As most of you have either heard, read, or seen by now, a man in rural Pennsylvania stormed an Amish schoolhouse, took all the girls prisoner, killed 5 of them, seriously injured the rest, before killing himself.
A quote in an article yesterday by one of the victim\’s father was:
\”We think it was God\’s plan and we\’re going to have to pick up the pieces and keep going,\” he said. \”A funeral to us is a much more important thing than the day of birth because we believe in the hereafter. The children are better off than their survivors.\”
It\’s that last sentence that got to me.Â What is it like to have a belief system that would have you positively convinced that the dead, children bound and murdered in cold blood, are better off than the survivors?Â I\’m certain this man didn\’t mean it in the way that the trauma (physical and mental) of that day would leave scars that would never heal in those survivors.Â I\’m sure he meant that those children are now in heaven, and better off than their families (and the rest of us) stuck down here on earth.
That outlook.Â That feeling.Â That… faith… is completely lost on me.Â Not to be trite, but it just doesn\’t compute.Â
I am simultaneously in awe of and completely bewildered by a person who in the face of such a tragedy can profess such ideas.Â I am not a religious man, but I understand the belief in a higher power.Â It can be hard, if not impossible, to rationally explain much of every day life.Â But to believe that something this horrific was \”God\’s plan\” and the dead areÂ \”better off\”Â is just beyond me.
I would like to walk in that man\’s shoes for a day.Â Just to see what it is like.Â Is life much more clear and simple?Â Â Not saying that he doesn\’t feel less painÂ than anyone elseÂ under theseÂ circumstances, but does his faith truly sustain him… and at what cost?
Maybe it is the times we live in, or it is my nature, but I can\’t help but be skepticalÂ (and honestly, condescending) toward people who profess this level of faith.Â Not that they are disingenuous, but they are deluding themselves.Â
But if the delusion is beneficial, is it really so bad?Â Maybe in small doses… like a drug.Â But does that drugÂ numb the masses?Â And if so, is that only to keep order, or to keep in place?Â Is there a difference?
It takes a strong will to keep your faith in God when faced with an unthinkable tragedy that these families have faced.Â Â I will never have such a fervent belief in anything that would allow me such apparent strength when faced with something like this.Â To be convinced that things are the way they are meant to be and, in fact, it is for the best.Â And for that, I admit, I am jealous.