“HELP!”

Question from Sammi:
Who would an atheist go to with problems and how would one have the assurance that everything will be okay?

Answer by SmartLX:
Why does everything have to be okay? Maybe it won’t. Being assured that everything is okay when it may not be true is not productive, and could be dangerous if you’re plunging into something risky. It’s when you’re not sure things will be okay that you try your darnedest to improve the situation.

Some false comfort can of course be beneficial, for example to young frightened children. Fortunately, that’s what parents, families and friends are for. Reassurance doesn’t have to come all the way from God before anyone will believe it; any trusted person or authority figure will do in a pinch. I often reassure my wife and vice versa, and it makes us both feel better.

Problems need to be taken to those who can solve them. Fortunately again, there are a lot of people in this world who can solve problems. Not all problems of course, but between the government, the police, doctors, the fire service, engineers, teachers, parents, switched-on children and everyone else, many of the problems in this world are well within our own power to address.

By contrast, asking God to solve a problem has been likened (by Terry Pratchett) to “pleading with thunderstorms”. It’s unfair or it’s pointless; either it’s something which can be solved by people, in which case you’re just externalising their abilities and robbing them of the credit, or it’s something which is beyond human control, in which case it’s probably part of God’s plan anyway, so why bother Him with your petty little desires? (You can thank George Carlin for that particular thought – he starts talking about the plan after 6 minutes, but be careful because that link is not safe for work or school.)

One thought on ““HELP!””

  1. For things in your control, its probably good to not have assurances. Keeps us straight and stops us from taking silly risks and hoping that some heavenly father/ mother/ energy in the sky will help us out.
    Makes one think about one’s actions, the consequences and act a bit more wisely.

    For things that are out of our control, our struggle to control them is … well … “eternal”.
    Doctors’ struggle to control disease for e.g., or society’s struggle to control criminality, prejudice etc. God belief / disbelief is irrelevant to the struggle. It may make some people stronger and better face these problems, it may make some people weaker (the sort that ask “why all this if there is god” ) and less productive. Practicality about such matters and acceptance are probably the best ways out.

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