I'm a bit late jumping on this story, so I'm betting most of you have already heard about this. But it's just too... juicy. A door-to-door salesman in Florida was struck by lightning from a cloudless sky, nearly killing him. Paramedics found him not breathing, and without a pulse, but were able to revive him. Or at least, somewhat. The man is currently (as of about a week ago at least) in a coma and recovering. Hopefully he will make a full recovery, and finish raising money for his religious education, because I'm sure he's got some big questions right now.
Because, see, did I forget to mention? He was selling religious books at the time he was struck by lightning. Oh, the irony!
First, yes sometimes lightning does strike from cloudless skies. This isn't a divine miracle, but rather a natural event known as "positive lightning" that is understood scientifically. But if you believe in an active, personal God, then everything is caused by God, right? So what did this poor man do wrong? Was God afraid of him making it to divinity school?
But wait, he was revived. So even though God was able to kill him for a moment, human beings were able to pull him back to life. (Uh oh! Sounds like humans are getting too big for their britches, God's gonna have to do another Tower-of-Babel smack-down!) Not only that, but if they used defibrilators, then the paramedics were really fighting fire with fire. So God throws down his electricity to kill a man, and Man volleys back with their electricity to revive him. Sounds like we're out-divine-ing God's bolts from heaven.
The leader of the man's religious group is quoted as saying, "It's difficult what happened, you know, but what can we do? Things happen in life, but we still believe in God." That's a pretty level-headed response, I suppose their particular group doesn't believe in the "everyone's a sinner, we've all got one foot in hell and the other in purgatory!" point of view that my wife and I are observing so much here in southwest Virginia. Aside from that last phrase "but we still believe in God" that would be pretty much what I would say in such a position.
But it's that "but we still believe in God" that really caught my eye. I wish I knew the full context, because this was probably a response to a question by an interviewer. But it's still interesting that he jumps right to that. Because, I would think, a bolt-from-the-blue event would actually lead many people to even stronger convictions.
But then again, I could just be wrong. One of the larger churches in the next town over from mine was once struck by lightning and burned (not completely, but there was a significant fire). Nobody seemed to think there was a particular message there. I wonder what the opinion would have been if, say, lighting had struck down and burned a Walmart? Or one of those evil evolution-teaching schools? The story might have sounded a little different.
update: A brand new story to add a little perspective to the above -- "close to 2,700 lightning strikes were reported in Washington and Oregon on Friday and early Saturday, sparking 212 fires." All in all, I find it easy to understand how a more primitive society would be quick to make assumptions on the divine nature of lightning. In this case, it must be all those heathens in Washington!