Friday, October 14, 2011

But...God SAID I should!

So some poor, distressed public school teacher in France was having a rough time. A recent parents' meeting had gone so poorly for her that she turned hostile towards the assembled parents. A meeting on Wednesday with several students to "clear the air" didn't go any better. So Thursday, she did what she felt was the best thing to do in this situation. She came to school, taught her first class, then went out to the busy playground, doused herself in gasoline, and set herself on fire.

According to one of the student witnesses, when people tried to put her out she told them "No, leave me alone. I don't need help. God told me to do this."

Now, I certainly feel sorry for this woman. Clearly she was very troubled, and I sincerely hope that she gets the help she needs if/when she recovers from her injuries. And I feel horrible for the co-workers, and especially the students, that now have to deal with the trauma of witnessing someone that they know trying to end their own life. (Bad enough if it had been a stranger, but it is so much worse when it is someone you know.) But it is that quote that really jumped out at me.

This is yet another example of the terrible things that people can do when they think that the voice in their head belongs to God. I'm certainly not implying that everyone who believes in God(s) is capable of this sort of thing. Clearly that is not true. My problem is that belief helps to create a framework where self-justification of this type of action is much easier to achieve. The vast majority of believers would never do something like this, but it seems that many of them have no problem accepting the idea of God speaking directly to someone. And that is just nutty!

Let me be clear. If you think God talks to you, that he communicates his wishes to you, then I think you are just as deluded as this poor teacher. And you should NOT be running for President!

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