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God Protects Baptists in Vidor But Lets Them Die in Sutherland Springs

god keeps us safe

When it comes to protecting and caring for his chosen ones, God is quite schizophrenic. You would think the Almighty would be consistent in his care of Christians, but that’s not the case. Tony Dwayne Albert II, dressed in tactical gear and carrying a loaded firearm, was headed to First Baptist Church in Vidor, Texas to do some killing when police thwarted and arrested him. Mass shooting averted. Amen, right? Amen. Afterward, Terry Wright, the pastor of First Baptist, said: “There is an overwhelming recognition that the Lord protected us and provided for us.” According to Wright, God stopped Albert from killing anyone. Most of us would say to God, Good job. Way to go protecting your followers. Of course, knowing that God has a hard time staying on task, we might also say, keep up the good work, Jesus. There will be other churches that need protecting from homicidal maniacs. Surely they deserve protection too, right?

Well, evidently not. You see God is quite hit-and-miss when it comes to stopping things such as rape, sexual assault, murder, violence, and, well, just about anything that negatively affects the human race. So, Jesus steps up in Vidor, Texas, and everyone pats him on the back. But what about what happened at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Spring, Texas? Devin Patrick Kelley entered the church and killed twenty-six people and wounded twenty others. If God was so loving and caring when it came to the people in Vidor, what does the series of events in Sutherland Springs say about his indifference towards the people there?  Why is God Johnny-on-the-spot in Vidor but on an extended vacation in Sutherland Springs? Why intervene in one church, yet leave the other to suffer untold horrors?

That’s God, for ya. He’s been on the job for 6,023 years. You would think that he would have learned to do his job right by now. How hard can it be to stop a crazed gunman from shooting up a Baptist church? God is all-powerful, right? If God can protect the people in Vidor, surely he can do the same for the people in Sutherland Springs, and every other community that will have to deal with an attempted mass shooting in the future.

It seems, at least to me anyway, that God favors certain Christians. What other explanation is there for God’s behavior? I know if I lived in Sutherland Springs, I would be upset with God. Hey God, what did we do to piss you off?  You “saved” the people in Vidor from harm. Why did you turn your back on us? Why did you encourage us to pray, knowing that you had no intention of answering our prayers?

I am sure a Christian commenter will attempt to explain me the sovereignty of God, and how God doesn’t owe anyone anything.  But I thought God was the FATHER of his children? I know, as a human father, I want to ALWAYS protect my family from harm; and there’s never a time when I wouldn’t do everything in my power to keep them from being hurt. That’s what loving, caring fathers do. Yet, in the Christian family, God the Father plays favorites, choosing to love and care for some of his children, but not others. Don’t tell me how awesome God is, knowing that he stands on the sideline and passively watches as Christians are mowed down by crazed gunmen. A kind, loving father would go to the ends of the earth to protect his children from harm. Evidently the ends of God’s earth don’t extend to Sutherland Springs.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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    A father would indeed go to the ends of the earth and back to protect his kids but why would you suggest that God would? The oft-spouted phrase God is Love, is doublespeak. Christianity is designed to harm people and it does so on a very regular basis. As we are harmed by listening to doublespeak at church, we pay for the harm as the offering plate is passed along. This arrangement has been going on for generations. Our God is a good God!

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      That was my experience. That fathers do anything to protect their children. Even bad fathers. My deconversion process came to a head when I was in hosptial and over 300 were praying for me. Other patients seemed to be coping without benefit of those loving heavenly arms around them but I’d been promised they would be there. I taught in the poorest square mile in my region. I’d seen many deadbeat dads, ex-convicts, alcohol/drug addicted ones, but they would turn up at a child’s bedside. I knew one or two who might be drunk or high, or those great new soccer boots they brought might be the wrong size as they’d shoplifted them en route. But they’d be there…and my god was supposed to be a million times better than earthly dads, so where was he when I needed to feel his presence? I tried all the ‘god works in mysterious ways/god is teaching me a lesson I need to learn’ etc etc..and even prayed, ‘Please god choose some other time to teach me lessons, not now. I need you’. And I realised he wasn’t there because he didn’t exist and modern medicine made me well, nothing else.

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    Here are some of the reasons I have heard for god’s lack of intervention:
    1) sin is the problem (sin in general, sin among those specific people)
    2) God works in mysterious ways, we ate too stupid/flawed/blinded to understand
    3) it’s part of god’s plan (but we are too stupid/flawed/blinded to understand)
    4) Satan and demons are at war with God and good (though I thought God was omnipotent – see #3)
    5) we are inferior and flawed and shouldn’t question God

    Somehow it always goes back to humans being too stupid and/or sinful, or there’s Satan and sin, and we aren’t allowed to question Lord Omnipotent-When-He-Wants-To-Be. Somehow we are the jerks (or Satan is) and we better sure as heck not think God is the jerk even though he supposedly is the only one with all the power in these scenarios. If you could get Christians to really examine these situations, be honest, and strip away their fear and notions that God is all good, they would have to admit he is quite the jerk (or doesn’t exist).

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      Also, one that I heard often: God is Love and gave us freedom as human beings, freedom to choose and because we are dung, we choose badly of course but God honors our freedom! Oh Jesus, how the donkey dung piles up…

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    Bob Felton

    Our son has a congenital heart problem which has required multiple delicate surgeries to correct (all of that is happily over). Whenever somebody exclaimed “Thank God!” after yet another successful surgery, I would answer “I thank the doctors, whose years of rigorous study made this possible.” It didn’t change anybody’s mind; all it accomplished was affirm that Uncle Bob is an oddball.

  4. Pingback:God plays favorites | Civil Commotion

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    maura hart

    obviously they did not say the exact right prayer at the exact right time kneeling in the exact right way and enunciating clearly in the exact right way with the exact right mixture of awe and fear. then! then and only then would zombie jeebus intervene for them. it is clearly their own damn fault and i hope they have learned their lesson in the exact right way

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    If I recall correctly, the Children of Israel in Egypt started praying to release them from the bondage of Egyptian Slavery Under Ramses II (a.k.a. Condom II), and God waited about 500 years to say that he heard the prayers and was going to help them. I have wondered what was going on with that too. Forty generations had to suffer before any relief showed up. Maybe we are all “just ants” in the grand scheme of things. There is so very much about so many thing that we humans just do not know or understand. Maybe we will figure it all out someday—or maybe not.

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Bruce Gerencser