Don’t Let “God’s Plan” Circumvent Your Own Abilities February 22, 2015

Don’t Let “God’s Plan” Circumvent Your Own Abilities

J. D. Brucker has written a short-but-powerful e-book called God Needs To Go: Why Christian Beliefs Fail (Atheist Republic, 2015):

In the excerpt below, Brucker explains how God isn’t going to fix your problems; it’s up to you:

It was a cold, January night. I remember sitting in my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting a number of years ago feeling miserable, sick, and alone. The room was lively; snacks were passed around, coffee was drank, and laughs were shared. I sat alone, wishing my depression would allow me to have a normal conversation with another human being. I remember wishing I had a driver’s license that would allow me to leave, but since I did not, I was stuck in-between a rock and a hard place.

I was 21 then. I heavily drank for much of the previous year. 2010 was nothing but a litany of heartache, academic failures, lost friendships, and social deprivation. Most would be quick to blame their dependency on alcohol, but it was my fault. I let a long-lasting relationship end, fought with people who cared for me, and skipped classes because I felt I was too ill from the drinking. These could have been prevented had I not let my life slip away; only because I cared more for my whiskey-soaked existence than the opportunities and loved ones around me. I realized this in January of 2011 and I thought I would bring an end to it.

Which that is why I found myself sitting in an AA meeting. I cannot tell you about much of the meeting itself, only because I truly don’t remember. One thing, though, has stuck with me and will continue to till I pass. I watched as other members took turns, sharing their stories of depression, rage, and sobriety. Their stories differed greatly, but one central theme brought them together: They all thanked God for their sobriety. I’m not talking about a few or most of them, I mean all of them. I refrained from speaking, only because I was sober for 1 day and I knew I had no one to thank besides myself.

I continued with the program for 6 months, which was all I could stand. I witnessed people come and go, from all walks of life, from 16 years old to 75 years old, people who were happy and people who were absolutely miserable. However it was their internal struggle I could not bear to watch. I could see them attempt to deal with an unnerving dilemma: their chemical dependency versus why their God had yet to remove the addiction. Many times, members would stand and ask, “Why is it that my faith has yet to rid my body of this disease?” I walked away from the program. By this point I was well past drinking. I cannot tell you if I had a real dependency (though my first few sober days consisted of binge-eating, headaches, and anxiety) but I knew then that I was incapable of drinking responsibly, so my best bet was to abstain; which I’m proud to say that I’ve gone over 3 years without even a sip.

So that brings me to the point of this portion. One of the most ghastly implications of faith — predominantly Christianity — is that it persuades its victims to believe in a plan; a plan predetermined by a divine commander. As part of that plan, this divine commander has great things lined up for the believer; never mind the bad things, remember he has no control over the bad things that happen. We see this so often that it almost goes unnoticed. Sometimes, however, I do. Whatever it may be, its credit is usually God. Whether it’s a loss in waist-size, a hasty recovery, an excellent test score, or a job promotion, God somehow had something to do with these instances. If this were part of a divine plan, surely human abilities would have no effect on it, right?

If those positive instances were predestined by God, I press anyone to not exercise, refrain from doctors’ visits, don’t study for an upcoming exam, or skip work periodically and expect those results. Usually the results of those that I’ve named will prove negative. Why is that? Certainly God has some great things in line, right? Those of faith always have an answer for why bad things happen, why their god seems to have no control over the bad things, and why the good things are wonderful blessings. I believe these to be nothing more than excuses and empty defenses pedaled from a delusion; a delusion that influences those of faith to understand nothing while claiming knowledge of the unknowable.

It’s sad to see so many give thanks where the credit isn’t due. I want everyone to understand their capabilities; capabilities available even considering the nonexistence of God. Good things (and bad things) happen to atheists who hold no belief in the god many worship. Success and good fortune is in our hands and the hands of other human beings. We need to set aside this childish behavior. If your hard work has paid off, thank yourself. If your surgery was successful, thank your doctor. Does a God who’s only concerned with blessings and not misfortunes deserve any credit what so ever? I don’t think so. This “God of Good Fortune” most tend to worship is the least-deserving of any postulated god found throughout history. Your life — your successes and your setbacks — is in your hands. Don’t wait for a miracle. Go out and get it done. When something good does happen, be humble. When something bad happens, don’t give up.

It’s that simple.

The passage brings to mind the quotation attributed to Frederick Douglass: “I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”

God Needs To Go is now available on Amazon.

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