Thank God

Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Quick Note, Thoughts | 7 comments

There are many things that religious folks will say like when they can’t explain something, or when a fact gets in the way of their faith. Things like “It’s all part of God’s plan”, or “God willed this to happen,” or even “I’ll pray for your mother during her heart surgery.” To me these just seem like ways to fill the silence, but of course there’s more to these comments than merely fishing for something to say.

I asked a Christian the other day something along the lines of “You don’t believe in science, yet things like computers, the internet and electricity don;t appear from mere faith, do they?” To which she answered “God made people, and people did the work, so there fore God did it.” God did it? By that logic, anything and everything that people do is preordained by God. The guy who shot up Oslo, Timothy McVeigh, Adolph Hitler and Pol Pot were all part of his master plan? God made people, and made us capable of all the things we can do, so therefore God is responsible for all the atrocities perpetrated by man, to each other and the planet.

The logic does not gel, especially when things do go the say someone would have hoped and they proclaim “Thank God for the recovery of my mother from heart surgery.” Have they stopped to wonder why their mother survived? Could it have had anything to do with the doctors and nurses who spent many years in university, learning their trade, perfecting the art of treating people with heart conditions, undergoing test after test until they were ready to actually save people’s lives? No, God did it.

It seems to me to be a shortfall in logic, a willful blindness to the complexity of things that are involved in any situation. Even if God made man, man does all the actual work, and the people who do the surgery and the people who invent and build the machinery that keeps people alive in hospital rarely get the thanks for their dedication, hard-work and innovations from people such as this. To them, all things that benefit them are a miracle, and all things that don’t go their way are a test.

This is just a short thought really. Has anyone reading this had a similar situation, where a religious person has thanked God where there was probably a more deserving person on the ground, here on earth that deserved the praise?

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7 Comments

  1. I work with quite a few religious people, and it is not uncommon to hear someone thank God for something as simple as their car starting up in the morning.

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  2. Hi Martin

    I don’t think you can reasonably distill christian theology into a single view. I am no christian, but I could hazard a guess and some of the ‘God as originator’ angles

    1. God as neglectful father: God created mankind and left us to it.
    2. Man as recalcitrant: God causes all the good things that happen. Bad stuff is caused my men not following the way, being unenlighted, etc.
    3. Man as plaything of great spirits: God makes men do good things; the devil makes men do bad things.

    I am sure you can think of plenty more.

    Andrew

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  3. The “thank god” I hate – and which I don’t think religious people ever consider the full implication of – is when someone thanks god that ‘he’ saved a person from a natural disaster or accident.

    The implication being, of course, that ‘he’ didn’t bother saving all the people who didn’t survive.

    What a nice god.

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  4. Here is my (sarcastic) version of a prayer that JT Eberhard for comments:

    God – thank you for not killing me

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  5. What up Prib? The most stressful situation since my mom’s death was my father having a heart attack. He had surgery and my religious soon to be stepmom was thanking god every step of the way. I did my best to thank the 8 medical professionals that were wrestling with my dad’s convulsing body trying to save his life. Human effort always trumps imaginary friends.

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  6. I think it’s time MANkind referred to “god” as “Mother Nature”. Since it was xianity that made sure they god rid of all the female goddesses. Time to read, “Man Made God” by Barbara G. Walter. Time to return to a caring, nurturing society that operates in the realm of reality.

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  7. It’s a huge thing in America too. It really is one of the most disappointing things about religion, for me at least. I just watched that soul surfer girl movie yesterday (don’t ask why…) and it was just another example of sweeping all this complex interaction under the rug of god. The girl gets her arm bit off by a shark. Her three friends there with her rushed her to the shore, one ran ahead to call for an ambulance and ran back, they all carried her back to the car, car was driving to a hospital, ambulance met them somewhere in between and they moved her there. Then they get to the hospital and they have an ER room prepped and she goes into surgery right away. Thank god!

    I don’t recall if you blogged/are familiar with this, but I think it was last year’s Emmies that Ricky Gervais said “Thank GOD I’m an atheist!” The media went crazy over it, but I loved it. There’s the stereotype of sports players always thanking god for when they do well. There’s thanking god 1/1000 people were saved when the 999 people were killed. Ugh… it’s just so frustrating how embedded it is into the culture.

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