Monday, April 11, 2011


“God is a concept,
by which we measure our pain.”

--John Lennon

It seems like most people have it all figured out.

The majority of people find a way to process and explain everything that happens by filtering it through their chosen belief, whether it’s God, Jesus, Buddha, Mother Earth, Allah, Yoga, Scientology, the Mystic Chicken, or the Shadow Government.

Whatever comes their way, their one all-encompassing philosophy of choice seems to apply and explains everything.

Is that because drinking that particular Kool-Aid makes life easier to cope with and understand, like some sort of cosmic security blanket?

Struggling to comprehend the overwhelming injustice, violence and evil that exists in the world (in people?) can make you feel lost, alone, and frustrated. Isn’t it much easier and convenient to just have one answer—one size that fits all?

I have no such singular answer that I can stretch and manipulate to easily explain away every incomprehensible event that occurs. I wish I did.

Sometimes I envy those people because it boils life down to a much more manageable experience. Yet, most of the time, I am just too skeptical of any quick fix.

As an example, let’s take a common belief in God. Some recent events will help me illustrate what I’m talking about.

Event #1: In God We Trust, Despite Evidence to the Contrary

You probably read the horrific story last week about the Brazilian nut who killed 12 children at point-blank range, and wounded several others, while shouting, “I am going to kill you all!”

One girl was shot in the leg, and her mother wonders if her child will ever be able to walk again. Here’s her quote:

“She’s such an active child. That’s the biggest fear I have, her not being able to walk again. But we have to trust in God.”

Amazing, isn’t it? She is still able to “trust in God” after what happened to her kid? I would imagine that she has been placing her trust in God before this happened, and yet look how that worked out! Yet, she still hangs on to this.

Is it just too scary to think that there is no superpower (Daddy?) that will take care of everything for us?

By the way, the gunman, before killing himself, left a note with these instructions:

“A follower of God must visit my grave at least once. He must pray before my grave and ask God to forgive me for what I have done.”

That’s right, he believed in God, too, and since God will forgive him, he won’t really suffer for his actions.

You might be thinking that this guy is just mentally ill…but then you would just be proving my point, wouldn’t you?

• Event #2: God Knew Drugs Were Good for Me

One week into the season, baseball player Manny Ramirez tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance and decided to retire rather than face another drug ban.

“I’m at ease,” Ramirez said. “God knows what’s best for me.”

Hmm. So, if God knows what’s best for Manny, why didn’t God step in when Manny was first considering using these drugs?

The argument, of course, is that God gave Manny free will, and it was his choice to use the drugs in the first place. I actually would tend to agree with that.

But I don’t think Manny would agree with that. And yet, when he gets busted again for the same thing, he conveniently brings in God’s name, as if He has been guiding him all his life.

• Event #3: God Made Me Lose

Matt and Christa are contestants on “Survivor” this season, and both are very Christian. Before their final one-on-one match, they each prayed to God for victory.

Matt beat Christa in the competition, and she was sent home.

Does this mean that God liked Matt better? Didn’t they both pray for victory? Will Christa now become an atheist? I’m sure these cool kids would answer “no” to both questions, and they will find a way to twist their views so that they are at peace, there is no free will, and that Santa Claus is watching over all of us.

To Sum Up:
Considering these three examples I have described here, in which peoples’ beliefs in a higher power seem to backfire on them—and yet they still continue to believe—I can come to at least one conclusion, even though it may be a cliché:

You can’t have it both ways, people.

Life is made up of your own personal choices, and it’s a cop-out and a shirking of responsibility to attribute everything to God…or Allah…or Buddha…or whomever.

And if you have never heard the song, “God,” by John Lennon, by all means seek it out immediately.

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