I know the sentiment is usually a good one… but it’s still really annoying to hear:
Saw this on post secret this morning and couldn’t help but thinking about all the times people have said that to me or how many times I said it as a christian.
I remember saying it to a friend whose baby had died at just 2 weeks old. What I jerk i must have been.
All of the glory, none of the blame. Pretty sweet gig!
This is right up there with: “I’ll pray for you anyway”…when said offender KNOWS I’m an atheist. It’s condescending and smug. People should just come out and say what they are thinking: “there, there, hell-bound heathen…someday you’ll see the light just like me, and then we’ll frolic around on fluffy clouds forever,eternally wrapped in the arms of big daddy G”.
Ah, love that one!
Let’s face it, most of what Christians say is annoying.
Funny, but requires that one believe there is a God. I’m sure it irritates the Christians though.
Don’t forget the “blessing” thing.
Oh, and Hemant, your site….God’s plan (and such a blessing).
Ain’t it the truth
Can I have this in a pack of business size cards to hand out to anyone asshole enough to say this to me?
It’s a trite, careless, unnessary stock comment that believers repeat to make themselves feel less anxious about not being able to do anything to change the situation. It’s an attempt to alter the feelings of the person mourning, which of course no one can do. The intentions behind this statement are generally good but the comment itself is pointless at best and damned painful at it’s worst (it stung hearing it when my father died and I was actually a believer at the time.)
Why isn’t “How unfortunate…I’m very sorry for your loss” enough? It’s sincere and says all that needs to be said. I guess some people need to assign meaning to the patently meaningless.
Back when I was still a Christian and struggling with serious depression, this is what people told me, along with “I’ll pray for you,” and shit about “bear your cross,” and “Jesus suffered so it is fitting that we should as well.”
I ended up deconverting because I couldn’t sustain the beliefs emotionally anymore… “giving it up” to God or Jesus didn’t work, repeatedly failed to work, over and over and over again.
Also, I found that Christianity was an intellectual dead end, what with being anti-taught various scientific theories… being lied to about so so so many things…
It wasn’t until nearly a decade later that I found the help I so desperately needed–getting bad and toxic people out of my life and getting in with a good therapist to help me with my emotional battles.
Yeah, but if you wear this on your T-shirt or whatever, it makes you a dick. Christians can’t see things from our perspective any more than we can see from theirs. Probably best to let that stuff go. This is the sort of thing that leads to bloody noses.
My brother passed away on July 26th and he was very open about his atheism. Even though friends and family knew how he felt, that hasn’t stopped the religious ones from saying that it was “god’s plan”, “god called him home”, and that they are “praying for him” etc. etc.
I sure could have used that image a few days ago after reading many of the emails they sent, because that would have been my response back to them.
It’s a shame that people cause so much hurt and anger in others when they only seek to be helpful in the only way they know how.
As a disabled person, I’ve gotten this one pretty damn regularly since forever. Even if I wasn’t an atheist, I’d probably have to seriously question the motivations of such a god. “Really? God’s plan, huh? I gotta learn to walk 3 extra times in my life, made fun of daily as a child, and have pain pretty much every day, but it’s ok, since it’s God’s Plan. You know what? Screw that guy.” I’m honestly not a bitter dude, I swear. I’m happy with who and what I am, but I got the “God’s plan” and “God made you special for a reason” schtick so much as a kid and even now, that it just pisses me off to hear it.
Worked with a christian woman, who married a widower with 2 young kids (the wife and mother died very young, from cancer.) She noted on more than one occasion that she had prayed long and hard about finding a man and getting hitched, and this was a sure sign of god’s plan at work. An atheist co-worker noted “Well, god’s plan sure sucked for wife #1.”
I can’t improve on that.
I saw somebody post on their Facebook page “celebrating 3 years of mom with her Lord and Savior.” I was just appalled! Celebrating someone being dead? Ugh!
@Keith, my son is physically disabled and has a host of medical issues, and I get that crap all the time. What did my son ever do? God’s plan my ass. And my all time favorite, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Blech.
I don’t think that both of them are arseholes. The one saying it will do. I have no opinion about their imaginary friend other than the foolishness of having one.
Some people try to sound consoling while totally failing at it. I would have no pity for the “consoler” if their “consolation” gets thrown right back at them.
If “God’s plan” involves things like family members dying horrible deaths, job losses during a horrid recession, and the like, I can’t help but think that any of us could come up with a better plan than a so-called “omnipotent god.”
The point of saying “it’s gods plan” is really a crutch, a device of assimilation and acceptance. The prerequisite of proceeding ahead is the demand to “understand” as the universe has zero regard for human understanding it is one of the many places where the religious mind overlooks and glosses over their own inconsistencies! It is right up there with the way some say “Karma” but usage and wit often emphasizes denotation rather than connotation such as in John Lennon’s Instant Karma’s gonna get you / Gonna knock you right in the head / You better get yourself together / Pretty soon your gonna be dead…”
Consider the emphasis as an indication of the lack of understanding as in they; the practitioner of such thinking, really do not have a leg to stand on!
However bloody noses or not I would wear that tee-shirt as long as on the back it also says “Jesus is a C*nt” so go figure!
I also can’t stand the new age-y version of this: Everything happens for a reason.
Uh, no, it doesn’t.
The “God won’t give you more than you can handle one” bothers me because the part of the Bible where that is mentioned refers to temptation, not suffering, meaning you’re able to resist temptation and you’re just lazy. Ugh, read your own book.
Speaking of disabled people, would someone be kind enough to describe the image for those of us who can’t see it?
It’s just text. It days “I appreciate your sympathy, but don’t tell me ‘It was God’s plan’. That just makes me think you’re both assholes.”
yep. and what amelia said.
@JamesP – When I first fell away from religion, part of the reason was that I was in emotional pain and there was no help. Why did God want me to suffer? I knew I felt lonely and unloved by people, but the fact that He didn’t help me made me feel lonely and unloved by God as well.
I have a cat, Newton, that I adopted as an older cat. One thing he does from time to time is chew/suckle on the fabric of his bed. He kneads the fabric and purrs. It’s nursing behavior, and I always thought it was cute.
Then I learned that this behavior is like an older child’s thumb-sucking. The cat is experiencing some emotional trauma and returning to kitten-like behaviors to comfort himself. Now if I see him doing it, I distract him and pet him. holding him, stroking him, and talking sweetly to him. I recognize his pain and I try to help him.
There are so many people in the world who will comfort a crying child or put their arms around a person in distress. And yet they pray to God for succor, and when they don’t receive it, they say that their continued suffering is God’s plan.
I’m not an atheist by choice. I’m an atheist because being a theist would mean worshiping a deity who is either apathetic about human suffering or sadistic. It’s easier to believe that there’s no sentient entity out there than to believe that the common concept of an omnipotent God who allows people to suffer.
If god won’t give anyone more than they can handle, why is there such a thing as suicides? Or nervous breakdowns?
That one’s always pissed me off precisely because you’ve only to look around to see people with more on their plate than they can handle.
Eh, when a member of my family died I heard this a lot. At the time I didn’t have the energy to protest it, especilly coming from other family members who were helping out. I ended up asking a friend to spread the word that religious messages were more harmful then good at that time, and most people respected that.
But mainly I always thought it was sort of a canned message, something many people say in an attempt to comfort you when dealing with death, because they have no idea what else to say.
I think “It’s God’s Plan” and “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle” are wrong; they are corruptions of two other ideas regarding the role of God and suffering.
Now atheists will reject these two other ideas as well, for obvious reasons, but they are, respectively:
This is not what God wants, but He has a plan to overcome.
God didn’t give this to you, but He can help you handle it.
Like I said, atheist reject these ideas as well for at least two reasons…
1) Atheists reject the notion that any gods exist.
2) If God did exist, then any sufferng in the world He created is His responsibility (i.e. fault).
A purposely cruel retort isn’t any better than a thoughtlessly cruel comment. To think so requires quite a bit of arrogance.
I really appreciate all the comments. I recently had what I thought was a good friend start the whole “ignoring” think because I revealed my disbelief in religion and dieties. This is comfort for my loss. My favorite is Hoverfrog’s imaginary friend comment. That was great!
Death happens – drivers don’t stop in time, kids who can’t swim fall into ponds, tumors form, parts malfunction, or sometimes the body just wears out from wear and tear. Yes, it’s painful to lose someone we love, even though we know it will happen to everyone eventually.
But to tell people that it’s “God’s plan” when their baby is born ancephalic, or their spouse catches a stray bullet in a drive-by doesn’t help. It just makes people wonder how big a prick a deity has to be in order to plan something like that.
I just happened upon this blog when my phone misunderstood what I was trying to say to it and it makes me sad. I consider myself a christan I suppose but I don’t like being associated with that title. I don’t think it’s God’s plan for anyone to suffer. I am often frustrated with many christians’ stock answers to hard questions or difficult situations. I think it’s irresponsible and not indicative of what christianity teaches. I stayed away from church for a long time because of these types of people. But I found that there are some real human beings in the church too who care about others and work to make the lives of others better. I apologize on behalf of anyone who has hurt you intentionally or not under the guise of christianity. I can’t stop all those people but I can work to avoid being those people.
When someone pulls that “God’s Plan” shit after you’ve just got some horrible news, you could pop them a good one in the nose. When they talk about calling the cops, remind them that the bloody nose must have been part of God’s Plan, because otherwise, He wouldn’t have told you to throw the punch.
The response I like best is “Really? Exactly why did your god plan to inflict this on someone?”
Believe it or not, that’s why Jehovahs Witnesses are the only Christians that have it right- they can show you all the places in the Bible that makes it clear that the dead are dead and not concious of anything. They haven’t been called home and they aren’t dead because God killed them. Only idiotic people who think they’re Christians say crap like that because they’re too lazy to actually read the Bible. My mother in law is a witness and even though I’m not, hers is the only Christian religion I have ever found to be logical in any way. Seriously. People think they’re nutjobs because they go door to door but I don’t see how that’s any weirder than anything the Catholics have come up with or the baying at the moon universe worshippers. Just sayin.