Saturday, September 18, 2010

God Will Make Some Magic

During a discussion of the Monica Lewinsky scandal on Politically Incorrect in 1998, current Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell insisted that people should tell the truth at all times and in all circumstances.  When asked by Eddie Izzard whether that applied during World War if Nazis were at your door asking whether you were hiding Jews in your house, she said it did.
I believe if I were in that situation, God would provide a way to do the right thing righteously. . . . I believe that!  You never have to practice deception. God always provides a way out.

No he doesn't.  Bad things happens all the time to people who are trying to do the right thing.  That doesn't mean there is no God.  Nor does it mean that the person to whom the bad thing happens won't be rewarded in the hereafter.   Nor does it mean that doing the right thing wasn't the best choice under the circumstances.  What it means is that rational human beings don't make decisions based on the assumption that God is going to come to the rescue if things go badly.  I suspect that part of the reason we went to war in Iraq was because George Bush was sure that God would make everything work out alright.  

I have no problem with religious people in politics if they have the attitude of the priest who prayed with a high school football team before the game.  One of the players asked him whether God would really help them win the game.  The priest replied, "He will if you block your man."  Religious faith is not a substitute for intelligence and competence.





If you like Sarah Palin, you are going to love Christine O'Donnell. She's prettier and her sentences generally have nouns and verbs in the right places. Unlike Palin who got flustered by softball questions from Katie Couric, O'Donnell regularly went on Bill Maher's show and maintained her composure when bantering with quick-witted intelligent people like Maher, Izzard, and Martin Mull.

12 comments:

  1. While the commitment to honesty is commendable, even the Bible appears to condone deception at times (such as Rahab harboring the spies). Sometimes Christians value moral absolutes to a greater degree than that found in scripture.

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  2. Even if moral absolutes exist, we are still finite beings and our understanding of those moral absolutes is necessarily incomplete. I can respect someone choosing to be honest in a situation where it is not obviously prudent because they think that is what God wants if they are prepared to accept the responsibility for the consequences of that choice. I have no respect for someone who is going to abdicate responsibility if things turn out badly with "It must have been God's will."

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  3. But what about mental reservation?? This is what my T.A.C. alumni coworkers used to tell me was the out for lying. It's ok to lie in the right circumstances so long as you use mental reservation. ie if a thief is at the door asking a child if his parents are home when they aren't it is ok for him to say "Yes they are home..." so long as he follows it up by thinking "as far as you know."

    whatever gets you through the day right?

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  4. They were certainly gifted in their mental gymnastics, but I don't see the point.

    I don't remember the age at which I stopped putting my kids in the after school program run by the park district and let the stay at home alone for the hour or so until I got home, but I think that I always told them that it was nobody's business whether their parents so they should say I was there but unavailable.

    It seems to me that teaching your kids to think that way carries a lot of risk. They might be asked the question in a way where the correct fudging procedure is not obvious and, as a result, disclose information that you want them to conceal. They will also feel much more comfortable fudging their answers when you are trying to get the truth out of them.

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  5. I see.

    So God will allow 6 million Jews to be killed, yet will always take a time out to find a way to allow Christine O'Donnell to tell the truth.

    I think God should look at his 'To do' list and revise the priorities.

    There are some excellent books on time management he can buy which will help him fit in saving children from malaria in the spare moments he has between micro-managing Christine O'Donnell's utterances.

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  6. GAAAAH! Shut Up Christine! How did you ever win the primary?

    Eddie Izzard rocks.

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  7. "What it means is that rational human beings don't make decisions based on the assumption that God is going to come to the rescue if things go badly."

    Not accepting such a good insight is what makes so much theology bad. Great point. I would add that God could come to O'Donnell's rescue but he doesn't have to. It could be that God has a good reason for letting loved ones go through some difficult snizznit.

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  8. "What it means is that rational human beings don't make decisions based on the assumption that God is going to come to the rescue if things go badly."

    Not accepting such a good insight is what makes so much theology bad. Great point. I would add that God could come to O'Donnell's rescue but he doesn't have to. It could be that God has a good reason for letting loved ones go through some difficult snizznit.

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  9. "What it means is that rational human beings don't make decisions based on the assumption that God is going to come to the rescue if things go badly."

    Not accepting such a good insight is what makes so much theology bad. Great point. I would add that God _could_ come to O'Donnell's rescue but he doesn't have to. It could be that God has a good reason for letting loved ones go through some difficult snizznit.

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  10. 'It could be that God has a good reason for letting loved ones go through some difficult snizznit.'

    And this alleged god could have a good reason for deceiving humanity about the existence of Heaven, much as parents have a good reason for deceiving children about the existence of Santa Claus.

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  11. Since the God I know of doesn't lie or deceive, Mr. Carr, then I don't have to agree with your alleged god hypothetical. It is a non sequitur unless perhaps you mean to say that the Creator I am speaking of is evil for having good reasons for letting bad things happen to what he has created. In which case, I'd have to wonder what you mean by "evil."

    Rahab lied, but she was never commended for doing so, rather she was commended for her "friendly welcome" of the spies and putting her lot in with fearing God having heard what he had done with Moses and the Red Sea. Rahab, like the rest of us immoral humanity, was accepted in spite of her lies and prostitution not because of it. (see the source: Joshua chap 2, and Hebrews 11:31). Having said that, I honestly have almost no idea what the best way to solve the dilemma of harboring Jews during the Nazi occupation would be. I would probably lie somehow but wouldn't call that good for having done that because the ends never justify the means. I too would hope for a way out provided by God as he is oft to do for me, though I probably just as often choose not to take it.

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  12. ERIC
    Since the God I know of doesn't lie or deceive, Mr. Carr, then I don't have to agree with your alleged god hypothetical.

    CARR
    How do you know your imaginary god would never lie to you, when Christians preach that this imaginary god has killed people?

    Did your alleged god say he would never lie to you?

    Perhaps it was lying....

    Of course, if you doubt that your god tells you the truth, it will kill you for doubting that it is perfectly good.

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