In my ongoing effort to examine everything I thought I believed but is probably just a sound bite, I tripped over this gem at work one night:
If God wants it to happen there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.
My first concern about such sayings is how it affects victims. How does this translate to a victim of domestic abuse? Or maybe a victim of rape? Or maybe a victim of true religious persecution (not the stuff conservatives say is persecution here in America but the real “off with their heads” shit that’s going on in other parts of the world)?
So, how does one explain such nonsense? I mean, if God wanted you to not be abused, He’d stop the abuse. If God hadn’t wanted you to be raped, He’d have prevented it….
I think you can see where I’m going with this.
The truth is not so easy that you can sum in up in a sound bite. The truth is bad stuff happens. The truth is that if we Christians actually lived what Christ taught, maybe there’d be less bad. Or at least maybe the victims wouldn’t be re-victimized by tripe such as this.
Our brand of Christianity is one that trusts miracles and distrusts reality. Reality is life is full of evil things, things that if we’d just do something about, well, all our lives would be easier. Instead we sit back on our laurels and wait for God to perform some sort of miracle so we can, I don’t know, post an emotional video on YouTube about how God told us to buy bananas for a homeless guy at the supermarket?
The guy is still homeless, but at least the lady feels better about herself and, most importantly, SHE is now closer to God as a result.
I think that sums up the problem perfectly. It’s all about us as individuals. Or us as the church collectively (just in case those who are in the more Orthodox traditions think they get a pass).
We can all tell lies like this, tell others that God is in control, because that lets us all off the hook. We don’t have to do anything because God will. We don’t have to find a way to end homelessness, God will do something about it. We don’t have to find a way to protect the truly persecuted, God will do something about it.
We can all sit in our safe homes in our safe neighborhoods and fret about which college to send our kids to and what age we’ll be financially ready to retire at, while real evil continues right outside our doors.
We can turn a blind eye to the victims and the needy because, well, God is in control. So we don’t have to do anything.