I am good friends with lots of religious people. Most of them Mormons, being that it’s the culture I was once part of, but certainly with people of other religions, too.
I’m also good friends with lots of non-religious, agnostic, and atheist people. It’s the crowd I tend to feel most comfortable in and I have a good network there, too.
This year’s drought has left Utah vulnerable to an abundance of wildfires. And when I say an abundance, I’m talking hundreds of thousands of acres that have already burned across the state. It seems every time I look up, I see the distant smoke of yet another blaze.
But do you remember this fire from a few weeks ago? The one that I posted dozens of pictures and updates about because it was burning dangerously close to my parents home?
Well, when the fire was raging, this freak rainstorm passed through. And by freak, it dumped huge amounts of rain on the area (including onto the fire) for about an hour, and then it disappeared. It gave the firefighters the upper hand, and within hours a fire that was at zero percent containment was more or less controlled.
When the rain started, I saw several Facebook statuses from people claiming responsibility for the rain. Many there were, it seemed, who had personally “prayed the storm in.” Many declarations were made claiming proof of a merciful God and of renewed faith. After all, there hadn’t been rain in forty-some-odd days.
At about the same time, the news reporters started reporting that the rain was actually hurting more than it was helping. They were wrong, but at the time it was the report.
This made atheists and agnostics everywhere start counteracting with their own snarky ripostes about how religious people should be careful what they pray for. I saw a few updates from persons jeering their religious counterparts, noting that if you pray for rain long enough it always comes; and, why hadn’t the prayers of dozens of others in harm’s way been answered in the weeks previous?
Because of the circles I’m in, I got to sit back and watched several debates. One side voicing the miracle, the other serendipity. I think I laughed with both sides a time or two.
Those involved spoke with such conviction. It turned into quite the little battle in certain corners. On the religious side, people knew exactly who was responsible for the rain, why God brought it, and what lessons God was trying to teach his children in it all. On the non-religious side, people knew exactly what causes freak storms like that, why it was nothing special, and why there was nothing miraculous about it.
In the end, I just had to wonder why it mattered at all.
I mean… who cares where the rain came from.
And why can’t everybody just be thankful that there was rain?
Seriously. Nobody knows where the rain came from. We have our personal faith, our personal beliefs, and our own personal understandings. But nobody actually knows anything about the rain. The only fact we all share is that rain came and it helped a dire situation at just the right time.
It saved tax payers millions of dollars.
It saved the rest of our beautiful mountain and miles of spectacular mountain range behind it.
It saved many of our firefighting resources.
It saved many homes.
It saved many animals.
It saved national forests and monuments.
And I’d bet it even saved lives.
So be thankful. No matter which side of the religious fence you’re on.
Nothing else matters. Nothing but gratitude. And it’s certainly not worth arguing about.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. Do you agree? Have you seen similar debates going on? Have you been part of it? Do you think it really matters where the “rain” came from (rain could be anything, really)? I’m really curious as to your thoughts today.