A few days ago, I was at work, walking through the power plant and making mental lists of everything I had to accomplish. I’m pretty intent on this task as I pass by the hoisting area, more or less an open shaft penetrating the entire height of the building with a hoist at the top to raise material to whatever floor one chooses. The floor was congested due to the large amount of unhoisted material so I had to pass close to the shaft to get by. I was no more than thirty feet past the narrowest point when a ringing crash shook the area behind me. I turned and looked at the complete chaos, and my mind still blank, was just about to continue on my way when my brain belatedly made sense of the images before me. Somehow, and I’m going to leave it at that, the hoist rigging broke and a 1200 lb. piece of metal fell 200 feet and smashed through the area I had just passed through. Wow!
Here’s the weird thing, not once did I jump or even have my heart beat faster. Now, I’d like to say it was courage or a steady hand, but the truth is, I was just so intent on my thoughts that I just never realized what was happening until it was all over. No lightning reflexes. No quick thinking in an emergency. Just standing and staring as shit flew everywhere. Dumb-assed-deer-in-the-headlights reflexes are not highly recommended as survival tools
Do you know what they would have called me 10,000 years ago in a more natural setting? Lunch! A sabertooth would have been digesting my liver before I’d ever have realized what was up. I’d have been an evolutionary dead end and would be even now if everything had happened five-seconds sooner. Reality can be rather harsh on us dreamers.
I’m sure a fundamentalist would read far more into this than I will. It is plain that pure random chance is all it was. A few of my friends who happen to be believers have remarked how God must have been watching out for me, or even better was firing a shot across my bow as a warning against my wickedness, or the best one of all is the person who implied that, perhaps, God just missed.
These were all comments made in lighthearted fun by people whom I like and respect greatly, but as their pet atheist, I couldn’t just allow these comments to slide then or now. So let’s address them in order:
One, God protecting me. Let me get this straight. God in all his infinite wisdom is going to save me, a lowly atheist from destruction. On the face of it, this seems quite generous, but when I look at the vast numbers of people, mostly believers, who he does not save every single day it becomes patently absurd. He’ll save my life but throw 200,000 Haitians into a full-scale holocaust, many dying in prolonged and terrible ways, and all of them believers. Seems unlikely or at least unjust. Then again, this is a god known for injustice.
As to a warning, he should well know that there is a better chance of him turning Buddhist than of me converting to Christianity. A real god would know this. Omnipotent? Bah!
Which brings me perfectly to the third item, him aiming at me and missing. Let me express this in all the eloquence for which I am known. What a bunch of shit! Maybe it’s a bit of a mystery to you people out there in Internet Land, but it’s a well established fact that I’m a fat bastard. Now, I don’t mean that I have a few extra pounds; I mean Fat Bastard! With twice the cross-sectional area, I should make an easy target even for a non-divinity. Omnipotent, my ass. Impotent is more fitting.
Although all these comments were meant and taken as jokes, there is a common theme that irks me about all of them: the idea that God has a plan. You’ve all heard it before, “It’s all according to God’s plan.” Don’t you find it fascinating how God’s infinitely wise and mysterious plan exactly mimics random chance? That’s so clever! WTF! Why is it that “God’s plan” and “shit happens” have synonymous meanings? Even more interestingly, why is God’s plan always brought up when something bad happens. When some Saudi prince gains yet another quintillion dollars through American oil addiction, I never hear how that’s God’s plan. But let me be maimed by a runaway truck, or crippled by a fall off my roof, or even anally raped by a mentally ill grizzly and, you guessed it, it’s God’s mighty plan.
Well, I say to hell with his plan. If that’s all the better his organizational capabilities are, he’s going to spend quite some time chronically unemployed! I have a two year old neighbor whose plans are infinitely wiser that this crapola. Please!
By the evidence so far in the Bible, there are only three choices involving the entity of God: cruel, impotent or nonexistent. Go ahead and pick one!
Psst! It’s the third one!