Faithful Priorities | Is God really the answer?

By Liam Scott, Online Staff Writer

The role of religion and faith in our lives is something worth considering.  Two recent stories highlight this: one of a six-year-old girl who was abducted and raped in The Pas, Manitoba, and another of a brain-dead baby, Isaiah May, in Edmonton.

The girl walked to school when a male teenager abducted her. There he attempted to rape her before she escaped.

Most sexual abuse victims are too traumatized to recall the details, making it hard for the cops to make an arrest. But this girl was surprisingly able to recall the exact location of the assault, the details of the house’s interior and what her rapist looked like. The arrest happened hours later.

Isaiah May was born in October 2009 with his umbilical cord wrapped around his throat. The oxygen deprivation did catastrophic damage to Isaiah’s brain and he was put on life support instantly. The doctors knew Isaiah would never recover and recommended he be removed from life support.

[pullquote](A) study found that eight out of ten Americans depend on God for decision-making guidance, while seven in ten believe that bad things happen because it’s part of God’s divine plan.[/pullquote]

The Mays said no, and people across the continent rallied to support little Isaiah’s right to life. Isaiah’s parents searched for a second opinion, hoping for a better prognosis. Unfortunately, a second opinion found that Isaiah be removed from life support and, on March 12, he was.

These are stories most people can’t imagine ever dealing with. The trauma of rape is life long and the pain of losing one’s firstborn months after meeting him is a pain nobody wishes upon anybody.

But what’s interesting about these stories is what each party said afterward.

The girl’s mother was quoted saying, “I’m not a religious person, I don’t go to church … but I do have faith in God, I think she had an angel.”

The parents of Isaiah May called Isaiah “a little miracle” and said he is “now home in the arms of the angels.”
Religious debate aside, one must consider the weight of these two statements. The girl’s mother is suggesting that, of all those victims of rape worldwide, God chose to help her little girl in identifying the attacker. It also implies that God was aware of the little girl’s rape and chose to wait before helping her, instead of stopping the entire thing from happening.

In this same vein, Isaiah May’s parents imply that Isaiah’s birth and survival was an act of God that, supposedly, allowed Isaiah to live and ignored the plight of countless other childbirth tragedies. Not only is this a presumptuous thing to say, but it completely discounts the work of the doctors and the feats of technology that were actually responsible for Isaiah’s survival.

A recent study by Scott Schieman at the University of Toronto shows this mindset isn’t limited only to those under extreme emotional and psychological stress. His study found that eight out of ten Americans depend on God for decision-making guidance, while seven in ten believe that bad things happen because it’s part of God’s divine plan. Meanwhile, six in ten believe God has already planned their entire lives. Schieman admits the numbers are lower in Canada, but not by all that much.

People choose to accept God as a close personal friend because it brings comfort. However, where this mindset loses traction, is when God supposedly starts taking sides. Are we really so self-absorbed to believe that God puts us at the top of his priority list?

If God is able to intervene in our daily lives, he sure has a lot of explaining to do in places like Haiti and Darfur.

Show more