Res­cuers, not God, key

Bangkok Post - - OPINION -

I think we all breathed a sigh of re­lief at the news that the last of those trapped in­side the Tham Luang cave was safely brought out. Our thanks should go to all those in­volved in this dar­ing rescue, which will surely make its way into the history books.

But our thanks only need to go to those in­volved in the rescue op­er­a­tion (es­pe­cially all the divers, in­clud­ing Sa­man Gu­nan, the Thai diver who un­for­tu­nately lost his life dur­ing the rescue mis­sion), not to some imag­i­nary be­ing as some are now claim­ing.

I re­fer to those peo­ple like Ra­jen­dra Aneja (“Lessons from the cave”, PostBag, July 6), and oth­ers who claim that “The com­bined prayers of all Thais have saved these chil­dren”.

I be­lieve only the res­cuers saved the boys and the coach. They might have had some luck on their side in that the rain that fell dur­ing the rescue op­er­a­tion could have been a lot worse and could have com­pletely flooded the cave. But the very idea that some imag­i­nary be­ing heard all the prayers and de­cided to in­ter­vene to help save them is sense­less.

When a ma­jor in­ci­dent or ac­ci­dent oc­curs and peo­ple pray, and lives are saved, the re­sponse is al­ways “our prayers were an­swered!”. But when lives are lost, de­spite the prayers, the re­sponse from those that prayed, when chal­lenged, is al­ways the same — “he (god, or what­ever you want to call him) had his rea­sons and we should not ques­tion his judge­ment”. Non­sense.

There is no god. Of course, I can’t prove that there is no god, or that prayers do not work. But no one in the history of all of mankind has ever been able to prove that God does ex­ist, or prove that prayers work.

If you claim that some­thing ex­ists then it is up to you to prove it, not the other way round. I could use that argument to claim that Santa Claus, the magic Tooth Fairy, and the bo­gey­man all ex­ist.

To those that say that peo­ple have a right to have a re­li­gion or a be­lief sys­tem, yes of course they do. But with free­dom of re­li­gion comes free­dom from re­li­gion. If you must have a re­li­gion then I sug­gest it should be a pri­vate mat­ter. If you want to de­lude yourself about the ex­is­tence of an imag­i­nary be­ing then you are free to do so, but please do not pub­licly claim that your prayers saved lives.

Un­less of course, you can back up that claim. PETER ATKIN­SON

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