No Atheists in Chilean Mines


A group of 33 trapped miners in Chile

The miraculous rescue of all 33 Chilean miners trapped in the mines for 69 days is difficult to understand from a purely secular perspective. Each one of them was hauled in a narrow shaft from a depth of 2,040 feet (622 mts) on 14 October. They strictly adhered to the NASA advice of staying without their daily vice of cigarettes and alcohol. In this day and age of militant atheism, coupled with relentless assaults on Christianity, it is refreshing to read about the central role that their faith played in helping these courageous men survive, and of their enormous gratitude to God.
To those who cling to the superstition that there is no meaning to life beyond sheer material existence, we ask them to reflect on the following testimonials. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no atheists in trapped mines. Listen to what they have to say about their experience:
“There are actually 34 of us, because God has never left us down here.”
“Altars, prayers, rosary beads all came out as soon as word came out. Bringing together the entire country with nuns and priests visiting the mine to provide relatives with emotional support, and praying for there for protection.” CB“Mario Gore Messes who at 63 is the eldest of a group of miners.  He became the group’s spiritual leader requesting a crucifix and Catholic statues of saints to construct an underground shrine.” CBS
“Many miners wore the same t-shirt.  It reads, ‘gracias, senor,’ or thank you, Lord.” CBS News
“More than 1,000 relatives of the stranded miners move to the desert and set up tents.  Before long, the area around the San Jose mine becomes a village.  A village based on prayers, hope, faith.  In fact, they call this place Camp Hope.  Every Sunday, there’s a Catholic Mass.”  WABC
“He hugged and kissed just about everyone, and then said of his ordeal.  ‘I met God, I met the devil, God won.’” WNB
“The miners aren’t coming out of the mine empty-handed.  They will carry with them letters from loved ones, religion statues, and rocks from the mine.” WABC
“It ended everything as a blessing of God.” Fox News Channel
“Mario Gomez, 63 years old, he stepped out of that capsule into the arms of his wife, Lila, then he hugged her and then he took to her knee and prayed to God and the Virgin Mary.” CNN
“Religion has played a large part in their hope insofar as their desire to get out of there.”  Fox News Business
“They have been touched by God.” Fox News Business
“They’re being reunited with that land that they were singing about.  It’s a belief in God, belief in religion, and the beauty of that country that helped to sustain them all of this time and now, here they are back up.” CNN
“We’ve seen that for some of the miners that have come out talking about their spiritual crisis underground and it’s a tremendously emotional moment for these men.  Jeff, I wanted to talk about that religious moment there.  We had one of the miners after he came up he said, he felt like he saw both God and the devil down there and he saw that God won.  That is a case where religion can just be so important at a moment like that because faith sometimes is all you have to cling to.” MSNBC
· “Gomez’s ‘Dear Lila’ letter was filled with faith and determination, and showed the world the miners were holding strong.  ‘Even if we have to wait months to communicate…I want to tell everyone that im good and we’ll surely come out OK.  Patience and faith.  God is great and the help of my God is going to make it possible to leave this mine alive.’” Miami Herald
· “When Esteban Rojas came out he knelt down and prayed.  In that instant his wife presented him with an image of Our Lady.  It would be an image that would stick with many of the others.”  La Quarta
· “We find them with God’s help and rescued them as Chileans.  In this regard, [the Chilean president] expressed that, ‘God put us to the test this year, but God never puts us a burden that we are not able to cope with.’”
· “What began as a possible tragedy, we hope—and thank God—seems to be ending as a true blessing.”
· “We have lived a magical night, a night we will remember throughout our lives, a night in which life defeated death.” Los Angeles Times
· “No doubt there will be books and movies and richer detail of a long burial spent, as one miner described it, close to both God and the devil.  But it will be hard to beat the day of rescue, when millions watched and celebrated the survival of all hands.”Anchorage Daily News
· “While Rojas was underground, he told his wife of 25 years that it was time for a church wedding ‘once and for all’ to make up for their civil ceremony.  The couple have three children.” Arizona Republic



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