FW: AANEWS for Monday, March 5, 2001

From: Mark Plus (markplus@hotmail.com)
Date: Mon Mar 05 2001 - 21:52:49 MST


It didn't help.

One of the anecdotal "proofs" of God's existence and the efficacy of
prayer or religious talismans is supposedly the presence of a
crucifix, Bible or some other charm which accompanies the "miraculous"
survival of a person in tragic circumstances. Dozens may die in a
horrific motor vehicle crash, or perhaps an aviation disaster, but
one, lone survivor is somehow a "miracle," and "proof" that God is
watching over, at least, someone.

A religious talisman -- a paper Bible verse taped to his dashboard --
did not help racing superstar Dale Earnhardt, though, who was killed a
week ago on the final lap of the Daytona 500. According to the
Charisma web site, Stevie Waltrip, wife of a former NASCAR star and
broadcaster, taped Proverbs 18:10 to the dashboard of the black Chevy
driven by Mr. Earnhardt. The verse declares, "The name of the Lord is
a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe."

NASCAR, the leading auto-racing organization, has an official
chaplain, one Max Helton, who informed reporters that "Stevie told me
the only reason she went to Daytona was to tape that to Dale's car."
He added that Earnhardt was "committed although private about his
Christian faith," and had invited the preacher into the Victory Circle
to lead a thanksgiving prayer. Charisma adds that "Just before the
start of Sunday's Daytona 500, with the drivers strapped and ready to
go, Helton held the hand of Earnhardt and his wife, Teresa, and prayed
for a safe race."

None of this did any good, of course, and Mr. Earnardt unfortunately
died. As Atheists, we are sorry to see any one involved in such a
calamity; but the point is that the talisman did not work. Now, had
Earnhardt "miraculously" survived, such a fact would no doubt be
attributed to the prayer and piece of paper attached to the dashboard
-- not the construction of the car, or a harness or helmet, or just
fate and luck. Earnhardt's survival in a fiery accident would have
been cited as "proof" that God took time as manager and overseer of a
vast cosmos to intervene in an auto race on one continent of a tiny
planet in one (out of billions) of galaxies.

It didn't turn out in such a fashion, but then again there is the
anemic, though time-tested claim that "God works in mysterious ways."

Speaking of NASCAR, the demise of Dale Earnardt may have an odd
synchronicity with Sunday's race which aired on ESPN. Viewers may
have observed the 'READ THE FUTURE" and "leftbehind.com" emblazoned on
a car, Randy MacDonald's No 72 Chevy in the Craftsman Truck Series
Florida Dodge Dealers 400 K race. According to Ted Daniels of the
Millennium Watch Institute, a group which studies End Times belief in
America, MacDonald is "an avid fan of the Left behind " series
authored by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, and "believes that the
message of the series has a direct application to his fellow drivers
who cruise around the track at speeds in excess of 150 miles an hour."

The popular "Left Behind" books have sold nearly 30 million copies and
a movie version has just been released. The plot involves the "final
days" prior to the Rapture, when devout Christians suddenly vanish and
rise into the air to meet Jesus. Those unfortunates left behind
suffer the wrath of the Anti-Christ and his mischievous Tribulation,
before Jesus returns for the final slug-fest against Satan, a sort of
cosmological Tough Man contest, and establishes his theocratic
"kingdom" on Earth.

In the LaHaye-Jenkins book/movie, airline passengers suddenly
disappear in mid flight. The Rapture serves as inspiration for those
bumper stickers which declare, "This Car Unmanned In Case of Rapture."
One would hope that Mr. MacDonald at least have the sensitivity to not
put one of those on his racing machine as he careens around the track
breaking all speed records.

For further information: http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/apoc2.htm
("Backers see 'Left Behind' Christian thriller as chance to break into
the cultural mainstream," 2/7/01)

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