Planning is good, but nothing ever goes according to plan. It’s so true it’s a proverb. Unfortunately, we forget this when it comes to God. We say, “Everything happens for a reason.” Since the current placement and movement of galaxies, stars, planets, and all matter relies on the initial and changing states of an inconceivable number of minute particles over a fourteen billion year period, God has been extremely busy for a very long time in order to ensure that your car runs out of fuel at the precise time and location that enables you to meet that soulmate of yours. When he ends up cheating on you and breaking your heart, blame that on God, too. A human meticulously arranges a few meaningless knick-knacks, we call it OCD, God does it with all matter in the universe, nobody blinks an eye.
Why do we have this notion? One reason is that it’s comforting, I guess. It helps us make meaning when we can’t conceive of a reason for something. It’s hard to accept that your mother died of cancer for a trivial cause. Damn hard. Why was your child killed in an automobile accident? I don’t have the answer, but I’ll weep with you. The problem with thinking that God has a plan is that it leads to some destructive beliefs. A person’s race, location, marriage, vocation, and even his-or-her accidents are all credited to God. Some religionists claim to know highly specific details concerning God’s plan, but God hasn’t let anyone in on the single, most important part: whether or not he even exists. Seems strange. I’m sick of everyone blaming God, I kind of like him. Let’s take responsibility for our own carelessness and bad choices. Accidents of physical impact, disease, and genetics are not in God’s plan. He’s way cooler than that. The only way we can be happy is to hazard being unhappy.
Enter SCIENCE. In case you haven’t caught up on your 20th century science, I’ll give you the short version. It turns out that we live in a universe of chance. Unfounded religious beliefs, however, led my family to prohibit childhood games of chance (involving dice, cards, spinners, etc.), despite numerous references in scripture to decisions made by lot. Hahaha. I remember hiding to play the game of Old Maid. I don’t blame my parents, but I always wondered why. I think I’ve traced it to Joseph F. Smith who was the president of the church at the time that these scientific theories were gaining traction. Apparently religion is threatened by knowledge. Who saw that coming? What better way to prove that science is wrong than to issue a dogma that turns inanimate objects into satanic tools. Even scientists struggled to accept chance. Einstein said that, “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.” But he did and he does.
The logical conclusion to the “God has a plan” dogma is this: there is no choice. Does that sound familiar? What a great legacy to leave the world. If religion were a person, I’d slow clap in its face. Calvinists even made it a tenet in their religion–God has already elected whom he will save and there’s nothing you can do about it. All of my life, I’ve witnessed God described as a cosmic control freak. Imagine a parent telling a child that nothing he or she wanted or did mattered unless it was first conceived by the parent, appointed, and directed in every detail. God help that child escape from such tyranny! I can’t imagine a worse fate for that tender spark of deity. Nevertheless, some religionists accuse God of such oppression. Do they have no shame?
Accept that it’s a scary world and that we have no guarantee concerning how long we’ll be here or what mishaps will befall. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel like a kid looking at this universe with big, bright eyes of wonder. I absolutely adore the God that provided this for me. I will declare everlasting hostility against any dogma that insults him by portraying him as a hateful, spiteful, tantrum throwing, despot. I think he’s the bomb!
Painting: Ancient of Days by William Blake. Photo credit here.