We see it after every tragedy and the missing AirAsia flight is no different. Those who avoided what appears to be a grim situation are looking for any explanation, rational or not, for their stroke of luck:
Another family said 10 of them were supposed to fly to Singapore for New Year’s Eve, but they all arrived late at the airport and missed the flight. “My mother can’t stop crying,” Anggi Mahesti said in a text message to ABC News. “This is a special Christmas gift from God that we missed the flight.
“We are so thankful to our God,” she added.
Chandra Susanto was also supposed to be on the plane. He posted prayers of gratitude on Facebook, saying he was supposed to fly with his wife and their three kids, but they canceled when his father fell ill.
“Thank you, Jesus,” Susanto posted. “Your plan is so beautiful. Our family avoided … awful danger.”
Of course, the same God who put them out of harm’s way apparently didn’t give a shit about the approximately 162 who were onboard the plane. Not that the survivors will ever admit that.
JT Eberhard says it well:
Saying thank you to god in a circumstance like this is like sending a note of gratitude to a serial killer for killing the family the next door instead.
Sam Harris once wrote about how disturbing it is to thank God in the event of a tragedy not long after Hurricane Katrina hit:
Only the atheist recognizes the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved. Only the atheist realizes how morally objectionable it is for survivors of a catastrophe to believe themselves spared by a loving God, while this same God drowned infants in their cribs. Because he refuses to cloak the reality of the world’s suffering in a cloying fantasy of eternal life, the atheist feels in his bones just how precious life is — and, indeed, how unfortunate it is that millions of human beings suffer the most harrowing abridgements of their happiness for no good reason at all.
I always wonder if the survivors who say stuff like this have any idea how callous their words might sound to the families of those who died.
There’s every reason to believe many of the people aboard Flight QZ8501 were devout themselves. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why some were spared while some were not. Sometimes, it really is just good luck. As much as we want to find an explanation for it, there isn’t one. Consider yourself fortunate for having dodged the bullet and — if there’s anything good that can come from this — find a way to make the most of the rest of your life, perhaps even dedicating it to the memories of those who may have perished. That’s good advice in general, but especially if you know you escaped a close call.