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HomeMalawiPope’s Elevator Experience and Improbability of a Christian God

Pope’s Elevator Experience and Improbability of a Christian God

Pope Francis

The recent case where firefighters intervened and rescued the pope after he was trapped in a lift should perturb Christians and others who strongly believe in a deity. This is because such an experience put into question the existence of God, the efficacy of the divine power especially the assumed saving power of the Christian God, Jesus.

On September 1, the catholic pontiff arrived late for his weekly morning prayer because a power outage at the Vatican caused the elevator to stop. And the pope spent 25 minutes in the lift waiting for help. It took the intervention of the firefighters who came and fixed the problem before the pope was able to get off the lift. The crowd applauded after the pope thanked the firefighters for intervening. But on a second thought, the crowd should not have cheered if they really understood the implications of the elevator experience. The incident did not reflect positively on what the pope and the catholic churched represented. This is because this incident presented an excellent opportunity for God to prove his existence, but he didn’t. Jesus could not demonstrate his alleged saving power.

Imagine, the pope, a man who is said to be an alter Christus, (another Jesus Christ) was trapped in an elevator, waiting for the earthly saviors to rescue him. The pope is a person who is believed to embody the saving power of Jesus. So it boggles the mind to hear that an alter Christus was trapped in a lift, in a human-made device due to a power outage. As if that was not enough in terms of ridiculing the status of the pope, the pontiff had to wait in the elevator for 25 minutes as the firefighters fixed the machine. He waited, not for 2 minutes, not for 5 minutes but for 25 minutes. So where was God when the pope was stuck in a lift? Was he sleeping? Did he go on a journey? Or was God distracted? Was looking elsewhere as his earthly representative languished in an elevator?

What was going on in the mind of the pope when he noticed that the lift was no longer functioning? Did he try contacting God for a miraculous fix? The pope was going for his weekly prayer and had a direct line to God. Did he pray and tried to alert God that things were not okay at the Vatican? Where is the divine dimension of the elevator experience? Where did god come in or tried coming into it?

If the pope prayed, why didn’t God respond immediately, and made sure that his earthly representative did not suffer this embarrassment? Why didn’t god directly intervene before the arrival of mortal firefighters? Why didn’t the pope use his official divine powers to command the lift to start working? After all, he was going for a prayer session where he was expected to directly communicate with God. Was there a communication failure when the lift stopped working? It is either that the pope was a man of little faith or the pope had no faith at all, or the God idea was a make belief.

The elevator experience put God to the test and God woefully failed. God once again was unable to prove his existence at the global stage, at the Vatican City where many Christians believe to be the city of God. So believers, Christian believers, in particular, need seriously rethink the idea of God. They need to ask themselves this pertinent question: If God, the Christian god existed, why was the pope trapped for 25 minutes in an elevator at the Vatican?

Leo Igwe
Leo Igwe
Leo Igwe (born July 26, 1970) is a Nigerian human rights advocate and humanist. Igwe is a former Western and Southern African representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and has specialized in campaigning against and documenting the impacts of child witchcraft accusations. He holds a Ph.D from the Bayreuth International School of African Studies at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, having earned a graduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Calabar in Nigeria. Igwe's human rights advocacy has brought him into conflict with high-profile witchcraft believers, such as Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries, because of his criticism of what he describes as their role in the violence and child abandonment that sometimes result from accusations of witchcraft. His human rights fieldwork has led to his arrest on several occasions in Nigeria. Igwe has held leadership roles in the Nigerian Humanist Movement, Atheist Alliance International, and the Center For Inquiry—Nigeria. In 2012, Igwe was appointed as a Research Fellow of the James Randi Educational Foundation, where he continues working toward the goal of responding to what he sees as the deleterious effects of superstition, advancing skepticism throughout Africa and around the world. In 2014, Igwe was chosen as a laureate of the International Academy of Humanism and in 2017 received the Distinguished Services to Humanism Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union. Igwe was raised in southeastern Nigeria, and describes his household as being strictly Catholic in the midst of a "highly superstitious community," according to an interview in the Gold Coast Bulletin.[1] At age twelve, Igwe entered the seminary, beginning to study for the Catholic priesthood, but later was confused by conflicting beliefs between Christian theology and the beliefs in witches and wizards that are "entrenched in Nigerian society."[1] After a period of research and internal conflict due to doubts about the "odd blend of tribalism and fundamentalist Christianity he believes is stunting African development," a 24-year-old Igwe resigned from the seminary and relocated to Ibadan, Nigeria


  1. Don’t confuse the Christian God with what the Catholics worship. Jesuits are even more pagan. That would be the current Pope. Just think, before the Reformation the only way to get to heaven was thru the Pope or a child molesting priest.

  2. You misunderstand God, the creator of all things. He is not a genie who comes at the snap of a finger to do our bidding. He has given us free will, and He does not snatch it back on a whim. He works through our choices, mistakes, misfortunes and catastrophes to mature those who trust Him. He is a good Father who has an eternal view, not a momentary view like we do. Just as a good human father lets his child learn through experience, God let’s is learn, struggle and sometimes suffer. We often don’t know why, but we trust God who is love.

  3. Im not a catholic but reading this article demands a walk with the writer back to the threshold of intelligence. This argument is worthless in proving or disproving the existence of God. I would go into detail but because of the obvious disdain why bother. Make a better elevator speech to get your point across.

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