President Obama saying of the horrible earthquakes and its aftermatch, that “there but for the Grace of God” would the United States be. These comments were covered by the mainstream press, including CBS of course. Even if he or CBS News are not overtly thinking of religion with these sorts of comments (which I happen to think they are), much of their audience will construe it as such. There are at least two things wrong with this type of thinking.
*It implies that the people who died, and did not get saved by an alleged “miracle”, deserved to die. Why else would God not save them as well? Why does God like the United States more than Haiti for us to be spared? Obviously these people in Haiti and elsewhere that God miraculously saved from this disaster must be God’s chosen, which means the ones who died certainly must have been less chosen, right? I don’t think anyone deserves to die in an earthquake, but I guess God does not agree.
*It minimizes the efforst of millions of people who have donated their time or money to help save as many people as possible from the ruins. There are actual doctors, paramedics, crane operators, civil servants, and other volunteers who searched through the rubble, often at personal risk, to try to help save people. If God is to get credit for saving these people, why isn’t he there in person (he can take human form when he wants, cf. Jesus) risking his own behind, working night and day sifting through dirt, broken concrete, and the dead remains of those who didn’t live?
It is not a miracle that these people are being saved, it is thanks to the work of many wonderful people who are working hard to save them because God will not. Obama, the media, and even some Haitians themselves may have “faith” that God is with them. What they fail to see is their worldview would mean that their God allowed the earthquake to happen (or some like Pat Robertson say he even caused it), and it’s humanity picking up the pieces afterwards from an indifferent or vengeful God.
Or maybe, just maybe, there is no God to thank for the few who are saved, or for the hundreds of thousands who perished. There’s just people who will pull together after this devastating tragedy, other people who will give aid and support to these survivors, and a world of people who will pull together to help rebuild Haiti. Isn’t that a much better way to view life?