Thank God We Won The Match (Oh, And Thank You, God, For Screwing The Losing Team!)
Mike's playing the match of his life: The inter-school championships has finally come down to the wire, with both teams failing to score a goal after extra-time.
Its the fifth penalty kick. If he scores, he lifts the trophy, and will earn the adulation of his fellow team-mates and fans (not to mention all those pretty chicks in school). With a wing and a prayer, he says his final grace.......and shoots.......
It goes in! Now, the opponent's turn.......he steps up, runs towards the ball and shoots........the goalkeeper dives the wrong way, but the ball inevitably hits the crossbar, to the dismay of the opposition team. Mike's team wins, and with great aplomb, he strips off his tee-shirt which reveals the words, "I Love Jesus". A nice gesture, provided, of course, if Jesus was a true-blue soccer fan.
Louis is trapped in the rubbles of a building, an extremely unlucky victim of a terrorist attack in the shape of a young, vengeful Muslim strapped in a nail-spiked bomb.
As he lays prone, trapped under tons of concrete, metal bars and other debris, he comforts himself with the thought that somewhere, somehow, God is watching, and the Invisible Man in The Sky will somehow answer his fervent prayers.
Salvation arrived, some 100 hours later, in the form of gallant, duty-bound firemen from the various fire departments who have been activated and patched up in short notice. Instead of thanking these brave souls, the grateful Louis directs his thanks and his graces to.......yup, you guess it, the Invisible Man In The Sky, who somehow couldn't do a damn shit to the 2000 lives that perished in the pile of rubble.
"The Cosmic Father"
It's a quaint, egocentric idea: A supposed deity, who supposedly created a universe filled with billions of galaxies, planets, asteroids and stars, is actually no more than a voyeur who loves to supervise his creation, which, incidentally, is smaller and tinier than a speck of dust in the grand scheme of the universe, tugged away in a remote corner of the cosmos.
Out of this little (And I do mean really little) spot of the galaxy, our Heavenly Father resides on this very little planet we call Earth: Every move that you make, from the harmless act of stealing cookies from your mum's cookie jar to watching that odd porn movie, is being monitored by a patriarchal figure in the sky.
Since antiquity, religion and deity worship has thrived on the supposed "truth" that Man is the centre of his universe. In his egoistic, self-centred world, a loving God exists, so that Man can seek solace in a world ridden with diseases, wars and other pleasantries. It is this imagined relationship with God that explains why we need to attach some form of father figure to this deity, and to attribute the kind of anthropomorphic characteristics to a imagined heavenly patriarch.
Have You Thanked God Yet?
With this "fatherly love" in mind, God becomes an intricate part of a theist's mind. Every fiber in the body, every action and every thought must be accountable to this invisible deity.
In the first instance, the footballer thanks God for his last-grasp victory, which, to me, is an oddity. Why didn't God help the opposite team? Perhaps they didn't pray hard enough?
If that is the case, what happens if both warring sides on the pitch pray just as fervently? How does God choose? How about a throw of a dice?
More importantly, what does God, with his purported responsibilities, have anything to do with a mere mortal game? Could the soccer game be part and parcel of his "divine plan"?
In the case of the lucky survivor, it is more understandable, at least from the survivor's point of view, to thank the deity, although the gratitude would have been well placed had it been directed at those who risk life and limb to save his ass.
Most importantly, the survivor has neglected the fact that his deity has thoroughly failed to saved the lives of thousands more. All things considered, the idea that God would have abandoned 2000 lives for the sake of one sole survivor makes the Christian's excuse of "God's ways are not yours" seems somewhat ludicrous and downright cruel.
In both scenarios, one behavioral trait stands out: The natural propensity to attribute positive (sometimes perceived) outcomes to a invisible deity, regardless of the overall picture of the scenario or event.
Thank The Right Person, Not An Imagined Deity
Suffice to say, the need to pay compliments to an imaginary deity is highly irrational. A patient who recovers from a potentially debilitating disease should find more cause to thank the doctor than a mystic, much less an imagined deity.
Thanking divinity for what is largely a mortal business is as bizarre as thanking a chef for removing your tooth. God, as it stands, remains in the realms of supernatural stupidity, and if you really have to thank, thank someone who really has done you a huge favor.