Posted by: Jim | January 16, 2009

Luck Has a New Name: “God”

An airplane crashed yesterday. The pilot, crew and passengers all did the right thing and managed to survive. Yet CNN chose this quote as the title of the article: “God was certainly looking out for all of us.”

 

I’m so happy that everyone lived, but this quote smacked me in the face and reminded me of how our fuzzy thinking gives credit to the wrong things, prevents us from learning lessons, and hinders society as a whole.

 

First, if God was looking out for them, the plane might not have failed at all. So an all-powerful God can reach down his hand and cushion the landing of a plane, but he can’t keep the plane from crashing to begin with? Did God allow the crash on purpose so that he could strut his stuff and show us how good and kind he is? This kind of thinking trains people to ascribe a mystical motivation to every outcome. It’s superstition and spookery.

 

Second, if God is to be credited, why isn’t God blamed every time a plane does a nose dive into the ground and kills everyone? God is selectively chosen as the reason for good luck or good performance. Even athletes thank God when they win, but they never blame God when they lose. If someone is “blamed” it is often Satan. They see his face in the clouds of 911. This is more spookery, and effectively removes the causality from the universe and removes our accountability for the outcome of our actions.

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Responses

  1. I’m wondering how a god that sees even a sparrow fall can miss a huge flock of honking Canadian geese about to get sucked into a jet engine.

  2. Spot on. Depressing in the extreme. The closest God came to getting blamed was the schadenfreude festival that was CNN’s live coverage of the Virginia Mining Disaster, where CNN broke the news that all but one of the trapped men had been saved, cue triumphal music, talk of miracles, heroes, etc, and one local saying, “God was looking out for West Virginia” (ha! such regionalism). Then, the bombshell, CNN totally wrong, all but one dead, and the locals going pitchfork mad, trying to get hold of the ‘journalists’ who’d given them such false hope. They were on a kinfe-edge for a while, then swapped into tragic music and talk of how sad it all was (no longer speaking to locals). It was a case study in how media works, real, Eurasia has always been at war with Eastasia stuff.

  3. I think you will find that humans, not God, are the ones assigning credit. Perhaps if God had a PR rep, you would see a more consistent representation of blame vs. credit.

    Why can’t we just be happy everyone survived and leave it at that? If it bothers you that much that some choose to believe in divine intervention, please, don’t read the papers or watch the news. You find mention of God every.single.day.

    One of my favorite movie lines is from Contact, where Ellie Arroway is being questioned by the global panel to see if she is fit to make the first deep space flight. When asked if she believed in God, she responded that she did not see the relevance of the question. The panelist’s response was that 95% of people on Earth believe in a God of some sort, and that makes the question extremely relevant.

  4. “If it bothers you that much that some choose to believe in divine intervention,”

    You can’t read, Todd. It’s the fact that all the major news networks and newspapers believe in divine intervention as The Chosen One when it comes to the narrative for these events, not that little people have their superstitions.

    That astronaut will need to know who J Lo is by the same logic. “It’s important, 95% of earth men want to do her”

  5. Toad, if it bothers you so much that some of us choose to mock the belief in divine intervention, please, don’t read this blog. You find disbelief here in every.single.post.

    lol, kingfelix. I believe in Charlize Theron, although that may not be relevant since I think I and my fellow Charlize fans fall below the 95% benchmark. We could be a splinter fan club, though, I suppose…

  6. Guys, guys. It doesn’t bother me that you believe what you believe. It is inconsequential to me. I, again, always seem to offer a different viewpoint, one that is neither right nor wrong. Just different. If Jim posted his views and everyone agrees with him (wait, that’s already the case), what good is reading it? I agree with both of you on some things, but you always seem to find a way to twist it into me trying to convert you to Christianity, or conservativism. Not at all the case. I believe A, you believe B. Me expressing my views is no different than Jim posting it and you following his lead on every.single.post.

    As for J-Lo, I think your numbers are off 😉

  7. One can say; “Union workers were certainly looking out for all of us.”

  8. “Me expressing my views is no different than Jim posting it and you following his lead on every.single.post.”

    As a conformist, Todd saw the world in conformist terms…

    Clearly the geese or whatever were dumb instruments of El Diablo… fiendish cunning was evident…

  9. Besides, Kingfelix just crossed me on the “What’s Right with America” post, referencing Johnny Cash. Not sure if you noticed Todd, but my response was to post a picture of Johnny flipping Kingfelix off.

    😀


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