I just turned on the television to find that a series of explosions have disrupted the Boston Marathon. My first thought, and hopefully yours as well, was to pray for the victims and their families. I have never lost a loved one to a senseless act of violence such as this, but most everyone has lost someone they loved in one way or another, so I think we can all empathize to an extent.
Watching the footage of people being loaded onto stretchers and wheelchairs, placed into ambulances, and otherwise being carried away from the carnage, my heart goes out to that city. Some of the early eyewitness reports being read and played are absolutely heartbreaking.
My second thought is to wonder how long it will be before someone uses this tragedy as a platform from which to bash religion. It never takes long for someone to lump all religious people into one large pile and labeling the whole pile with one broad brush.
I'd be willing to bet that those same people would deeply resent being lumped into a pile with men like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. The question is, which comparison is more appropriate?
Honestly, I don't think any generalization along these lines is appropriate. People are people. Not statistics, or probabilities, or likelihoods. They're people. No set of statistics ever created can tell you what a random person with x belief system will do in a given situation.
The question of which comparison is more logical, however, is a totally different animal. If you compare the teachings of the founders of each system of thought, it quickly becomes clear which followers are most closely following their leader.
But today is not a day to point fingers of hurl accusations. Today is a day to cry with those in pain and help them if we can. As reports continue to roll in, it appears that there will be no shortage of people who will need help.
The other thing we all need to do today is examine ourselves. Sadly, too many people are too willing to twist things Jesus said to justify their behavior. Abortion clinic bombers come to mind. Yes, Jesus did say that it would be better for a person to have a millstone hung around his neck and be thrown into the sea than to harm a child, but He did not tell His followers to go out and buy millstones and rope.
In fact, Jesus made it very clear that we're to pray for our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. I honestly believe that it is the height of arrogance to think that anything I could do would be more effective than what God can do in response to my prayers.
Including the prayers being lifted for the victims of today's tragedy in Boston.