God and Responsibility

So here’s my beef. What’s with christians saying things like, “I think God is telling me to do (insert something here) because (insert reason here).” Now, I’m not drawing issue with whether or not God is truly in control of our lives or if he allows certain things to happen to get us to do things (however, it does seem incredibly against the idea of the “non-interventionist” god…). No, the real issue here is responsibility.

By claiming to the fact that God is in fact telling you to do something, what you are really doing is removing all responsibility from your actions and putting it on an “imaginary/distant/real” (depending on perspective) entity with whom direct communication (at least to me) seems very limited to one way only.

For example. Sally is dating Stan. Sally begins to doubt that she should stay in the relationship (reasons not crucial). Instead of simply accepting her decision, she claims that God is telling her to do leave BECAUSE of the forementioned non-crucial reasons. This subtle word play now puts Stan in an awkward position. Should he argue/discuss the non-crucial reasons with Sally? Well, this is hard since God has apparently told Sally through the “reasons” and then arguing apon that would mean arguing with God. Since God is infalible, Stan is therefore unable to “win” the discussion.

This tactic is used in many other ingenius ways. George W. Bush said that God told him to strike at Al Queda in Afgahnistan so he did. He then later said that God told him to strike at Saddam in Iraq. Now, I don’t like to judge (but I do it often 😉 ) but I don’t think of GWB as a prophet of any kind. And seriously, if God wanted Dubya to strike at Iraq, don’t you think he would have hinted at where the WMD would be? Just a thought…

Conclusion for the moment: Take stock of how often you truly accept responsibility for your actions. See how many times you attribute something to someone else (ie: That’s not my mess, I heard Ebert say this movie is good, the Bible says that we should…, God exists because Jenny believes in him etc)

To summarize, examine this quote from Immanuel Kant

“Immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in the lack of understanding, but in the lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another.”

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2 Responses to “God and Responsibility”

  1. Laura Says:

    We really are no good at accepting responsibility for anything. As far back as i can remember, i’ve been blaming my own errors and misfortunes on everything from My siblings, to God, to the rotation of the earth. Honestly, though, how much good does it to abandon a well earned rational mind in favor of an abstract concept such as an all-powerful force?
    Now, you could justify almost anything by diverting the responsibility toward God, Buddha, Satan, or whomever. Who or what will ultimately decide whether or not God told someone to do something for whatever reason? And who is to say that he has ultimate authority? (ok, easy setup on that one)
    The point i’m trying to get across is that we have earned our place in this rational universe through years of evolutionary and microevolutionary development. For some reason so many people seem completely ready to deny that in favour of the comfortable world of ignorance. I don’t get it.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Personally, I’m not of the opinion that God is non-interventionist. I am. But, I can also admit to times when I’ve just asked myself, does God intervene or are the events that occur just freak accidents?

    Granted, I agree with Mike’s idea that using God as a ‘whipping boy’ so to speak isn’t that great of an idea… and history shows it. Crusades, witch hunts, Rabin, Dubya, and a million other examples don’t give Christianity the reputation that it wants. Now, like I said, I believe that God is interventionist, but as Mike also pointed out, the end result would be visible sometime. There is clesrly a fine line here. sometimes results may not be visible until years later, so saying that “God told me” could be right.

    Another tangent that I’d like to point out.

    People are against Christians/Christianity not because of the way we acted hundreds of years ago. That’s not the hardest thing to forgive (although many people have an amazing capacity to not forgive), but of what we still do. We’re still top dog, and we’re still abusing the top dog placement. I won’t say that we are completely doing it wrong, but we cannot enforce people to believe in the things we believe. The on;y reason why Christianity has remained powerful in Western politics is because some Roman emperor (Constantine) back in 300-something AD decided to make Christianity the state religion.

    Looking at countries that do not have a Christian bloc in power, in many parts, Christianity is thriving and growing. Get off our high horse people.

    I’m not gonna bother debating the existence of God or the rationality of believing in a seemingly invisible Prrson(s).


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