Millions of people are searching for meaning in the wake of the devastating fire that ripped through the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France earlier this week. As usual there a variety of theories attempting to make sense of the incident and there are also plenty of people finding profound meaning in things that have perfectly reasonable explanations.
One of these people encountered a teaching moment on Twitter after they suggested that the cathedral’s golden cross was protected from the fire by God. However, as many informative Twitter users pointed out, gold is a material that can withstand far greater heat than wood. With this being the case, it should be rather obvious that the gold materials inside the building would be safe unless the fire reached extreme heats and engulfed the entire cathedral. Even then, many of the gold relics inside the building would have been able to withstand the heat of an average fire. As many commenters pointed out this was not the work of God per se, but the work of physics.
Kaylee Crain Tweeted that the cross in the cathedral was saved by God:
“After all the aftermath and destruction of the Notre Dame fire, the alter and cross remained untouched. Please explain to me how you don’t believe in God after seeing this.”
After all the aftermath and destruction of the Notre Dame fire, the alter and cross remained untouched. Please explain to me how you don’t believe in God after seeing this. pic.twitter.com/xUFmB7VnRG
— Kaylee Crain (@kayleecrain__) April 16, 2019
Twitter users from around the globe were quick to correct the woman and plenty of trolls took the opportunity to pile on as well. As expected, the comments also became a battleground for people to debate about their religious beliefs.
Your suggestion that a roughly 600°C fire could somehow melt a metal with a 1064°C melting point PERFECTLY illustrates why we desperately need education reform!
I’m sorry the education system has so clearly failed you. We obviously need to do better. 🙁
— ASPK (@aspk93) April 16, 2019
There is certainly nothing wrong with finding significant spiritual meaning in mundane aspects of everyday life, and especially in times of tragedy or loss. However, people get in trouble when they go around looking for proof and confirmation of their spiritual beliefs in everyday occurrences.
If people of a religious or spiritual background want something to rejoice about in the aftermath of this fire they should look to the extreme generosity that their fellow humans have exhibited in response to the disaster. People from around the world have extended their sympathies and their financial donations to the cathedral and now it is likely that it will be able to be rebuilt better than ever before. It is also important to give praise to the brave men and women who risked their lives to put out the fire and retrieve important historical relics from the building. All too often we put so much of our focus and attention on supernatural things that can’t be explained that we ignore the true miracle of humanity that is right in front of our eyes.
According to the Associated Press, 16 historic statues were removed from the Notre Dame Cathedral just four days before the massive fire that destroyed a large portion of the building.
At the time of the fire, the cathedral was in the middle of a massive renovation project which was expected to cost at least €150 million or $169 million.
Notre Dame Cathedral burning in France / Photo Credit: Photograph: Thibault Camus/AP
At first, some people speculated that this could be an act of arson, but experts are now pointing to a construction fire as the reason for the blaze. Construction fires are sadly common during old church restorations, as Glenn Corbett, an associate professor of fire science at John Jay College in New York, explains.
“There’s a history of churches and synagogues and other houses of worship falling victim to construction fires,” he said.
The problem is that sparks from welders or open flames from torches can easily catch fire to the many flammable items in places like this. Plus, the old wood in building itself acts as kindling as well.
Experts say that the building was already in rough shape anyway, and was at risk of collapsing in the next ten years even if there wasn’t a fire.
donations have poured in from around the world to assist with the building’s restoration. Nearly a billion dollars has been raised at time of publishing, most of those donations coming from extremely wealthy donors.
Some of these donations were hundreds of millions of dollars, coming from wealthy families behind clothing brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, as well as energy and cosmetic companies. Tim Cook of Apple even said that the multi-billion dollar technology company would contribute to restoration.