Monday, September 5, 2011
Thank God? Why?
Imagine you are in your vehicle traversing a very tall bridge. You are driving at night and the road is dark, and suddenly a freak accident! A stray bird from the raling doesn't get into the air in time, and before you know it, it's thud! Startled, you slam on the brakes, but just then your tire blows out, causing you to veer violently into the guard railing on the bridge. Due to the speed you were traveling, the antiloc brakes, now glowing orange embers, aren't enough to stop you from crashing through the gaurd. Luckily, however, it was enough to stop your vehicle from shooting over. Instead, you are stuck, teeting on the precopice, staring down an impossible drop.
Just then, a passerby sees your wreck of a vehicle about to topple over. Suddenly squeeling to a stop, they pull up next to the rear of your car. Pulling down your rear bumber with their body weight, they get your car to tilt back onto the road. You hear your back tires meet asphault as they pop the rear door open. Calling out to you to make sure you are conscious, they urge you to crawl over the seat and come toward them. Slowly! And you do.
Just as they grab your hand and pull you out, some of the bridge crumbles out from under your car. The shift in weight causes your car to lunge forward and over the edge. Now, instead of a regular bridge, imagine this wasa lava bridge. A bridge high over deadly molten magmu.
Now, the question is, who do you thank for saving your life?
Strangley, most religious people immediately thank God.
Thank God? Why?
Because it was a miracle, they'll say. I survived against the bloody odds! I veritable miracle!
Stranger still, most leave it at that. In fact, many people forget to thank the person who actually showed up out of the blue to rescue them and save their sorry ass. That person gets a type of unspoked gratitude, but no formal thanks, even though I think we can all agree that thanks is due.
Moreover, the people who designed and built your car, with the airbags the deployed just at the right time, and the anti-lock brake system which slowed you down, not to foget the bridge makers who made a bridge capable of taking a greater impact than it was intended, and all of these factors (plus many more like them) frequently get overlooked.
But my question is, what the hell does God have to do with anything? God didn't sweep down from the sky and save you. God didn't miraculously transport you out of the car and have you rematerialize safely somewhere else. God didn't even save that poor bird which ended up as a splat stain on your windshield. So why the hell does God get all the credit?
All too often I read of Christians thanking God for curing hem from their ailments and diseases. Just this week I heard of someone on my Facebook thanking God for curing them of their cancer.
No offence to cancer victims, but it seems to me that if you are attributing the cause of your improved health to Allah, Krishna, or Christ then you are neglecting to properly thank all the dedicated doctors, nurses, and countless others who tirelessly and valantly did everything in their power to ensure your survival.
After voicing my shock that they forgot to thank their doctor, a Christian friend of mine chimed in, asserting, " One can thank God and his/her medical professionals and caregivers. Personally, I specifically thank God FOR them."
I suppose thanking God for the medical professionals and the countless others who helped to cure your cancer, or save you from a death by lava bridge, would be a start in acknowledging others played a vital role in your safety and well-being. But the problem I have is that it's still not really thanking the people themselves. It is sort of a little prayer one says as an aside to God--thank you for placing all those important people in my life--whether or not God actually had any role in it (should he even exist) remains to be seen.
This, of course, raises another interesting question, what if God didn't play any role in it. Thanking God, then, it seems to me is just misguided. And until you can prove God had a direct hand in the matter, how can you be so grateful to someone who you may or may not have helped you--because let's be honest--you don't know.
I am curious as to why this custom among religious of thanking God supercedes the due thanks, or recognition, for those directly responsible for aiding in their expedient recovery.
Imagine if I were to be diagnosed with cancer, then treated by the finest medical professionals the 21st century has to offer, and against the odds, I go into full remission and eventually am cancer free only to thank the Easter Bunny for the miracle.
Doesn't that just seem a little bit neglectful, misguided, and a tad bit ungrateful?