I heard this report for the first time this morning. I was appalled that so much sorrow, pain, and horror could be condensed into the ten short years of that child’s life.
As a realist I understand it however. Divorce is rampant, with almost 50% of marriages ending in separation. Childhood cancer is a fact of life affecting approximately two out of every ten thousand children in the US each year roughly 0.02% of children. The horrific acts of abuse, violence, and inhumanity against children, while inexplicable to most of us, are an unfortunate reality. The murder of children under the age of 15 years old represents approximately 1,300 / 6% of US murders annually. A child has approximately 0.00014% chance of being murdered.
The odds of any one child experiencing what Zahra Baker went through are beyond my ability to calculate. Sadly, Zahra was the loser in a trifecta of astronomical statistical improbably. But that is exactly what it was
So how do religionists explain this? Can they dismiss this as a horrific statistical reality born of a convergence of random natural occurrences? No…they cannot… not even if they want to. Because according to doctrine their god has a “purpose” for every person. Their loving god, who watches over his creations with unlimited beneficence; a god who answers the prayers of believers, doesn’t play with random statistics. Everything is by it’s design, even Zahra's miserable life and death.
So what will they say if you were to ask them what god’s purpose was for this little girl’s birth, suffering and ultimate death? There aren’t a lot of options from which they can choose. While apologists have written several million words trying to explain away why their god permits these things to happen to innocents, it always boils down to the vapid platitudes that believers have adopted in lieu of thought to avoid coming to grips with reality: “God works in strange and mysterious ways.”, “It’s all part of God’s plan, who are we to understand it?”, “God needed her in heaven.”, “God wanted her to experience the ultimate pain in order to appreciate the ultimate happiness.”, “She’s in a better place.”, and the ever handy “Free will!” whatever the hell that means. Sometimes they will dig really deep and proffer that “God is a good and loving God.”, as though that explains/ excuses it all.
Want to know how deeply your theist friends have swallowed the Kool Aid of unquestioning religious non-think? Want to gauge exactly how encompassing is their self delusion and surrender to vacuous apologetics? Want to witness what complete abandonment of reality sounds like? Ask them to explain Zahra Baker, then stand back and watch the dance of denial.