Shocking: Christian Prayers Didn’t Bring Rain to Colorado June 29, 2012

Shocking: Christian Prayers Didn’t Bring Rain to Colorado

David Ramsey of the Colorado Springs Gazette wants to know why there hasn’t been any rain to drown out the wildfires despite all the people praying for it:

(via Colorado Springs Gazette)

Minutes after ignition of the Waldo Canyon Fire, the call rang out for prayer. And the call was answered by millions of Christians across our nation and our globe.

Trust me on this one. I heard from dozens of friends who said they were praying for my family, my home, my city. Above all, these friends prayed for rain…

On Tuesday night, I was watching in terror at one of the city’s high points behind Chapel Hills Mall. Hundreds stood beside me as we watched the flames rolling through neighborhoods, consuming houses. There was an overwhelming sense of helplessness.

For me, there was also this draining realization:

God, despite the requests of millions, had not delivered rain to the Pikes Peak region.


Because — and I can’t believe I need to explain this to an adult human — rain doesn’t appear just because you ask it nicely. That’s not how rain works. Or science. I learned that when I was 8. Ramsey (and millions of Christians, apparently) still hasn’t figured that out.

Oh, and god doesn’t exist. But we knew that already.

But Ramsey doesn’t mention any of that. He just talks about all those Christians who are rationalizing what’s going on in Colorado right now:

“You can’t tell God how to respond,” [Rev. Patty] Walker said. “Even though it doesn’t rain, it doesn’t mean God isn’t showing up. God has shown up in a million other ways.

“We have a very involved God,” she said. “I believe God is crying with people who lost their houses.”

I’m sure he is… Omnipotent God let the fires ruin their houses and then wept with them.

That’s like a bully who beats you up badly and then watches from a distance while the paramedics attend to you.

When’s someone going to blame God for starting the fires in the first place?

Ramsey finally makes the obvious point near the end of the article:

In the end, our view of God’s response comes down to what we expect.

I can paraphrase that: Shit’s gonna happen whether god exists or not. So it’s silly to pin your hopes on someone whose existence wouldn’t change a damn thing.

Ted Haggard‘s replacement, Brady Boyd, made the most arrogant statement of all:

Brady Boyd, senior pastor at New Life Church, has prayed without ceasing this week. God, Boyd stated with confidence in his Louisiana drawl, answered those prayers. Boyd prayed for rain, for the firefighters, for the evacuees. No one has died, Boyd said, and the firefighters performed astounding feats.

“We’ve received two out of three, and that’s been pretty amazing,” he said. “That’s a miracle.”

So the thing you needed the most didn’t happen. But even though the firefighters did their jobs and saved many lives, you’re going to give the glory to God instead. That’s warped logic. (And awful use of math… 66% isn’t a miracle; it’s not even a D+. God didn’t kill the individual mandate yesterday, either, so I guess he’s at 50% now?)

Actually, someone did die, so I guess Brady’s God is at 33%.

It’s an awful article written by someone who can’t reconcile his imagination with reality.

What’s going on in Colorado is horrible. God’s not to blame for it. But good people can work together to make things better. Give me a day or so to get a link where people who know God’s not going to help can donate to help the people in need.

That will be a much better use of your time and resources than praying.

(Thanks to Laura for the link)

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  • MegaZeusThor

    (Obviously we all hope the fires can be kept under control and that those that are affected can carry on best they can.)

    Now I don’t that much about deities, but I thought I heard that Poseidon was in charge of water or something? If they’re praying, they might as well direct some telepathic pleas his way.

  • Can’t you see? It is obvious; God is punishing Colorado because of the Girl Scouts!

  • Just imagine how awesome superhero stories would be if superheroes were as powerful and caring as God is.
    Superman is alerted that there are terrible fires in Colorado. He rushes over and…watches. People plead with him to help and he doesn’t say anything. Afterwards, the people thank Superman for the firefighters and their lives, and they understand that saving their properties was probably too much to ask. Great story, everyone still loves Superman, the end…never mind that Superman started the fire in the first place.

  • No, this is Colorado Springs, so God clearly hates conservative Christians and the Air Force.

  • Take heart, Mr. Ramsey. Prayers for rain are always answered.


    Even in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, if you pray long enough, (in some places 120,000 years) you’ll get rain. Think of it as a test of your faith.

    And your fire insurance policy.

  • Stev84

    Colorado Springs is home to the headquarters of literally hundreds of large Christian churches and organizations. This fire really couldn’t be hitting a better place.

  • L.Long

    Some silly idiot says…
    “You can’t tell God how to respond,”
    Actually he is dead wrong as that great fraud, jesus, says…
    ‘Ask it in my name and IT WILL BE GRANTED’
    That’s how I know he is a real fraud.  And like all beloved con men his defrauded groupies make weird excuses for his failure to comply.

  • Kim

    I’m so grateful for the firefighters in all this. We will bring them ice cream once they’re back from the fires. =)

  • Atheist in Colorado Springs

    As one of the two atheists living in Colorado Springs – I am always shocked and amazed at my Christian neighbors.  Last night at the community meeting the addresses of the 346 burned down homes were announced.  The people who’s homes were spared cried out “Thank you Jesus-”  But your neighbor two doors down not so lucky-  Maybe they sinned the night before the fire—-   Or maybe they just had different types of trees on their property-   Really-  You need to be thanking the firefighters –  they ACTUALLY did save your property! And you didn’t even have to pray to them…  amazing

  • Here in Sweden we have a wet summer (breaking over 200 year old record) maybe their god is bad at geography ? 😀

  • Atheist in Colorado Springs

     Be nice-  We got a few atheist

  • I think the answer is obvious.

    There’s something I’ve noticed, however.  Every year when California has wildfires the Christians all preach that it’s God’s judgement for how sinful we are out here.  I haven’t heard a peep from them regarding the fires in Utah and Colorado. 

  • L.Long

    I lived in Colorado for a few years and met my wife there.
    It is a lovely state BUT
    why is everyone so upset with this very natural and periodic occurrence??
    Why?? Because stupid white people ignore the history of the area, are so phucking arrogant that they ignore what the natives tell them and think they can do what they wish for as long as they wish (look at the settling of Seattle as another example).  Admittedly the actual people living there now are the descendants of the silly whites or new people moving in over the last 20yrs, but how many of them looked at the last 100 to 200 yrs environmental history?  And yes I did research the past history of everywhere I have moved. 
    Yes the destruction is a very bad thing and would never wish it on anyone. 
    But here we are an a skeptic   blog and everyone talks about how terrible it is and no one has mentioned the abysmal stupid environment policies of an abysmally stupid govmint that help to cause this kind of thing.   This type of thing happens regularly in Calif.  and for similar reasons.   There can’t be controlled small burns because it makes the area around my property look bad, and it might deprive the rare tit mouse of a home.  Well you now have a really nice looking burnt out wreak and the tit mouse is now a roasted dinner.   If nothing changes after this fire then wait 20 to 80 years and watch it happen again.

  • Annie

    “66% isn’t a miracle; it’s not even a D+.”

    Oh my goodness, that’s hilarious and true.

    You have to wonder how many people prayed for their neighbor’s house to burn down instead of their own.

  • Andrew B.

    Like me, my atheist parents, and all of the not-especially religious people I spend time with, some of whom are evacuees, some of whom have lost homes.

  • Glasofruix

    Naah, just send’em Tim Minchin, i’m pretty sure that after one song people will be drowning all around.

  • Andrew B.

     So am I the other atheist in the Springs, or an unaccounted for third one :p.

    I agree about the firefighters (my bro said he had been listening to their scanners and said they sounded like badasses), as well as the firefighters outside the area that joined in.  Hat tip to Red Cross, Care-and-share, etc. as well.  No supernatural assistance needed.

    Whenever some religious apologists scoffs at the value of “human solidarity,” I’ll be happy to remind them of times like this.

  • mikespeir

    “We’ve received two out of three, and that’s been pretty amazing,” he said. “That’s a miracle.”

    Miracle?  The miracle is that I didn’t die laughing at this!

  •  I was a third atheist in Colorado Springs when the fire broke out.  Sorry I don’t live there full time!  It was a very difficult time to be at my in-law’s house as my mother in law was praying left and right.  It took everything in me not to say, “Why does your loving God threaten you with a massive fire?!?”

  •  That’s a pretty shitty thing to say.  I have family there.. and Christian or not they do not deserve to have their home burn.   Have a little decency.

  • Actually, Colorado DID get rainclouds the day the Waldo Canyon fire exploded. Too bad it was in Boulder, and the lightning started our own fire. And then people started rain-dancing (hey, it’s Boulder) and we got more lightning and more fires the next day.

  • Not that I’m wishing them on anybody, but it certainly feels like a majority of the natural disasters we’ve had in recent years have hit particularly religious areas, making it tough for all of that “God smiting the heathens” claptrap.  Seriously, what was the last time New York, Chicago, Boston or San Francisco got really fucked up?

  • Hey, I’ve heard that two out of three ain’t bad.

    Good to know that “ain’t bad” is god’s new standard.  That seems to be an uptick for him.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Been raining like crazy in Maine in the United States so maybe this so called god does suck at geography. The entire state was under a flash flood watch or warning a few days ago and parts are under one right now.

    I wish I could send some rain to Denver because Maine does not need any more at the moment, at all. Parts of Maine were hit so hard with rain it caused millions of dollars in flood damage to roads, buildings and railroad tracks.

  • The arrogance is just fucking amazing. Let’s suppose for a second that god exists (just kidding). Maybe he was busy with important things like making sure thousands of children didn’t starve to death in Africa. On the other hand he might be trying to decide who to let win the Euro Cup.

    Christians, get a life.

  • Alright, I know that it’s probably an entirely fruitless exercise to interject logic into a profoundly illogical concept, but *most* Christians believe their god is omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent, right?  And the conceit that allows such a deity to permit evil to occur is that it gave us free will and therefore it lets us fuck ourselves up because free will is more precious than interfering to prevent evil (let’s ignore all the examples in the bible where god explicitly overrode humans’ free will).  In that event, responding to intercessory prayer violates the conditions they’ve set for their god:

    If their god is omnipotent, it must be capable of responding to all prayers.  That it doesn’t suggests that it might not be all powerful.  

    If it’s omniscient, it must be aware of all prayers.  That it doesn’t respond to all of them suggests it might not be all knowing, and for the “god has a plan” crowd, god would have already known about what you needed and worked it into the plan or not, rendering your prayer pointless.

    If their god is omni-benevolent, it must be willing to respond to all prayers.  That it doesn’t suggests that it is arbitrary and capricious.

    Belief in intercessory prayer necessitates their god not be omnipotent, omniscient and omni-benevolent.  If the deity is willing and able to interfere in the affairs of humanity, it has no excuse for allowing all the awfulness we see in the world to go on.  Don’t waste your time praying.  If the god you claim to believe in actually exists, it’s not going to respond to you.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    So are you a dick in real life or do you just play one on the internet? If you are a dick in real life someone needs to punch you in the face, really hard.

  • Gee, it’s almost like their god doesn’t exist! What a concept!

  •  Yeah… that was kinda douchey.

  •  I’d be happy to trade some of our rain (NW WA) for some of that warm!

  • I, for one, rather enjoy the irony of that.

  • Noah

    Seriously, Hemant? A state catches fire and rather than doing or saying anything helpful or constructive you decide to have a Chief Wiggum-esque “Where’s your messiah now?” moment?

    What the fuck is wrong with you? This is why people see atheists as contrarian jackasses. Stop living up to the caricature.

  • eltiochusma

    He’s criticizing the article.  And you didn’t read the last few sentences. 

    “Give me a day or so to get a link where people who know God’s not going to help can donate to help the people in need.
    That will be a much better use of your time and resources than praying.”

  • Atheist in Colorado Springs

     Yes- Fire is burning right across the highway from Focus on (your own damn) Family-  and ~Get a~ New Life Church.  Clearly God hates those idiots as much as I do!!  🙂

  • Lamocla

    You just been shown that your stupid god doesn’t answer prayer and that is the best comeback you can come up with!

  • Brian Walsh

    I’ve been re-reading the Bible for my blog and one thing that has really stood out for me so far is that the God presenten in King James either doesn’t know or doesn’t care what happens to us. Christians shouldn’t be surprised that God seems to ignore them.

  • Knock on wood!

  • machintelligence

    Rain (or drought) tends to follow the iron law of distribution: Them what has, gets.

  • machintelligence

    Here in Colorado, your fire insurance premium will probably double if your house is within 100 yards of any species of conifer.

  • Bobjr

    In Phillidelphia right now its over 100 degrees.

  • The Captain

    “This is why people see atheists as contrarian jackasses” Your more than welcome to see atheist anyway you like… It still doesn’t make an invisible man in the sky any more real.

    Also, the people in the article praying are doing nothing helpful or constructive either, do you have any spite for them too, or are you selective in that?

  • The Captain

    Actually Hemant is doing something helpful and constructive. He’s trying to get people to realize that no invisible magic man is coming to save them and they should do something to help themselves.

  • The Captain

    EVen more basic, if their god is omniscient, then there can be no free will at all. For if an omniscient being already knows what your actions will be before you have made them, then all you have is the illusion of free will, since you can really never make a different choice from the one that is already know to the omniscient being.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Believing that prayer is a solution to real-world problems is akin to sacrificing virgins to (insert random god here) for a bountiful harvest.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Every time a natural disaster happens in some “black land”, Christians are tripping all over each other to get their mugs on TV to smugly proclaim that it’s God’s punishment for the victims freeing themselves from slavery, behaving in some random way some random Christian doesn’t like, and just, well just because hates your guts because of (insert random Bible verse here).

  • The Other Weirdo

    +1 for Meat Loaf reference.

  • The Captain

    Actually your hitting on one of the many reasons I have always hated the Superman character and stories. 

    In the world of Superman, Metropolis is not some utopia where the only crimes that occur are the ones Superman stops. It’s still a regular city where bad things happen all the time, yet Superman only saves certain people from their fates when he feels like it. Statistically at some point (rather frequently) some woman is getting raped and stabbed while Superman is acting like a bumbling idiot in front of Lois at a newsroom. 

  • I’m an atheist, and used to live in the Springs – and so is my husband! I think there are more of us there than would seem… Although we moved away two years ago, we still own property in Old Colorado City. Its been so frusterating trying to wade through all the god crap to get to the real news about what happened and what can actually be done.

  •  Well, I’m never going to see Superman the same way again…  O_O;

  •  Actually, he’s pointing out the futility of people talking to their hands rather than doing something helpful/constructive.  Then he indicates that he’s going to put together an effort to do something that’s actually helpful/constructive.

  • Although it’s an hour and a half drive, Colorado Springs is the nearest city to where I live, and it’s where we shop and do most of our errands. And the Gazette is the closest thing to a local newspaper. It’s truly an awful rag. A few days ago they ran an editorial claiming Obama was responsible for the fire. Their editorial page editor is a crackpot Catholic (who regularly quotes Bill Donohue) and runs at least one editorial every week about the assault on Christians by somebody or other. I used to respond to the worst of things on their comment page, but they switched to Facebook, and I’m not going to get an account just to be able to post there. So it’s back to the occasional letter to the editor, the old fashioned way. It’s been frustrating reading day after day of online comments- thanking God for saving houses, thanking God for saving people, begging God to bless firefighters. An unending litany of crap. Of course, nobody thinks to damn God for allowing the fire in the first place, or for producing the 70 mph winds that took out 350 houses and killed at least one person.

    The paper did publish one voice of reason a few days ago, Barry Fagin’s opinion piece
    Prayer warriors accomplish little when fighting wildfires. And a handful of rational people responded positively- along with quite a few Christian nutters.

    Between the scandalous Air Force Academy, hate groups like Focus on the Family, corrupt megachurches, and an overweight military presence, I’m awfully glad to have a 14,000 foot mountain between me and that city!

  • Hey cousin!  How’s things?

  • Curious, what’s so scandalous about USAFA?

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’s only okay when christians do it,  of course. It’s ya’lls RIGHT!

  • cipher

    “We’ve received two out of three, and that’s been pretty amazing,” he said. “That’s a miracle.”

    So the thing you needed the most didn’t happen. But even though the
    firefighters did their jobs and saved many lives, you’re going to give
    the glory to God instead. That’s warped logic. (And awful use of math…
    66% isn’t a miracle; it’s not even a D+. God didn’t kill the
    individual mandate yesterday, either, so I guess he’s at 50% now?)

    Actually, someone did die, so I guess Brady’s God is at 33%.

    Apparently, God works on a point spread. Fucking morons.

    At least they didn’t blame it on the atheists. Or the Liberals. Or Muslims. Or gay marriage.

  • SphericalBunny

    Kinda biblical then eh? If a woman gets raped and doesn’t cry out…well, it’s her own damn fault then.

    …’Scuse me, need to go rinse the vomit out of my mouth…

  • Glasofruix

    Just be glad those are not celsius.

  • Remember how Pat Robertson said that Hurricane Katrina was a punishment for the wickedness in New Orleans?  Same for the tsunami in Japan?  It should be well known that Colorado Springs is the most heavily Christian major city in the nation.  I wonder what spin old Pat is going to use to comment on this disaster?

  • Aside from a long string of drug and alcohol problems, sexual abuse problems, and cheating problems, the school has an absolutely appalling record of promoting Christianity at official functions, and discriminating against students who aren’t Christian (or who refuse to pretend to be so).

  • Parse

    At least they didn’t blame it on the atheists.  Or the Liberals.  Or Muslims.  Or gay marriage.

    Yet.  Give them time.

  • DeathNinja3000

    Well San Francisco was really fucked up by an earthquake in the early 20th century, but since that event took place a long time ago and these current events, you are pretty spot on here.

  • Hi. I actually live out in the Strasburg area (and I think, given the religious proclivities of my neighbors, that I’m one of the few atheists out here – heavy Mormon, Baptist and Catholic evangelizing going on in these parts, if the folks that keep coming to my door with pamphlets are indictative of the religous demographics). We had a pretty big fire earlier this week, but you barely heard a peep from the media about it. It happened 30 miles due east of us, at the junction of Hwys 36 and 71. Took out a whole lot of prairie and almost-ready-to-harvest cropland and burned its way through the semi-ghost town of Last Chance. Admittedly, the damage to property wasn’t all that large, in comparison to the fires in the foothills and in the Springs and in the Fort Collins areas. But it was still, by acerage, the 4th largest fire we’ve had so far and the families affected lost homes and their crops.

    The thing is, urban Christianity is much different from rural Christianity. The urban Christian is more likely to call upon God to help him or her and then wait for the authorities to arrive to do the work, all while praying and praying and wringing their hands. The rural Christian, while probably more fervent and more of a believer, is the sort to send a prayer for rain, but knows that he or she better get their butts out on the tractor and plow a fire break, even if it means sacrificing crops and a season’s hard work. There’s no time for hand-wringing and no one to come in and rescue you. Farming and ranching require an equal reliance on science (to make sure one can respond adequately to the climate patterns in order to raise one’s crops and livestock) and faith (or possibly hope and faith) to keep on going in the face of an environment that seems dead set on killing everything it can.

    The only responders out here to the fire were the local volunteer fire departments, which came from all of these small, rural districts, and the landowners themselves. No FEMA, no Type 1 responders, no military, no tankers and no officials coming in for a photo op. Just people who know that no one in the government, or the media, really gives a rip about Eastern Colorado or the people that live in it, and know that they’re on their own if they want problems  solved. In that context, I can understand the equal reliance on both prayer and elbow grease. I think farmers are the one group that should be allowed to use prayer as a means of staying sane, and given some slack as far as their reliance on it. Goodness knows that there are enough things in the daily life of a farm family that might warrant the use of prayer as a psychological coping mechanism.

    For my part, I’m simply hoping that the Accuweather predictions for July 8-15 are accurate. We’re supposed to get a long period of prolonged rain. Of course, that website also has a commentor that says Colorado will get zero relief from the heat until September and almost no moisture, so I’m left with a quandry: do I believe the software, or the weather reporter? In which version should I put my ‘faith’? Guess I’ll find out in a week or so.

  • Dave Littler

     It might interest you to check out a comic book series called “Irredemable”, which is an exploration of exactly this. It centres around a Superman pastiche who tries his very best to deal with EVERY problem he notices, and eventually just cracks under the pressure of the constant demands and stress and feelings of responsibility. It’s kind of heartbreaking, but an interesting deconstruction of the superman concept.

  • Sindigo

    From the comments section:

    “We watched our church burn to the ground in February due to a lightning strike. God showed up in many ways and is continuing to show up as we are rebuilding.”

    I LOLed. Does that make me a bad person?

  • Sindigo

    Maybe in Metropolis people are so scared of Superman that only the criminally dumb or insane people commit crimes. Just like some Christians would have us believe about God. Maybe that would explain why prisons are so chock full of religious believers. I would become a believer pretty quickly should God turn up in a red cape and underoos and escort me to prison personally.

  • JudeLawGuardian

    I think it’s hilarious how Christian Reich preachers love to
    blame tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina in places like New Orleans on account of
    “wickedness” due to things like promiscuity, being gay-friendly, and
    Mardis Gras in general. They’re forever condemning these places and citing
    natural disasters as “God’s wrath”. Yet now that the whole state of
    Colorado is flaming (which can no doubt be said of many in-the-closet
    preachers, but that’s an entirely different topic… 😉  )  none
    of them is pointing the finger at any of the bigoted, homophobic or misogyinist
    actions on the part of the “Vatican of the West”. Hmm. Interesting.
    Then again, maybe God finally thought that turn-about is fair play…

  • JudeLawGuardian

    He won’t say anything til it rains. Then he’ll praise God for putting the fires out.

  • JudeLawGuardian

    Oh GOD. EXACTLY.  Have you ever got THAT right!!! 

  • Megan D.

    The fires in Colorado have been a terrible tragedy, and I can understand a sense of frustration with Christians who do nothing but pray for rain.  I know that I’m a minority on this forum, but I thought I’d add my two cents:

    Although The Pursuit of Happyness wasn’t a great movie, there was a line in it that always stuck out to me “there was a man who was drowning, and a boat came, and the man on the boat said ‘Do you need help?’ and the man said ‘No thanks, God will save me’. Then another boat came and he tried to help him, but he said ‘No thanks, God will save me’, then he drowned and went to Heaven. Then the man told God, ‘God, why didn’t you save me?’ and God said ‘I sent you two big boats, you dummy!'”

    We’re not in the old or new testament era, full-blown miracles don’t happen the way they did in those texts, I agree that it’s foolish to think that if enough people pray for rain the skies will to open up, drench the fires, and then a rainbow afterwards will tell us it’s all going to be okay.  Today’s miracles aren’t as easy as that.  It’s that obnoxious thing Christians tend to say about faith – if it could be proven then what’s the point in believing?  Don’t get me wrong, life would be a lot easier if all prayers were answered, but I don’t think it was meant to work that way.

    I do hope that those who prayed in their churches for rain also donated their time and/or money to those in need in Colorado, I pray that they opened their homes and gave shelter to the families that didn’t have it.  To me that’s the Christian thing to do, it’s not about hoping God will solve all the world’s ails, but hoping that through faith in God, we as a people can begin to heal the world, to help one another, and to love as Christ loved.

  • Hemantisgod

     Hemant – Wow. You are so much smarter  than me and Solomon put together. I am in total awe of your brainpower. Especially admired your imaginative use of expletives. Reminds me  of a few really, really smart 14 year olds I know. It’s a wonder a genius like you isn’t teaching at Harvard.

    Again, all I can say is:


  • Karen House

    Flash flood warning issued for Denver with up to 2 inches of rain expectedRead more: Flash flood warning issued for Denver with up to 2 inches of rain expected – The Denver Post
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