February 2, 2019

Fixing America's Dependence on Oil

tuning engine

U.S. presidents from both political parties have acknowledged that our nation's dependence on oil is unhealthy, and they have been doing so for some time. President George W. Bush, a man who few would regard as an environmentalist, expressed this sentiment during his State of the Union Address in 2006. He even made mention of using science (gasp) to advance alternative energy. Even though we may question his sincerity based on his subsequent energy-related budget cuts, he was right to point out that our oil dependence represents a national security concern.

After much thought, I think I may have a solution to our oil problem. Best of all, my solution requires no investment in alternative energy research, no increases to the current energy budget, no consumer sacrifices through conservation, and none of that evil science we keep hearing so much about. Intrigued?

I'd like you to imagine for a second that I manage to get myself invited to a meeting of Energy Department and automaker bigwigs to unveil my bold new solution. The suspense is palpable. Everyone has heard that I have a solution, but no details have yet been revealed. Everyone who is anyone is present. I step onto the stage, and a hush falls over the crowd. My solution, as you have probably guessed by now, involves vehicles powered not by gasoline, not by ethanol, but by...prayer. That's right! Our vehicles will run on "god's love."

Regardless of my audience, I think we can all anticipate how my comments will be received. I'll get laughed out of the room. The more serious question I have for you is why. Could it be that everyone in attendance knows that gods don't really exist even if they aren't ready to admit it publicly due to the stigma around doing so?

If you are a Christian, you probably have a thought running through your head right now along the lines of, "But God doesn't work that way!" Why not? This seems like a feeble excuse. Any being that deserved to be called a god could make this scenario happen. Why has yours chosen not to do so? Could it be that this whole religion thing is just a well-organized charade designed to maintain the social status quo and justify behavior that is otherwise hard to justify?

Based on the supposedly inerrant biblical description of a god in which many Christians claim to believe, we know he is able to power our vehicles. Omnipotence doesn't somehow stop with motor vehicles just because they weren't present in biblical times, does it? I mean, if this god can punish New Orleans for "sin" with a hurricane, you can't believe that he's unable to power my car! Since this is the god who created everything in the world, it is clear that he knows how to power our vehicles. The human brain is vastly more complex than the engine in a car, and I hear constantly from Christians that their god designed our brains. This brings us to the last question: would such a god want to power our cars? Christians will offer their meaningless quotes about their god helping those who help themselves, working in mysterious ways, etc., but most rational individuals see through this. Why would a god who is interested in and cares about the plight of humanity not be willing to lend a hand? This god is quick to punish homosexuality and other "sins," so you'd think that at least the sufficiently devout Christians could get some automotive help.

I believe that my car probably won't run on "god's love" because gods probably don't exist. Christians are forced to argue that what they call "god" can power our cars but chooses not to do so. Why? "God helps those who help themselves." That isn't an answer. "God doesn't involve himself in such matters." Why not? "No man can know the mind of God." None of these absurdities answer the question, do they? Any Christian who laughs at the image of my car being powered by "god's love" is ultimately laughing at his or her own superstitious beliefs. So go ahead and laugh. Now you know how we feel.

This post is loosely based on a post that appeared on Atheist Revolution in 2006. It was re-written in 2019.