Today I saved a life. A two year old boy fell into a river. No one saw him fall in and the river itself looks more like chocolate than water with the amount of silt in it. I noticed that the boy was there one minute and when I turned back he was nowhere to be seen. I jumped in the river and luckily I found him. He's fine =)
For all those that would add "thank god" to that just ask yourself why the boy fell in the river in the first place and who exactly we are supposed to thank for that?
Update 5th September 2007 (Original post continues after this update)
I wasn't expecting the number of visits I've got for this post. Neither was I expecting it to get any attention on other sites. I've been reading some of the comments and I'd like to clarify my intentions from the original post.
First off, at the time this didn't seem a like a big thing. The boy was there, then he was not, it seemed obvious what had happened and I just reacted. I didn't perform a philosophical analysis of the situation, I didn't ponder humanism over any other -ism, and I didn't once think about god. All I did was run to where I'd seen him last and then jump in the river. It was autopilot all the way and the fact that I got him was pure luck. It's that simple.
I didn't actually think much about it until later when I was on the train with my children and it came up in conversation that a life had been saved earlier that day. If I hadn't have reacted the way I did it is extremely unlikely the boy would have survived as there were only three other people in the area (excluding myself and the little boy) and none of them had noticed anything until they saw me running past. So, I'm pretty sure I saved his life.
Now, this is interesting to me personally but I do not feel some great awe at what occurred or some deep emotional joy about it. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and that's it. I'm very pleased that resulted in the aversion of a tragedy but my role was really one of an automaton. I did exactly what I would have done if I'd thought one my own children had fallen in the river back when they were two years old – jump in and get them out.
Also, it's not like I risked my life or anything. I'm a good swimmer and where we were at the river is a point at which the current against the opposite bank is strong but against the bank we were on the current is gentle. I was at no risk.
I shared the story simply because it was part of an interesting day for me. It is always a very difficult time for me when my children return to their mothers. I think being able to recognise that a tragedy had been averted helped me to remain more positive. A good thing had happened in one respect – someone had been saved. But it's not all good and before the theistic vultures began taking their pickings of sustenance from the story I wanted to point that out. I was simply pre-empting the responses I knew I'd get from the few Christians that can stomach my blog.
Should we also thank god that the little boy fell into the river? I think not. If anyone goes around pushing 2 year olds in the river then I think thanking that person will be the last thing on our minds. In fact, we would certainly not excuse them. We wouldn't overlook the incident and wait for them to do something we can thank them for. Instead we would blame them, criticise them and ultimately prosecute them. So why, even though people are willing to thank their god for the independent actions of an atheist, must they give this god a get out of jail free card for all the awfulness it must also have it's fictional fingers in? It makes no sense and it's hypocritical in the extreme.
Let's imagine a man who goes around and pushes two year olds into rivers. He pushes in the first two year old and the two year old drowns. The public cries out for justice (of course really they mean revenge). Next the man pushes in another two year old and this time the two year old is saved. "Thank god" the public cry, but what of our criminal? Do we simply ignore the initial crime? Of course not. And yet for some reason it's absolutely fine to believe that god is responsible for the salvation and thank it and immediately dismiss the original crime which your god must also have at the very least shared responsibility for.
It's all absolute nonsense. Thank god for sunny days, puppies and fluffy bunnies and let's give him a free ride for the holocaust, malaria, small pox, AIDS, cancer, muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer's, etc, etc, etc – it's a list that fills encyclopaedias but that's all fine – let's just thank god for the tiny fraction of reality we choose to see through the blinkers of mindless faith.
And as to those that have called me an "asshole" for the few sentences I wrote before this update, keep it up. It's wonderful to see you showing your true colours by attacking me simply because I do not share your faith when all that was reported was that I had saved a life. I'm extremely pleased that more moderates will be witnessing how atheists are judged by those that claim to preach love. It may make them understand a little clearer that atheists may not be what they have been made out to be by people like you.
The truth is that most of the atheists that are writing in the blogsphere are jumping in the river themselves. They're not out to attack you but to pull you out of the dark river of ignorance, separation, and hate that you're trying to convince everyone else to drown themselves in.
End Update – original post continues below
Today I also had to say good bye to my own children. They are off back to their mothers after our fantastic holiday. It's a real mix of emotions - the joy of the great time we've had colliding with the vast empty sadness of not seeing them for a while. Thank science for the internet, skype and video calls!
My brother also took his first ever parachute jump today. He said there's no point telling me what it's like because you can't appreciate it until you've done it. It's on my list.
I'll be catching up with all the posts I'm over due in about a week or so as I am heading back to Ibiza for a few more days. I wish my kids were coming with me again.
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