Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lawnmower conversion

swvatoday.com ran a story of conversion by Carl D. Clarke Jr. Now, given that the title is I MADE IT UP: An atheist sees the light, I don't think it's a serious story. Given the similarly silly story about Lunar Panels, I feel pretty safe in that assumption. Sadly, while the author takes a lighthearted look at this issue, all too many believers match the description of the 'reasoning' shown in this story.
My friend Douglas sheared off the bolt that holds the rotating blade on his walking lawnmower. This bolt screws into a shaft that comes down from the engine. Typically, these bolts rust into place. The odds of removing the stub of this bolt from deep in the shaft were, frankly, nil. If we could not get the bolt out, Douglas would have to buy a new lawnmower.
The first error is found here. The bolt it simply assumed to be rusted in place. But was it? I keep my push-mower in my garage, so it is not rusted in place. The age of the mower will also be a big factor.
No matter the odds, men have to try. First you have to drill a hole up into the remaining stub of bolt. Then you insert a bolt extractor into the hole.
We drilled the hole with the specified diameter drill bit. But the drill bit wobbled and made a hole twice the size specified.
I am a tool collector and had numerous bolt extractors. But none would fit this hole.
I do not pray, so I told Douglas to pray. We tapped the triangular end of a file into the hole. Knowing the bolt stub was rusted in, we gave up on the mower and the file. We turned the file with a pair of pliers. It came out so easily, Douglas could have turned it with his hand.
“We were lucky this day,” I told Douglas.
Let's assume that the bolt was in fact stuck in place. Many believers would call this simple happening a miracle. But simply removing a bolt is nothing of the sort. Drilling a hole, especially one twice the prescribed size, does things that could loosen the bolt. The heat generated could make it easier to remove. Some people torch stuck bolts to try and get them loose. Drilling a large hole would also weaken the metal structurally. Finally drilling into the metal would also cause the bolt and the metal it's threaded into to vibrate. Depending on the degree of rust, these vibrations could help break it loose. Obviously this won't break every bolt loose every time, but there's nothing miraculous about this story.
The next step was to find a replacement bolt of the same diameter and thread. We went through my two drawers of odd nuts and bolts. Nothing matched. On a whim, I went to a tool box I keep of mower parts. In a peanut can in the bottom were some bolts. Eight of them matched. Within seven minutes, Douglas was mowing grass again.
Okay, so finding bolts that fits the lawnmower in a can that you keep mower parts is surprising? One might as well say that it's a miracle that they looked in their spice cabinet for spices and found spices! *gasp*
How does an atheist react when faced with clear evidence — twice — that God exists? What does he conclude? Luck? Coincidence? Divine Intervention? Did God, with all the things that He has to do, decide that this lawnmower was worth saving? Or was the lawnmower just His instrument? Was He using the lawnmower to talk to me?
I don’t know. All I know is that the impossible happened twice, right in my back yard.
I cannot deny such evidence. Formerly skeptical, I am now a believer. I concede that there is a God. And the next time my lawnmower won’t start, I will pray to him or her or it.
Like I said before, this wasn't a serious article. But this is exactly the kind of claimed miracle I've heard cited by believers. But the truth is that there were absolutely no miracles here, just jumping to conclusions. Yet this is exactly what is happening when believers also call finding their keys, the book store having one copy left of a popular book they wanted, or hitting the traffic just right to get to work on time as miracles.

It seems that is the point that Carl was making. Sadly, I know far too many believers that would take this story seriously at face value...


-Brain Hulk

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