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Playing In Traffic: Don’t Worry, God Will Protect Us

the big c

If the Evangelical Christian teaching on the sovereignty of God and God’s personal, direct intervention in our lives is taken seriously, it often results in Christians acting foolishly and irresponsibly. It often leads to fatalism. The thinking goes something like this: God is in control. Nothing happens that is not part of God’s purpose and plan for our lives. Christians live fearlessly, knowing that God is controlling and directing their lives. All they need to do is surrender their will to his, dying to self (cue the song I Surrender All). God promises Christians he will never leave them or forsake them. He promises to be a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He promises, promises, promises . . .

Back in the real world, Christians fail, get sick, have accidents, lose their jobs, get divorced, file bankruptcy, and die just like the rest of us. Despite the promises of God, their lives are no different from the lives of godless atheists. They “think” their lives are different, but any cursory examination proves otherwise.

A scene in an episode of the Showtime hit The Big C illustrates how Christians often deceive themselves. The Big C is a comedy/drama about a woman — Cathy (Laura Linney) — who has terminal cancer. Her son Adam (Gabriel Basso) has turned to Christianity as his mom continues to struggle with the reality that she is dying. The Christianity the show portrays is a mix of Lutheranism, Emergent church, and Evangelicalism. Adam starts attending a Bible study where he meets a girl. She is “saving” herself until she is married, so she only will have anal sex with Adam. In her world, anal sex and oral sex are not really “sex.”

One evening, Adam is out with his girlfriend and they come to the curb of a busy, traffic-filled street:

Girlfriend: (starts praying) God help me to help Adam. Let him know your love and protection like I do. Let him give over his life to your loving hands.

GirlfriendOkay, RUN! (and grabbing Adam’s hand they begin to run across the street dodging cars)

AdamOh shit!

Adam: (Upon safely reaching the other side of the street) I can’t believe we did that, we could have died.

GirlfriendBut, we didn’t because God protected us. Just like he protects all of his children.

This is EXACTLY the way many Evangelical Christians think.

Never mind that if this same scenario was played out again, it is likely they would have been killed. Perhaps they escaped death a second time. All that would mean is that they were lucky the first two times. They might run out of luck the next time they try to cross the road. And if Adam and his girlfriend were hit by a car and killed? Christians have an out for that too. It was their “time” to die. God called their number, end of story! To God be the glory.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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.

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8 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Brian

    “She is “saving” herself until she is married, so she only will have anal sex with Adam. In her world, anal sex and oral sex is not really “sex.””

    Holy smoke.

  2. Avatar
    Kenneth

    Saying that “God will protect us” is similar to Christians helping someone in a needy situation by doing nothing but saying “I will pray for you”. Rather than trying to actually help the person, they can just drop the prayer bomb on them. This is just a lazy copout that has been used many times by too many Christian’s I’m afraid. If people would just DO SOMETHING besides just praying, this world would be a lot better of a place.

  3. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Playing in traffic………that about describes the lack of common sense Christians are expected conduct themselves with in life. I have to laugh at the video above, there’s no ‘ butt loopholes’ so who knows where that comes from,lol. What I remembered, and no longer do anymore is act against my own wellbeing, taking on stupid risks. No one catches you as you ” step out in faith .”. I’m finally woke by now.

  4. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    Ellis Peters wrote a delightful series of mystery stories set in 12th century England. The protagonist is a monk named Cadfael, who spends his time balancing his sincere faith in God against his inquisitive, scientific mind. In one novel, a monk who was on some sort of journey gets beaten to the point of nearly dying and left on the road; he’s rescued and taken to the monastery, which doubles as the local hospital. There, a senior monk comes to his bed and prays elaborately for the man’s soul, getting in the way of Cadfael and an assistant trying to actually save the man’s life. An acrimonious discussion follows, and the senior monk flounces off in a huff.

    I think of that scene whenever I hear of some Christian doing something that endangers their life or the lives of others. Then I spend a couple of seconds hoping that if they’re that stupid, they qualify for a Darwin Award*. Then I scold myself for that unkindness, and remember that religious delusion is powerful and resistant to rational thinking.

    *One qualifies for a Darwin Award by doing That Fatal Stupid Thing before they’ve had children, thereby removing their genes (at least in that packet) from the human gene pool. Yes, it’s crass, cynical, and unkind. Sometimes it’s appropriate.

  5. Avatar
    fivehundredpoundpeep

    This sums up their cavalier attitude towards Covid. God will protect us, it’s just a cold, and the rest of us suffered for it.

    I do think there is privilege in Christian belief. People who had lives go so by the script, they can’t conceive of “bad things” happening to them. Many of us had so many bad things happen or saw bad things happen to others, we realized the entire religion was a lie.

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