December 19, 2010

Take Your Hand Off the Steering Wheel...

driving blindIt seems that nearly everyone I went to high school with all those years ago grew up to be evangelical Christians. I never would have guessed it from what I remember of those days. Religion was largely a private matter that nobody discussed. Fast forward to the present day, and I cannot look at Facebook without being bombarded with Christianspeak. Some is clearly good-intentioned and can easily be dismissed as mere silliness. Other instances strike me as truly bizarre and possibly dangerous. Case in point: "Sometimes you just need to take your hand off the steering wheel and let God drive."

Where do they come up with this drivel? More importantly, why is it that they behave as if they have said something profound? If you are going to entrust your safety, the safety of your family, and the safety of the rest of us on the road to gods, please let me know first so I can stay home that day!

Of course, the average Christian spouting such nonsense is not literally planning to let gods steer her car. But she probably also fails to recognize her words for the extreme fatalism they reflect. The metaphor of letting go and letting mythical beings move you about is about as fatalistic as it gets.

Christians are so fond of asking we atheists why we bother to get up in the morning without a god-belief to drive us. Perhaps the better question would be why any Christian who clings to such a fatalistic worldview would bother to do anything at all. Why not just sit there until gods move you?

Such a belief system strikes me as potentially dangerous. By absolving oneself of all responsibility, one becomes free from constraints. By letting go and waiting for gods to to act, one virtually guarantees that one's preferences will be equated with the divine and become that which cannot be questioned. This is precisely the mindset which has allowed countless Christians to commit atrocities while believing that they were doing the work of their preferred god.

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