Just what was the line a demarcation between prey and prayer?
Armed with a gun, Gregory Smith proceeded to rob Angela Montez, an Indianapolis store clerk.[i]
Hours after said divine intervention helped her convince a would-be thief to give up mid-heist, the alleged robber agreed that God played a major role in his dramatic change of heart.“It had to be God working through her because she just talked to me like a mother or a grandmother to her child, and she made me feel comfortable…I started telling her stuff I hadn't even told my own mother. I even tried to give her the gun, she wouldn't take it. To everybody who I've affected with this, I just want to say I'm sorry for putting you all through this.”
Angela Montez said Thursday it was divine intervention that led Smith to give up his heist and talk and pray with her for nearly 40 minutes Monday before turning himself in to Indianapolis police hours later.“I believe the Lord sent us both together…The more we talked, he just broke down….He said, ‘Talk to me. No one will talk to me. I have nobody.’”
At one point, Smith reached for the gun again, which scared Montez into praying for her own forgiveness before what she thought was her death, but Smith took out the only bullet in the gun and gave it to her, Montez said.
“Just take it and talk to me,” Smith said, according to Montez.
The unlikely pair talked for nearly 40 without being interrupted by anyone else entering the store or any phone calls -- a sign, Montez said, that God wanted them to talk.“I felt a warmness, even though there was a scare…There are so many places around us. No one had come to the door. No one called. I can't believe it was that long, when I was told how long we talked.”
I know, I know; what a fortuitous happenstantial coincidental occurrence that two ignorant and superstitious people would encounter each other and survive the day via their shared delusion.
It is interesting that late in 2008 AD an atheist wrote the following to me:
Imaginary friends in the sky won't stop bullets. A real friend might move you out of the way or prevent you from getting into the situation in the first place, or take the bullet for you on purpose or by accident. That's more than any mythical god has ever done for any human.
I responded thusly:
How do you know that “Imaginary friends in the sky won't stop bullets”? Imaginary friends, perhaps not, but a real relationship with the real God will.
Please read up on Raul Ries who was a very, very violent and angry young man who was waiting in his house, with rifle in hand, for his wife to get home so that he could murder her and then commit suicide. Yet, his rifle “accidentally” hit the power button on the TV where “accidentally” Pastor Chuck Smith was preaching. The rest is history.
Bullets were prevented from flying in the first place.
The story of Gregory Smith and Angela Montez is evidence of this. Yet, some will deny the evidence before them because not all factors can be accounted for, explained, disproved, reproduced in a lab, etc. (as if anything at all can be fully explained, disproved, reproduced in a lab, including the human reason that will deny the evidence).
I wonder what may have happened if…
What if instead of coming across a woman who prayed, demonstrating her reaching out to God, Gregory Smith would have come across William Provine who would state:
There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind.There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That's the end of me.There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.[ii]
No purposive principles exist in nature. Organic evolution has occurred by various combinations of random genetic drift, natural selection, Mendelian heredity, and many other purposeless mechanisms. Humans are complex organic machines that die completely with no survival of soul or psyche…
No inherent moral or ethical laws exist, nor are there absolute guiding principles for human society. The universe cares nothing for us and we have no ultimate meaning in life.[iii]
What if Gregory Smith would have come across Dan Barker who would state:
There is no moral interpreter in the cosmos, nothing cares and nobody cares…what happens to me or a piece of broccoli, it won’t the Sun is going to explode, we’re all gonna be gone. No one’s gonna care.[iv]
Gregory Smith would have come across Richard Dawkins who would state:
nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous—indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose. [v]
We are not, then, merely like apes or descended from apes; we are apes.[vi]
In nature, the usual selecting agent is direct, stark and simple. It is the grim reaper.[vii]
One shutters to ponder what if…
This is tantamount to the scenario envisaged by Bill Vallicella, the Maverick Philosopher (from his post Are Atheists Evil? Bad Reasoning in Sam Harris – at comments 5.22.2007 12:26pm):
Imagine a situation in which A is in a position to impose his will on B (by raping and murdering her, say) and that A will “get away with it.” (No one cares about B, they are far off in the wild, etc. We may imagine that A will die in a month from cancer.)
In this situation, does A have a reason not to rape and murder B, a reason to not gratify himself? If there is no God, and no surivival [sic] of physical death, what reason could A have? Because it is wrong in the abstract for A to rape and murder? That will strike A as a joke.
“You are going to oppose to my real and furious lust an abstract moral demand that hangs in the air with no way of being enforced??” This is one way to focus the question that people like Harris and Shermer apparaently [sic] don't grasp.
Atheism offers no meaning for yesterday, no comfort for today and no hope for tomorrow.
As Joseph stated to his brother, who had betrayed him,
but God meant it for good, in order to bring it
about as it is this day, to save many people alive
[i] Gleaned from Lee Ferran, Suzan Clarke and Sabrina Parise, “Robbery Suspect Gregory Smith: God Was 'Working Through' Clerk Angela Montez, Who Talked Him Out of Heist,” ABC News, Oct. 23, 2009
[ii] William B. Provine, Origins Research 16 (1): 9, 1994
[iii] William B. Provine, “Scientists, Face It! Science and Religion are Incompatible,” The Scientist, Sept. 5, 1988, p. 10
[iv] During his debate with John Rankin entitled Evolution and Intelligent Design: What are the issues?
[v] Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden – A Darwinian View of Life (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1995), p. 96
[vi] Richard Dawkins, Late City Final Edition, Apr. 9, 1989
[vii] Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker—Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1986), p. 62