Believing that God will favor us if we are well behaved is a powerful way for us to shape our children’s thoughts, beliefs and behavior. Over time this fantasy brings us to believe that God is on our side in wars, and also that ‘He’ favors our sports teams. It doesn’t matter if our opponents also think God is on their side; we still believe and trust that our God will favor us, favor our nation, our family, and our team. Making God an intentional entity creates strange ironies. Did the holocaust happen for a ‘divine’ reason? Why did God make the Black Death, or the Potato Famine?
Christians make no bones about asking God for favors and if any of their wishes come true, they thank God and praise ‘Him’ to the skies. Even if two hundred thousand people die in a Tsunami, there will be some survivors who still thank God for allowing them to live another day. Does that mean that those who died were sinners, or just didn’t believe in their God with enough conviction, or didn’t pray enough? If one of our own family members survives an automobile crash, even though four others perish, we thank God! What kind of a God is this that we are thanking?
If we lose someone in a tragic accident or to an illness, we have clichés like: “It was just his or her time to go,” or “God must have needed him/her more than we do,” or we say that: “He/she is in a better place.” We rationalize these clichés to ourselves, as we seek comfort for ourselves and others who are grieving, and we feel obliged to forgive God so that we might avoid ‘His’ wrath.
Einstein3 was very clear about the position of science is these matters, writing: “There was one religious concept that science could not accept; a deity who could meddle at whim in the events of his creation.” Einstein reminded us that that our fate is not determined by some God rolling the dice.