Don’t Thank God, Thank Me

tnt good behaviorMy wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the TNT show, Good Behavior, starring Michelle Dockery as Letty Raines and Juan Diego Botto as Javier Pereira. It took us awhile to get used to Dockery’s drug-using, booze-swilling, criminal character. Dockery played the prim and proper Lady Mary Crawley on Downton Abbey, so playing Letty Raines was a huge departure from her previous role. As far as Botto is concerned, Polly would like to run off with him to the Bahamas.

During one of the recent Good Behavior episodes, Letty helps a recently separated woman break into her estranged husband’s home so she could reclaim her belongings. Letty used her criminal lock-picking skills to easily gain access to the home. The woman, amazed by Letty’s “skills,” thanked God for the opened door. Letty replied, Don’t thank God, thank me!

Tens of millions of Americans go through life thanking the Christian God for the good that comes their way. In their minds, goodness flows from God’s hands, not man’s, and all the praise, honor, and glory belong to him. Have you ever spent significant time helping someone, only to have them dismiss your labor with a big THANK YOU, GOD? As a Christian, I knew that I mustn’t ever take credit for my good works. Doing so was prideful. According to the Bible, I was a loathsome, vile, worthless human being, and without God in my life, I lacked meaning, purpose, and direction. The Bible also told me that even after I was saved/born-again/redeemed, the only reason for the good in my life was Jesus. If it wasn’t for the precious, awesome blood of Jesus, my life would have no value. Jesus was my go-between, standing between an angry, vengeful God and the saved sinner Bruce Gerencser. If Jesus ever stood aside, his Father would crush me and throw my sorry ass in hell.

praise god good weatherSunday after Sunday, Evangelicals gather together to prostrate themselves before a narcissistic God and thank him for his awesomeness (in many ways, this God is like Donald Trump). Worship songs are sung in masturbatory fashion, repeatedly praising God for his goodness. Testimonies, given by Christians, praise and thank Jesus for every good thing that has happened in their lives, right down to them f-i-n-a-l-l-y having a bowel movement. Think I am kidding? You need to spend time listening to praise and testimony time at the local Baptist church. The minutest details of goodness are ascribed to God. Never mind that you drank two glasses of fiber drink and swallowed four Dulcolax tablets. It was God, not the drink and tablets that caused your BM. Silly? Sure, but this illustrates the absurdity of the notion that every good thing comes from the Christian God.

Former Christians often were brought to unbelief by daring to question whether God really was materially involved in their lives. I know for me personally, one of the reasons for my deconversion was the fact that almost all the answered prayers I attributed to God were explainable by purely human means. And the handful of events that couldn’t be explained this way? These were not enough to keep me believing. As I scanned the history of my life, I concluded that virtually every event and circumstance — good, bad, and indifferent — could be traced back to myself or some other human.

Christians often thank God when their health problems are made better. Praise Jesus! God healed me, countless Evangelicals have said, never considering whether such claims are true. Most of the physical healing in the world today comes not from the hands of God. It is doctors, nurses, medical technicians, medications, and life-saving procedures which should be thanked. Think about your last surgery. Is there any reason to give God credit for its success? What did God do to warrant such praise?

atheist-thanksgiving

I am a big believer in giving credit to whom credit is due. That’s the point Letty Raines was making when she said, Don’t thank God, thank me! While it is certainly proper for all of us to have humility, there’s nothing wrong with us expecting to be thanked when we help others. Polly loves to cook. She will spend hours preparing scrumptious family meals. Imagine if no one ever thanked her for her labors. Imagine if we thanked Jesus for the meal instead of Polly. Why, I suspect that the next Thanksgiving meal will feature Banquet turkey dinners and no pie.

Think, for a moment, about all the good that has come your way this past week. Was it God who did these things for you? Of course not. It was your spouse, children, friends, or other human beings. Everything that happens in our lives can be traced back to hands that can be easily seen.  There’s no need for any of us to say, Thank you, God. Instead, thank those who did well by you. Be grateful for the labor and kindness. As we traverse the plain of life, let’s give credit to whom credit is due. Thank you to everyone who helped this week to make my life better. And God, if you are reading this post, please know if you ever really do something good, something that alone can be attributed to you, you can bet your last dollar that I will say, to you, THANKS!

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

print

Subscribe to the Daily Post Digest!

Sign up now and receive an email every day containing the new posts for that day.

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Powered by Optin Forms

7 Comments

  1. Kittybrat

    I’m saying thanks to YOU, Bruce! Your writing and photos are of great joy to me. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. ObstacleChick

    Thank you as always, Bruce, for your well thought out writing!

    Sometimes I wish there was a god to whom to pray in times of troubke, one who could if he so desired make things better. But obviously there isn’t or the world wouldn’t be such an effed up place sometimes.

    And it is an important reminder to thank those who are doing a good job. Period.

    Reply
  3. Karen the rock whisperer

    I was a Good Catholic Child, and was raised to thank God for all blessings. But somehow that didn’t diminish the skill or effort of the people involved. To achieve, say, healing, you needed good medical professionals, good drugs, help from family and friends…but all of that was only going to happen if God willed it. So it was important to acknowledge everyone involved, not just God. Rather than God healing the patient, it was God giving the go-ahead for the healing to happen.

    Reply
  4. Lynn123

    Good points. Yeah, thinking God is orchestrating everything for our personal benefit seems nuts to me. I’d like to think he’s up there looking out for me, but I suspect he’s totally indifferent re me.

    What strikes me now is the odd time when I’m around believers and hear them saying what God is doing all the time. I could be wrong, but I suspect they are living in a delusion. To my ears now, it seems quite superstitious.

    Reply
  5. Lynn123

    And to really upset people, you could go around thanking yourself for all you’ve done for yourself! lol

    Reply
  6. Tom

    “Christians often thank God when their health problems are made better. Praise Jesus! God healed me, countless Evangelicals have said, never considering whether such claims are true. Most of the physical healing in the world today comes not from the hands of God. It is doctors, nurses, medical technicians, medications, and life-saving procedures which should be thanked. Think about your last surgery. Is there any reason to give God credit for its success? What did God do to warrant such praise?”

    Amazing that their “testimonies” are never subject to rigorous cross examination, isn’t it? In a court of law, if the account of a witness isn’t subject to cross examination, it isn’t admitted as evidence. Which is one more reason why “Christian apologetics” is an unadulterated scam: the inability to distinguish between anecdote and evidence.

    The whiny, demanding deity of the evangelicals who demands ALL of our love ALL of the time is really little more than a superannuated toddler who is constantly demanding to be the center of attention of everyone at the party. It really reflects more upon the people who created such a warped supreme entity in their own image and likeness- and it’s not surprising, really. After all, didn’t these same evangelicals elect a superannuated toddler who is constantly demanding to be the center of attention of everyone at the party as their president?

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Alternate Facts, Ending Social Security, Donor Conduct, More – FairAndUNbalanced.com

Leave a Comment

You have to agree to the comment policy.