Is there any difference in the lives lived by believers who are "covered" by God and non believers who are not?
By: Waleed Shareef 10/5/2018
On November 9, 2014, Pastor Myles Munroe, the leader of one of the largest church congregations in the Bahamas, crashed along with another pastor and his followers while landing in his private plane. Pastor Munroe was not flying to visit a Vegas style casino on one of the islands, but was on his way to attend a church conference. What is often hard for me to ignore, is that in many cases it seems that Christians and other followers of great religions fall victim to and die at the hands of the same misfortune as unbelievers. While attending church as a young man, I often heard pastors exclaiming about the wonders of Jesus, and how being under the blood of the Lamb will provide you a life that was far more beneficial than living as a sinner. If that is the case, then how could a plane full of devout churchgoers crash into a construction crane and plummet into a junkyard before attending a church conference that would surely win more souls for God? To me this seems as though if I were a businessman and had a top salesman making a lot of money for my company, I would not shoot him before he was to leave on a road trip to meet a new client for my business. It would be unimaginable for me to destroy one of my great spokespeople whose sole ambition was to bring more customers under my umbrella.
Although this plane accident happened a few years ago, I remembered this as I was watching the news and saw a story about an explosion at a private Christian school that killed several people. Two of the people who died were young students at the school. I know that good churchgoing folks will explain it away as the mystery of God, and furthermore they would lavish praise on God for sparing the life of the other students. I explain how silly this is to me in my article called God Saved Me.
I saw a commercial on TV a few days ago that depicted two young people stranded by the side of the road. These young people were on the phone with their parents as they struggled to find out where their roadside assistance was. The commercial went on to display another young person of another insurance agency that had roadside assistance on hand when they needed it. Surely, the insurance company that was not there for the young people would be one that the parents of the stranded youth would want to discontinue using. Why should they continue to support an insurance company that does not offer them a significantly better protection than not having insurance, or being with another company? Similarly, if the best customer of God, such as the pastors on that plane, crashed down in flames into a junkyard next to the airport, was their celestial protection any greater than an agnostic or an atheist’s protection? Furthermore, if a believer can die in the same manner as an atheist or agnostic, then how does religion benefit the believer? Are cancer rates any less, or financial hardship reduced? Do believers experience less poverty or less divorce?
I know some will read this and site a study that may show that believers have more mental peace. Even if that were true, is mental peace a measure of success? If I were to tell my son that if he walks down the city street with hundreds of dollar bills hanging out of his pocket, no one will try to harm him as long as he wears a large smile. Is his life better because he can live in a state of blissful ignorance? The movie The Matrix posed a similar quandary. In the movie, it was proposed that humans can live a much better existence in a fake Computerworld, as long as they were not aware of their circumstances. It was suggested that the real world, that was scorched and destroyed by humanity’s carelessness, was much worse than living in a false world while their bodies were slaves to the machines energy needs. Similarly, as long as humans can believe that despite the potential ugly realities of life on earth, eventually we will all be spirited away to a wondrous playground where we will live forever walking the streets of gold; of course we can live a much more peaceful existence with this reassurance. Also, despite ample evidence to the contrary, believers can imagine that they live under the protection of an all-powerful being that will grant them a much more secure life than an unbeliever; although, anyone strolling through a hospice wing of a hospital will see many beds full of religious people.
As I lay on my bed writing this blog I can see an envelope containing my insurance policy in front of me. I’m someone who possesses both car insurance, and homeowners insurance. I fasten my seatbelt and even have a concealed carry permit so that I can protect myself with my firearm if necessary. I say these things to express the fact that I believe in preparing myself for all eventualities that may arise to harm my life or the ones I love. With that being said, if I had any proof that living as a believer would ensure me a greater existence on this earth, or a wondrous afterlife surrounded by a palatial Garden, it will go against form for me not to be one of the most fervent believers in God. I’m the same person that have stored food rations in case the grid goes down. Surely someone with my personality would pray every night, and try to convert as many people as I can. After 300 years of slavery, and an additional 100 years of segregation and 40 years of struggle after that, I have not seen evidence that being the most religious population in America has helped the black race. If we are any indication of the rewards afforded a devout community, then we all should update our religious insurance policy.