The following is an article from my blog 'The Deist Fool' that I wrote a while back. I added some more info and personal commentary.
Andy Sachs: That's not what I... no, that was different. I didn't have a choice.
Miranda Priestly: No, no, you chose. You chose to get ahead. You want this life. Those choices are necessary. - The Devil Wears Prada
This conversation between Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep's characters come at the end of the film, The Devil Wears Prada. Hathaway's character (Andy Sachs) is responding to a comment made by Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of a famous fashion magazine (Streep's character), who said that Andy was becoming a lot like her. The quotes above are Andy defending against the statement, and Miranda saying in a hatshell, you picked this path. I find this similar to what Christians call "God's Will".
For those who have no clue what "God's Will" is, it can be summed up like this (if you are a Christian, this would what you would probably say).
You see, God has a plan for all of us, even YOU! He knows when you'll be born, who you will marry, what your job will be, who will be your neighbor, he knows everything! Don't bother changing what you want to do in life, because God will come along and change it! And if you don't follow it, you are going to suffer and perish in hell!
Now, I think God's will is a load of crap made up by the church for many, many reasons. Namely because of the facts that:
- God's Will is used to make people in non-desirable positions feel special and that they need to stay in their position, no matter how bad their situation.
- God's Will encourages people who even passingly consider religious life that it is a calling and that it should not ignored at any cost.
- Ministers use this to lure people in to these prophet events and crap for the sake of money.
- Many use God's Will to justify for their actions and gain support, even if the action or object of support is outright wrong.
1. God's Will is used to make people in non-desirable positions feel special and that they need to stay in their position, no matter how bad their situation.
The church relies namely on the believer's faith (belief without evidence) to keep them in their religion. Many of the church's believers have either mundane average lives, are miserable, and/or have little to nothing (family, freedom via jail/military, debt, etc.) To them, them hearing that they'll do great things or that God has special plans for them gives hope and meaning to their lives. Now, I'm cool and fine with giving people hope, but it becomes more of a "God put you there for a reason and you should stay there".
If "God's Will" doesn't exist, then my life has no purpose?
The answer is no.It doesn't encourage people to branch out and follow their dreams, to take a risk and view life from another side. It says that God put them in that position for a reason and they need to keep with it. It's like what you tell a "mentally-challenged person" to keep them loyal at a job at McDonald's. You say to them that they are going a great job, you are proud, have a great future in the restaurant, etc. You don't really mean this 100%, but your trying to keep them encouraged. Knowing that they are mentally challenged, they probably won't question what was said to them because of the fact that you gave them HOPE.
2. God's Will encourages people who even passingly consider religious life that it is a calling and that it should not ignored at any cost.
The church loves its priests. Is it because that they are loving and kind people that care about their community? Is it because of the fact that the church is the most loving body of people? Or is it because of the fact that they are so knowledgeable about everything? Well, no. The reason why the church loves it priests are for one reason and one reason only; they do all the dirty work for the church while the pope and higher official sit on their asses doing nothing of use to the world. The church gets whole credit while the priests get treated like crap and no credit.
I had an experience similar to that in my leadership program that my school has. The stated purpose of the leadership program is to "welcome new freshman into the school community and help them with their problems". Now, when they first presented us with the leadership program as freshman, I loved the people that I was grouped with, especially the upperclassmen that led it. Of course, naturally, I was excited when it came time that I could be in leadership. When I finally got into leadership, it was nothing as I expected.
I was placed in a group with mainly intelligent people (all but two of them were in AP courses), which made me feel out of place, and the one leading this group was the head of campus ministries, an old lady who basically questioned my intelligence (or lack thereof..) on numerous occasions. What about the freshman? Well, only about two grew to like me. The others either made fun of me, or basically just didn't really care for my existence.
Now, how does this exactly relate to the topic at hand? Well, when we weren't helping freshman, we were doing the things that, well, needed to be done. Basically, we did all the administration's dirty work. That included putting up posters, making little carts so a wreath can stand on it, making a big poster of colleges that no one will look at and so on. Yet, the administration blamed us whenever something went wrong and threatened to give us hell, despite the fact that we were giving up our free period to put up with their whining.
It's sorta like what the priests go through, except they are clueless to what goes on. Whenever a person leaves a church and it has to do with sex, we go blame the priests. Whenever the church community doesn't like the flowers in a flowerbed, they go whine and partially blame the priest for that. The thing is that priests give their own lives practically for their faith, and all they get in return is whining. They do all the dirty work that comes with running the church. But many are blind to what's really going on because they think they are doing Jesus and God "justice". They don't see that all their doing is leading the blind into a ditch of narrow-viewed thinking.
3. Ministers use this to lure people in to these prophet events and crap for the sake of money.
Although this mainly applies to TV evangelicals, it comes down to the same principle that a man named George Carlin stated:
And the invisible man has a list of 10 specific things he doesn't want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you.Now, recently the other night I was watching BET at two-threeish in the morning (when its most entertaining) when I came across Peter Popoff and his miracle manna! He promised that everything going wrong in your life will get better if you eat this manna.
He loves you.
He loves you and he needs money.
The commercial starts with numerous amounts of money flashing on screen. 200, 250, 700, 314,564! The narrator then goes on to say that the lord can bless you financially if you do as this Peter Popoff said when you received this "miracle manna" that he was given to him by "God". What follows are testimonies of people cured by his manna, both at his healing events at different Airport strip Marriott Hotels and letters sent to him.
Now, this is starting to sound fishy. There are kids suffering in Africa, and "God" is going to give "Peter Popoff" the formula to manna so it can help Americans. Big, lazy, fat Americans. Oh no, he's not going to help those who are actually suffering in places where suffering is common. He's gonna help the Americans, who are far better of than those kids in Africa.
Of course, he brings up you making a kind and prayerful donation. Now, every minister asks for money. And when I mean every minister, I mean EVERY MINISTER. There are some who legitimately need the money. Even then, I question their need of it. If the church can afford to give the pope his own popemobile and take care of Vatican city, then why can't they afford to keep a church running?
How does "God's Will" figure into all this? Simple.
The minister says that it was God's Will that you are in this church and it was God' Will that he was there. He then states that he needs money to keep the church alive. Everyone donates.
What about the people like Peter Popoff and Benny Hinn? Well, they say that it was, guess... God's Will that you tuned in to this channel at this time. After an hour of "miracles", they say that the... they mean God needs money and urge you to donate! Come on, pick up that phone and give!
4. Many use God's Will to justify for their actions and gain support, even if the action or object of support is outright wrong.
With the nomination of Sarah Palin as McCain's VP, Christianity has been put into the spotlight a lot more. In fact Palin is putting the election in "God's Hands". During an interview with Focus on the Family, she stated the following:
"I know at the end of the day putting this in God's hands, the right thing for America will be done, at the end of the day on Nov. 4."
Just about every televangelist and Joe the Plumber that has airtime has been talking about how Palin is a "Godsend" and how she'll make the US a Christian nation (although it never was). They then to continue to say how Obama will ruin us and charge you higher taxes, and how he will bring Armageddon.
Now, I'm no Politics-nut, but something does not seem right. And from what I have seen, my gut is right in this situation. Palin has used government dollars for her evangelical trips to see people such as Billy Graham.
Now, I turn eighteen in July and I start paying taxes. If there is one thing I will not fund, it is Palin's Jebus trips. Think about it for a second. I'm fine with paying taxes to care of government expenses, but I'm not funding Palin's strengthening of faith.
Her use of government funds are questionable as it is, but yet everyone is endorsing her! In fact, she plans to do "God's Will" in office!
If "God's Will" doesn't exist, then my life has no purpose?
The answer is no.
What I learned from my current life experiences is that only you are responsible for what happens in your life. Not "God", not Peter Popoff, not me, only you.