Bushfire Memorial


Image by Thingo via Flickr

Sunday 22 Feb 09 will see a Memorial service for the Victorian bushfire victims, held at Rod Laver Arena.

Whilst I commend the idea of having some sort of gathering to enable the victims to grieve and for others to show their respect. I do have a slight problem with aspects of the memorial.

The religious overtones.

A spokesperson on the news tonight exclaimed how it was going to be a great spiritual event. How it was going to be a multi-faith event, with religious leaders from different faiths providing sermons. (joy oh fucking joy, looking forward to those bits … not.)

Now, if I’ve done my research right, god is supposed to be some sort of loving, omnipotent being that can direct all sorts of natural outcomes. So how come he lets numerous fires ravage huge tracts of Victoria, killing over 200 people and destroying over 1,800 homes?

Then, more to the point, how can religious leaders who supposedly believe this shit, then turn around and hold services in His name?

My view, there is probably no god, the bushfires were the result of various natural and man-made occurrences. Many people have lost their lives, or have had close family members and/or friends killed or injured. Many have lost their homes and all their possessions. I can’t imagine how horrible this senseless disaster was to these people, but please don’t bring god into the equation. Surely anyone who has, even remotely, been affected by this (or any other) natural disaster must realise there is no god and this sort of thing is just a case of “shit happens”.

I would be really interested to know what any of the many victims of the Victorian bushfires think about god now.

Finally I’d also like to pass on my sympathies to anyone affected by both the Victorian bushfires and the floods in Queensland.

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Filed under bushfire, god, memorial, Victorian bushfire

8 responses to “Bushfire Memorial

  1. seantheblogonaut

    Just posted about the westboro church being there to picket the memorial

  2. It disturbs me that certain religious groups are using the bush fires to promote their religious agenda. Westboro Baptist Church is just one of the extreme examples. I keep trying to assure myself that others that are encouraging people to ‘pray’ for the victims of this tragedy, and their families, mean well…

  3. The Everyday Atheist

    Scream Riot

    I think these memorials are more about the people attending than about the tragic victims. They say: Look at me! See how sad I am. See what this tragedy has done to me.

    They think they mean well, but are only following their “leaders” with blinders on.

    My sympathies go to all the real victims of these fires and their loved ones.

    The Everyday Atheist

  4. I’m an atheist and I understand your unease with this. I’m a bit uneasy with our political leaders participating in a non-secular ritual myself. I don’t really want to hear Kevin Rudd talking about praying (but no doubt he will…)

    But I’m going to a memorial service. Not to pray because I don’t. But because it is hard to find other ways to come together in large numbers, publicly. I think we do need gatherings like that. It’s solidarity.

    I will be there to support my husband, who is a firefighter, as much as to show my sorrow. And Everyday Atheist, I don’t think there’s really anything wrong with people wanting to express and publicly share their sorrow. I think the problems arise when we suppress that natural human urge to gather together in times of grief. Making grief a personal, private thing helps no one. (Pity praying helps no one either… )

  5. frank

    I think fair enough..If you don’t need God in your life then fair enough. But the fact of the matter is God has helped many people as has organised religion. For some people God is who they turn to when the shit hits the fan and to want to deny them this refuge frankly speaks volumes. What research have you done? Have you actually read the bible? I think not. Pick it up one day and read it. Then you can go to town and actually come from a place of knowledge.

  6. The Everyday Atheist

    Spilt Milk

    Point taken. Just because I don’t like public displays of group sorrow, I won’t deny others, but I still feel there is a lot of mob mentality involved. And as for you & your husband gathering with others makes perfect sense. This event is a part of your day to day reality. I’d rather see the time & money spent by the government (I’m assuming) put to better use for the victims.

    The bible/religion, has destroyed many lives, too.

  7. If god had cared so much, why let the deaths occur in the first place. Are the prayers to thank this douchy god for doing something wonderful?

    I just don’t understand the blinders people wear to allow themselves to be able to swallow that their god would allow something like this to happen let allow creating it to happen and not ask how or why? But they are the same people who are first to call everyone on board a plane crash surviving a “miracle from god”.

    It makes my head hurt sometimes.

    And Frank…I became an atheist because I read the bible. (and not just the parts my priests wanted me to read)

  8. novparl

    Why blame God/the gods only for the big things? Why not the little things like mild toothache? Or other big things such as the pain of childbirth or death?

    The bushfires occurred because of climate change caused by man. Misuse of water for golf courses, swim pools. Obsession with the car. Overpopulation. Are you saying we must all be allowed to use our cars and have as many children as we like? Well, why not indeed?

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