There is a bunch to be thankful for in life, especially from my perspective living in Britain. We get to complain about things that although are justifiable, are not at crisis point by worldwide standards. It can be easy to forget that when standing in a long bus stop line in the rain or waking up to an inbox crammed with junk mail, that there are literally billions who would go to great lengths to get that very privilege. Watching the news helps with this, personally. It’s a constant reminder of the true issues. But gratitude when we are feeling thankful often lands into the wrong hands. Very often.
Not too long ago I was involved in an overwhelmingly Christian conversation with a mix of family and their close Christian friends. It was shortly after my fathers death, just shy of three months to the day of his passing. I decided to be present for two reasons. Firstly, I was a grateful guest at their home for a week (my dads side of the family) whilst visiting from Newcastle. Secondly, I was intrigued as to how conversation would go and what would be the topics of discussion. One point of interest was discussing how ever present pain and sadness is despite the presence of God. What has been blatantly apparent when observing services, listening to prayers or just simply reading a Facebook status is how easy it is to sing Gods praise. More so the fact we sing Gods praises when there is no real hallmark anywhere to be found of his work. During the conversation God was thanked for the NHS. ‘We have the NHS when we are sick, and we thank God for that.’ This wasn’t the only example but it’s sufficient to get the point across.
If the NHS gets praise, God should not. This doesn’t mean additional praise cannot be given within or around the NHS, but giving it to a deity (God in this case) is bewildering. If I was in a similar position of power and wisdom, I have no idea why I would need to set up a service to relieve a problem I caused? I don’t go down the street punching people in the face, at the same time having a box of tissues at the ready incase someone happens to produce a nosebleed from their unsurprisingly surprised face. And I most definitely do not expect praise for my considerations.
What really grinds my gears is the complete lack of thought people put into this. It is sheer common sense. It is so obvious it shouldn’t even need addressing. But it does, because that obviousness is oh-so often put to one side in the world around us.
I also recall a moment in 2013 on Facebook that I feel the need to vent. Whilst scrolling down my feed, there was a particular post, remembered a lot more vividly than any post I have stumbled upon prior to or since. It is inbedded in memory, thankfully, reminding me what stupid things we can post to the world within a matter of seconds. It was an instance that made me realise really how easy it is to construct (a very generous term) truly stupid comments and get likes/ comments of support.
This is the post. In all its glory.
‘Daddy bought me a new pick up today. God is good ALL the time!’
I would like to hear what others make of this. It is most certainly simple and effective. ‘Simple’ in the not so flattering sense and effective because I am blogging about the damn thing. I did send a message of retort, to no avail. I wasn’t bombarded with messages supporting how wrong I was. Of course not, it was a stupid post to begin with. But no messages threatening eternal damnation either. A win win I suppose. But since then I have refrained from replying to such posts no matter how absurd they sound, preferring to put the time into blogging and actual discussions.
These posts are very frequent throughout the web- Youtube, Twitter, WordPress- all hubs for the rational but in equal measure, the not so. Although faith based praise is hardly threatening it certainly preserves the belief that we should throw about thank you’s to false deities with full conviction but little thinking. Your dad just bought you a new truck, probably out of hard work and savings. Why not thank someone a little closer to home? Cut out the middle man. It doesn’t help that the only people agreeing online are the ones who have the opportunity to do so, where the masses without access to such technology are silent.
How very ignorant to believe that receiving a gift of high value is work of a higher power, especially with over three billion people living on less than $2.50 a day*. Religion once again preserving the illusion that the world is perfect under Gods governing.
After all we won’t be seeing a contradictory tweet from a poverty stricken community any time soon.
*Further facts and sources on https://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-global-poverty#