As a continuation of my previous post, "Thank Gawd for Hurricane Gustav!", I would like to perhaps expound on this conundrum of thanking God for events or phenomena which are beneficial to the faithful (though not necessary to those who have failed to benefit from the phenomena, or worst, suffered at the hands of a supposedly benevolent God, provided, of course, God is existent).
The Logic Behind the Myth of Divine Intervention
As homo sapiens, our brains have involved to harbor a tendency to deduce patterns in otherwise random phenomena. From attempting to decipher faces out of crumbling crusts of old bread (a phenomenon known otherwise as pareidolia) to unraveling random comets in a bid to relate to our mundane fates (a process known as astrology), us humans are apt to attach some level of reasoning and rationale of natural phenomena into our fragile, mortal lives. Clueless to our existence from the day we are born, it is an inane, all-too-human instinct that perhaps leads us to discover our roles in this little green-blue planet of ours.
Being part and parcel of Mother Nature's minions, it is important for us to recognize this irrevocable fact: That in the survival of the fittest, he or she who can adapt most efficiently to the environment has a longer shot at survival and ultimately the passing of the gene pool. In that sense, natural selection favors those who can find a connection to the environment, either through changing the environment to suit our needs, or vice versa.
Humans tend to relate our non-anthropomorphic surroundings with a more personified being: We have no problems, for example, calling a ship or a nation "she", or eulogizing the beauties of Mother Nature as if she was a beauty queen. This inane tendency to relate things and objects at another more intimate level may perhaps explain our need to thank an imagined deity in the cosmos.
Praising Gawd for the Good Times......
When religion is concerned, all too often, it is more or less utilized as an aphrodisiac of sorts: People look to this cosmic Godfather as a "feel-good", all benevolent deity who really gives a shit to our total well-being and happiness. Strike lottery, & witness the lucky participant sink to his freaking knees and thanking the high heavens (There is, after all, no sense to thank his or her good luck on anything other than random statistics). Score a goal in a football game, and watch in ecstatic awe as the footballer unveils a white T-shirt underneath his jersey that spells "Praise God for the Goal" (Wonder what he would do if he was on the losing end.....Guess God's task is a lot tougher than we thought!!!). A patient who recovers from a debilitating disease is more likely to thank the divine for his prolonged mortality than the doctor and the medication that has contributed to the patient's dramatic recovery.
In sum, religious people are apt to thank the deity for the good deals, partly because as humans, we like to find some meaning, some connecting feature that binds us to the dealings and wheelings of the environment around us.
But What About the Bad Times???
While it is easy to remember the good stuff that happens from time to time, more often than not, shit happens, & the sad truth is, life is not always a bed of beautiful red roses.
We all know how it feels like to flunk a test paper, and exam, or lose a soccer match. Crash a car in the middle of a busy street, and watch how instantly many so-called pious folks are apt to curse in the name of some perceived deity (Jebus fucking Christ!!!!) Shit happens, and when things don't go well for us, it becomes almost inevitable that as humans, we would often find something or someone to blame for our misfortunes.
Some shitty events however, can be more dramatically detrimental and in most cases contribute to irreversible loss: The loss of a pet cat, a loved one through disease and death just puts a dent to our miserable lives, and is a stark reminder that all will not be spared in the cycle of life and death.
& when shit does really hit the fan, how will the average religious dud react to their loss?
While reactions may vary, the most common excuse to divine bullshit are as follows:
1. Gawd has unleashed this unfortunate episode/disaster to test our faith in him (Try using this excuse to a victim of the 2005 tsunami.....sure is a comforting thought to 300,000 victims who had their "faiths" tested and perished along with their faiths).
2. The Sin Factor: For example, some religious leaders blamed the gays for causing all manner of disasters, including the 911 terrorist attack and Hurricane Katrina. (When all else fails, it is often good to blame the gays, the atheists and other hedonistic members of society. Hey, someone has to be the fall guy!!!)
3. The devil did it (Great excuse if you are a reformed gay, say, like Ted Haggard????).
While Christians and monotheistic folks are ever ready to credit the Cosmic Godfather with Creation, they sometimes get wishy-washy when it comes to attributing the bad things that happen from time to time. It is as if, for all the omnipotence of God, he doesn't seem quite capable of producing nary an ounce of evil in his portfolio, even if the bible or some religious book might say otherwise.
Thanking Gawd for Shit
The conundrum of "Thank Gawd for the Good Times" shit is clear: Religious people who wish to voice out their gratitude towards the unseen deity should acknowledge that yes, Gawd can and will not hesitate to unleash death, destruction and terror upon his faithful as and when he sees fit.
& being piously faithful theists, wouldn't it be the solemn duty of these fools to thank Gawd for all the bad stuff that happens? The next time you flunk your exams, or lose your job, stop for a moment and think about why God wants you to fare so badly, and perhaps, in a sadistic sort of way, you, as a religious folk, should thank God for this irrevocable shit that has been inflicted upon you by this erstwhile deity.
Or better yet, thank God for the really big shit that happens from time to time: Hurricanes, Tusnamis, earthquakes, starvation and a whole multitude of death-inducing phenomena that is bound to delight the blood lust of this invisible deity (As one atheist pointed out to me, Gawd of the OT has a fixation with blood and animal sacrifices, but incidentally has no stomach for vegetarian ones).
In sum, don't just thank God for the rolling good times. Thank Gawd for Shit!
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"