Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thank God for [Fill in the blank]

Recently, one of my wife's aunts flew back to the Philippines for a family reunion.  She posted about her arrival on Facebook and proceeded to give thanks to God for safely reaching her destination.

Me, being the wiseass that I am, couldn't help but respond by commenting "Don't leave out the pilot and the air traffic controllers."  I also added a smiley face to keep things in a humorous vein.

But seriously though, why didn't the flesh and blood human beings who actively participated in the flight of her plane from takeoff to landing get any credit from her?  What specifically did God do to ensure the safe arrival of her flight that could not be accounted for by the engineers who designed the plane, the mechanics who built and maintained it, the pilots who flew it, and the air traffic controllers who helped guide its departure and landing?  Did God surround the plane with a magic shield to keep it from being struck by lightning?  Or did he prevent a defective part from giving out during the flight?

And of course, for the occasional flight that does crash or encounters some other difficulty, was God momentarily distracted, or, more disturbingly, is this supposedly omniscient and omnipotent being actively deciding what planes will reach their destinations and which will meet with disaster?

Then there was a Facebook friend who wrote of a family member who faced some serious medical issue.  She did not elaborate on what it was, and of course, it was indelicate to ask.  Fortunately, as per her recent update, the relative is doing better.  But this friend added that God had answered her prayers.

Would the relative have recovered in the absence of her prayers, or would he be dead by now?  If he had undergone medical treatment, where was the thanks for the medical professionals? 

Being the moderate atheist that I am, I can live with people thanking God for this or that thing, so long as they give some props to the people who played a role in helping to bring about the desired end.