Apologies again for the lack of posting here. I have been working a lot of extra hours at my job and do not have the free time to write as much as I would like. But I do want to chime in about a tragedy I read about a couple of weeks ago.
On August 23rd, a Pentecostal pastor named Carol Daniels was found murdered in a church in the town of Anadarko, Oklahoma. The gruesome details of her death have since emerged. I won't go into it here, but suffice it to say, according to the CNN article I linked to, "[Pastor Daniels] died from 'multiple sharp-force injuries,' according to a preliminary autopsy report obtained by CNN. Sharp-force injuries mean cuts or stab wounds."
From what I have read, Daniels frequently drove some 50 miles to her small church in Anadarko, where according to those in the area who knew her, she would be the only person in the building for the entire time she spent there. Daniels' mother is quoted as saying that she went to the church, which was far from her home in a run-down neighborhood, “with the expectation of someone wanting to seek the Lord.”
It is terrible that Pastor Daniels died, particularly in the horrifically violent manner in which it occurred. I can't imagine the terror she must have felt in those last moments as she tried to fend off her savage attacker. Whoever the bastard is (I don't think it's a stretch to expect that the murderer is an extremely troubled male), I hope he is caught and given the maximum allowable sentence under the law.
At the same time, I cannot help but feel a tremendous sense of sadness and frustration over the fact that Daniels belief system was a contributing factor in her death. Imbued with her religious faith, she would travel far out of her way and spend hours by herself in a church anticipating that she would be some kind of catalyst in miraculously transforming someone's life for the better. After all, isn't the Bible filled with tales of miracles? Don't we hear about stories all the time about supposedly miraculous events or see movies and television programs wherein God or angels intervene in the lives of people and set things right? As an atheist, I can't see Daniels efforts as anything more than a pointless exercise in futility. The accumulated hours of time wasted that could have been put to more productive use, not to mention the gasoline expended travelling back and forth to the church. However, I understand that for Daniels, as well as for many others, if what she was doing provided her with a sense of purpose, then who am I to argue otherwise? Granted. And yet I can't avoid what for me is an inescapable conclusion: Carol Daniels died for a figment of her imagination. In other words, she died for nothing.