Friday, August 7, 2009

Gobble-planning God.

I see a lot of comments all over the place about how a Christian had a plan for his/her life. A plan that s/he was passionate about, and wanted more than anything else. The plan never occurred, and the Christian ends up doing something different with his/her life.

The Christian then claims that the life s/he now has, the one that God planned, is so much better than anything the Christian attempted to do on his/her own.

How does the Christian know this? How could any of us know this unless we experienced both options, and were able to compare them equally? I can understand someone saying, "Based on the evidence I have available, I can conclude that the life I have now is better than the life I thought I wanted." And I can understand someone using "know" in that context. Yet that isn't the context I get when Christians say that the life they have now is better than the one they planned -- rather, this is absolute, 100%, do not pass doubt-Go certainty.

And they can be that certain. Yet I would say these are the same Christians who would turn around and tell atheists that atheists can't make the claim that there is no God, because atheists haven't been to every corner of the universe, or something like that. So if one can't know there isn't a God unless one has examined every microscopic corner of the universe, one can't say that s/he knows God's plans are better than the original idea, as that person hasn't lived both plans.

Note -- I'm talking about people who were passionate about option A, and are now living option B and claim to do so passionately. I'm not talking about someone who's option A was a dead-end job, and option B is the most exciting job imaginable. Then again, I don't think we can say that anyone ever really plans on having a dead-end job, can we.

6 comments:

Reuben said...

You're right of course, said Christian does not know this. However, I suppose that one might justify such knowledge by a sort of deductive proof. That is, God necessarily has the best possible (or at least feasible) plan for each individual's life granted their circumstances, that a plan that does not take consideration of God's desires cannot be said plan and must therefore be sub-optimal, and so that the Christian's previous plan is by definition inferior to their new God-given plan.

Or something like that. What is annoying is that, even if we grant that the Christian knows such a thing to be true deductively, s/he will sometimes make statements along the lines of understanding the way in which their previous plan was destined for ruin. For example, a relative of mine tells me that she did not get into a certain school, which was kind of "a God thing," so as to humble her, where she would have been too proud had she obtained her degree. No, the reason that you didn't make it into that school because your marks were insufficient, and do not pretend to know otherwise.

Sarge said...

Have you ever noticed how many of the "believer" community seem to regard their life as a sort of a drama?

They are the star (their deity has a somewhat ambivilant place, sometimes top billing, sometimes director/producer/script services)and they follow this "plan" with all its tribulations, joys sorrows. They depart from the script and the "director" has a hissy until they get back on track. "Script changes" are somewhat problematic as the "director" doesn't actually SAY anything.

Others in their lives sometimes aren't "real" if you actually look, just "spear carriers" necessary to the plot.

I've also noticed that this "plan" seems to involve these people being knotheads and pains in the ass to the max.

OneSmallStep said...

Reuban,

**s/he will sometimes make statements along the lines of understanding the way in which their previous plan was destined for ruin.**

The other annoying thing would be that the only method to determine the plan that God would want for a person is determined when a person is at the end of his/her life. Because you can't determine that at 20. It would only be at 80 or something, after spending one's life as a busperson at a restaurant that you could conclusively say what God's plan was.

OneSmallStep said...

Sarge,

**I've also noticed that this "plan" seems to involve these people being knotheads and pains in the ass to the max.**

I think it would be difficult to remain humble when that must merge with the notion that this all-powerful, all-knowing deity who created the universe happens to care for you so much that He oversees every detail in your life, and died for you. Though how something eternal can die is a mystery.

Lorena said...

I agree with Sarge. Religion did make me into a drama Queen with narcissistic tendencies and paranoid delusions (I am so important that everybody is looking at me).

But speaking of the "Perfect Plan," I am one who fell for that. I was going insane trying to figure out if I was following my "perfect" plan or had gone astray.

In reality life is unpredictable and whatever path we take will bring us both sorrow and happiness. Trying to make perfect decisions is so stressful that one often ends up making all the wrong turns out of pure anxiety.

OneSmallStep said...

Lorena,

**But speaking of the "Perfect Plan," I am one who fell for that. I was going insane trying to figure out if I was following my "perfect" plan or had gone astray.**

I proofread a story for a friend, and it had a Christian protagonist. This protagonist ended up making some bad choices, but convinced that each choice was what God wanted her to do -- and with each choice, she did feel a "sense of peace."

Yet, choice C was "obviously" the choice that God wanted her to follow. How did she reach this determination? Because someone stopped her with the first two choices, so obviously, those were the wrong choices.

My reaction: SEriously? THis is the method for determining what God's plan is? That isn't a method, that's interpreting things after the fact! It's incredibly convenient that whatever happens also corresponds to whatever God's plan was. And why couldn't God be clearer in the first place?