Imagine something that falls out of the sky and knocks you unconscious. When you come to, you’re lying on a mattress in the street and have no idea what happened but you’re still alive and life is random but good.
It’s not a god in action — although that’s what an insurance company might say to get off the hook — it’s just luck. So why believe a god’s watching?
This perfect reason for atheism actually happened in New York City on Wednesday. A human metaphor, in this case a college student, was walking in the financial district on a windy day when a futon blew off the top of a 30-storey building and attacked him. “It was an experience,” Jesse Scott Owen told Gothamist weblog later.
You may think this is proof there’s a god. I say it’s proof there’s not. It’s New York, where the wise citizen is always ready to duck. Now, as the great Dan Amira of New York magazinewrote, Owen is the new Wile E. Coyote.
Humans came to the young man’s aid, a news photo showing five middle-aged men, four in suits, caring for the young man on the very futon that hit him.
They held him, safeguarded his phone and wallet, phoned his mother and called police. An ambulance took him to a nearby hospital where he got an X-ray, CAT scan and painkillers and, because this is the U.S., a massive bill he’ll have to pay along with his student loan.
But never mind. Said Owen, “I am really happy I am not dead.”
As are we, Jesse. If we were religionists, we’d say it was god’s will. But this was humans at work. Spa attendants failed to nail the futon down, the wind was gusty, the victimizing was pure chance and the area packed with benevolent investment bankers, people who are allegedly beyond moral guidance.
The world is not a kindly place unless we humans choose to make it so. In this case we did. In the case of that absurd anti-Muslim YouTube video assembled by a fraudster from a religion I hadn’t even heard of until now, we did not.