Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pat Tillman: Role-Model for Atheists by doctorgoo

I would like to thank doctorgoo, a regular commenter on sci-blogs, for sending me this guest post. I hope that he will also send me a short descriptive, as he doesn't have his own blog. But for now, here is his post.

My respect for Pat Tillman was always high, but it just got higher here:

As bullets flew above their heads, the young soldier at Pat
Tillman's side started praying.

"I thought I was praying to myself, but I guess he [Tillman] heard me," Sgt.
Bryan O'Neal recalled in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press.
"He said something like, 'Hey, O'Neal, why are you praying? God can't help
us now."'

"He said, 'I've got an idea to help get us out of this,"' said O'Neal, who
was an 18-year-old Army Ranger in Tillman's unit when the former NFL player
was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April 2004.

I guess the phrase "there are no atheists in foxholes" didn't hold true
here. In this case, the theist (certainly Christian, but not enough info
here to be sure) would have died if it wasn't for some quick, rational
thinking by Tillman.


But it's no surprise to me that, a few days later, an unnamed chaplain
apparently tried to make Tillman look like scum for allegedly calling O'Neal
"sniveling" for wanting to pray for comfort.

Well, no. Not all atheists (at least those that I consider role-models for
myself and my future children) choose to insult theists any time they
express their often irrational beliefs. Instead, they do what's right
regardless, and use their rational thinking abilities to try to save lives.

The more that I learn about Tillman, the more I stand it awe of him. Shame
on all those so-called Christians, who have lied and obfuscated the truth in
this matter.


Beth said...

You've got to be kidding me here, the Ranger was only 18 years old, and you are faulting him for praying instead of trying to think of a rational way to get out of the situation they were in.

If Tillman did call this 18 year old KID sniveling then I guess I have lost some respect for Tillman.

Anonymous said...

Well Beth, the thing is that according to the Chaplain, he did say it to the kid, but according to the kid himself, Tillman did NOT say it. So who is more believable?

As for praying, there are certainly times when it's appropriate and acceptable. But in the middle of a firefight (even the friendly kind), he should have done the responsible thing and try to save Tillman's life like Tillman did for him.

18 or not, if he had been brought up in an environment that fostered critical thinking, he might have been able to rise to the occasion too.

-- doctorgoo

Beth said...

Doctorgoo, you really didn't clarify in your original posting that what the chaplain said was not collaborated by the 18 year old. That wasn't very responsible of you, were you not brought up in an environment that fostered critical thinking??

Anonymous said...

Well Beth, to be honest, I wasn't brought up in such an environment. I was brought up in the Pentecostal church... ya know, old people screaming out loud as they 'speaking in tongues', being told that them heathen Baptist relatives of ours were hellbound for not using the original Bible (KJV) etc.

But yes, you are correct that I didn't paste everything from the article I referenced in my post. But I DID leave the link to my source right there a sentence above the first mention of the chaplain. Could it have been more clear? Perhaps so... but it would have also been just as easy for you to look up the article yourself to understand the context of my post.

-- doctorgoo

Beth said...

When I went to the link the first time I read this, it didn't work, I thought perhaps I needed to register to view it. I was just now, however, able to read the article.

I certainly do not condone lying to push one's agenda, and certainly a chaplain should not be lying. I still think it rather harsh of you to put blame on an 18 year old for praying instead of doing something that might have saved Tillman, any inexperienced kid praying or not could have had the same delayed reaction.