Back to Get Rich Slowly. The show runners there are auditioning some new writers, which has meant some interesting new viewpoints have come out. And with new viewpoints come new readers/commenters, even on pieces by the staff writers. One comment to a recent piece by Donna Freedman flipped my pissy switch and, while I did not bother responding to it, someone else did by posting a link to this piece on Learned Helplessness, from You Are Not So Smart: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2009/11/11/learned-helplessness/
The comment that pissed me off was basically “I learned that I can’t control everything so I just roll with the punches and trust in God, because I make mistakes and He doesn’t.”
The essay I’ve linked basically says everything I would need to say on that, but that has never stopped me from saying more. This is just one, though perhaps the most common, rationalization for giving up. “Well, it’s in God’s hands.”
God is not your personal trainer, your personal finance guru, or your home inspector. God is not watching your every move waiting to stop you before you walk, texting all the while, in front of a car. God is not checking to see whether or not you are surreptitiously using condoms or the BCP instead of honoring his (fictional) directive to Be Fruitful and Multiply. God (if s/he exists at all, which as you no doubt surmise I tend to disbelieve) has a lot more to do than pay attention to every stupid human on this small planet.
God is also not concerned with whether our public policy is in line with what some gang of self-appointed religious leaders decided to write down, 1500 to 6500 years ago, as guidelines for running a Bronze Age tribal society. God is not going to pull our country, or our world, out of any human-precipitated morass (it was human power that won World War II, it was human ingenuity that found the polio vaccine, and it is human intelligence that has so far kept any nation from starting a nuclear war).
“God watches over the sparrow.”
People who won’t make an effort because “God will provide” deserve whatever crap comes to them, in my jaundiced opinion.
If at the end of my days I find myself moving down that clichéd tunnel of light and find myself in a Presence, I trust that simply following the central directive of each major religion (i.e., The Golden Rule, modern translation: don’t fuck with other people, mind your own business, and be nice) will give me a pass. If not … oh well. Nothing I can do about it at that point.
In the meantime, I will continue to believe this one simple rule: God (or nature, or fate, or karma, or other people) will help those who help themselves.