Monday, December 22, 2003

"R" is for Responsibility

God is a scapegoat. It’s the cop-out that we use so that we can blame everything on something else. It’s easy to say “God will provide” because that means we don’t have to provide for ourselves. It is easy to say “God will forgive” because that means we will be forgiven if we repent. It is easy to say, “I will be with God when I die” because that means anything we do when we are still alive is only a trial run to our “true life” in Heaven. And Satan? Oh he’s the other scapegoat. Between God and Satan, we basically don’t have to be responsible for anything.

God cannot help you. Neither does he punish you. This is because we have Free Will. If God helped you get that job, then that means he let the other person not get it. If God let you win the lottery, that means He singled you out to receive good things, and let others lose. If God interferes with one person’s life, by definition, he has interfered with everybody’s life. This because there is no action without consequence. Remember the Laws of Physics? Yes, God made those laws; he has to abide by them. God cannot contradict himself, otherwise he is not God. He cannot say, “Thou shalt not kill” and then add “except Homos.” God cannot say: “You have Free Will” and then interfere with your life. What’s the incentive for us to do anything for ourselves?

Now, let’s tackle some tough questions.

“I prayed to God that I would pass my Chemistry test. I got an ‘F’, God is testing me.”

First of all, instead of praying, you should be studying. Second, God is not testing your faith by giving you "challenges". If you got an “F”, God would be the first to say: “Idiot, you shoulda been studying insteada prayin.” You should have turned in that paper on time; you should have trained your cat to be smart enough to only eat love letters from your ex instead of your chem paper.

“God will provide.”

God has already provided. He has given you air, sunlight, those cute freckles on your cheeks. To ask for basic necessities like food and a job is just being plain greedy. You need to do your best to provide for yourself. And if you can provide for yourself, make plans and be prepared for the rainy days. It will not be sunny forever. Look at me, I am unemployed. Do I blame God? No. Do I blame my former company? Maybe. But most of all, I blame myself for not doing the best I can to make sure I was not expendable, or not being aware enough to realize that the company was in trouble and start looking for a job sooner.

“How about the starving children in Africa, Asia and Mars?”

That’s not God’s job, that’s YOUR job. If there are people who are hungry in Africa or in your block, it is up to YOU to feed them. If those kids died of starvation, don’t turn to God and dramatically, with tears rolling down one eye and say “why? why? why do you let these things happen?” Don’t shake your fist in the air and yell “Damn you, Sally Struthers—oops—I meant Satan!”

“I got into an accident and now I’m paraplegic. Why is God punishing me?”

I’m sorry if you are in this state. However, in all probability, God had nothing to do with that. God did not make your hand slip or make your tires lose their traction or make you go out when it is snowing. Satan did not whisper in the other guy’s ear to drink that one last sweet drink before getting in the car. There are risks in driving, skiing, or wearing that hideous ballgown. You implicitly accepted those risks when you engaged in these activities. It is easier to blame God or Satan than to accept that things happened because you failed to estimate the risks and accept them.

“How about diseases like Cancer? AIDS? The Common Cold?”

Let’s start with the easiest one, the Common Cold. If you don’t know the answer to this yet, the answer is wash your hands. The Common Cold is most often transmitted not by people sneezing into your general vicinity, but from touching non-porous materials such as plastic, metal and wood contaminated by infected people and then transferred to your mouth or eyes from your own hands. AIDS? Devastating but quite preventable--use a condom. Cancer. Tough one. I could say that human beings have created so many bad things that poison our bodies and cause cancer like cigarettes and asbestos. Some we can prevent knowingly, therefore we bear full responsibility. For others, we all need to get together and do something about, like electing government officials who can make changes to laws. If we choose not to, then if we get cancer, it’s too late to blame God. It’s not, however, too late to blame your elected official. Think about it.

You are responsible for your own destiny. Every action sets into motion a sequence of events that affect you and everyone else. For everything else that happens? That is just part of living and dying.

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