Monday, November 30, 2009

His Plan

According to adherents of the Christian faith -- particularly those of a fundamentalist bent -- there's this supreme fellow named God who has a plan for the entire world. Everything that happens to any of us is part of this predestined blueprint. When we're born and how and when we die is already listed in its table of contents.

I suppose this might prove uplifting to some when things go well. When one of us wins the lottery or wrangles the sought after promotion or purchases our dream home, we can thank God for smiling on our lives and, possibly, answering our prayers. Our friends and neighbors shouldn't be envious or jealous because...it's part of God's plan.

But this odd belief sort of breaks down when tragedy strikes (see God is Imaginary, Proof #6). As horrendous as yesterday's slaying of 4 police officers was, if God has a plan for us all, this too must be part of it. So, while I'm certainly not arguing that people should not grieve for the families and friends of these murdered individuals, they should take some solace from the fact that it's all part of the divine plan.

In this same vein, many of those calling for the capture and execution of the perpetrator should reexamine their anger. If this master plan exists, then the gunman too was exercising God's will. God, in his infinite wisdom, directed the gunman to shoot the four officers and something good must come out of this tragedy because God is goodness.

Needless to say, I find this whole idea of a divine plan misguided. If it truly exists, then it contradicts another principle of the Christian faith -- free will. How could anyone freely do this or freely not do that if everything is already predestined?

Just asking.

5 comments:

  1. An ego lead by damaged and disjointed reasoning ability, for rewards poorly weighed up, shot 4 representatives of (in their eyes) the oppressive power machine.

    This event has been seen by many to be worse than when:

    An ego lead by damaged and disjointed reasoning ability, for rewards poorly weighed up, bombed the crap out of representatives of poor countries for justifications (in their eyes) such as 'terror', oil, money...

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  2. this was the first nail in the coffin of my faith. most christians believe in free will, and that the evil in this world is the result of the sin of humans, and god just doesn't interfere because he doesn't want us to be puppets. however, this is directly contradicted in the bible. the bible pretty much explicitly says that god knows everything that's going to happen and he even goes so far as to choose who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. :P
    how in the world can people believe that and still call their god good?
    (btw my family just chooses not to explain it. they say, it's written in the bible so it must be true. yet god is nothing but good. if there is a contradiction, it's because our simple minds can't grasp the infinite wisdom of god.) (cop out)

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  3. Ta-Wan,
    :)!!

    Iktomi,
    Yes, Christianity is a mess of contradictions. BTW, how ya feeling?

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  4. Yes, when many Christians talk about 'God's will', I often just have to bite my lip and wince.

    I understand all your objections (and sympathise with Iktomi!), yet I still believe in something called 'God's will'. How can that be?

    On the other hand, what does it mean to follow Tao? Does it mean that we are puppets to some little voice whispering in our ears? Of course not. What it means (I think, anyway) is that the principles of Tao give us the tools we need to meet the challenges of life and find creative solutions.

    Or take the example of romantic relationships. Does love dictate how we act towards the other person? Or is it the impulse which motivates each person to express him/herself in a unique way?

    For at least some Christians, following 'God's will' simply means finding creative ways to express our lives in love. We believe life is more like an art class than a math class: the only 'answers' are the ones we come up with. :)

    Sorry for the long comment, but I really appreciate the space to think about these things! I hope the perspective of an open-minded Christian isn't too unwelcome...

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  5. chris and melissa, i know many christians whom i respect... not despite their beliefs but because of them. :) i don't think your religion matters as much as your perspective, and it sounds like you have a great perspective.

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