This week’s entry in our Bad Theology series comes from one of our dedicated readers.
After the deadly shooting in Florida recently, one of his Facebook friends posted this:
We feel very fortunate to have driven to Palm Aire rather than fly. Our check in date was Jan. 6. We might have flown into Ft. Lauderdale!!! Praise God for His guidance and care for us.
Our reader, who prefers to stay anonymous lest his Facebook friends see this (Honestly, you people have a lot more faith in my popularity than is warranted), writes that his first reaction was: “Too bad God didn’t like those other people.”
Well said, Dear Reader. Well said.
It reminds me of something I saw on Facebook after the terrorist attack in Paris. A family member was supposed to be in the city on that day, but at the last minute changed her mind and went to England. We were relieved to hear she was safe, but she ended her update with “God is watching out for me,” making me wince.
Trust me, I understand the spooky feeling of having just avoided a tragedy. Whether it’s a car crash that happens just seconds ahead of you, or you enter a store and find out a robbery just took place, or you pull into a parking lot just 15 minutes after a drug deal went bad and police opened fire… Good Lord, I grew up in a bad area! It’s natural to shudder a little and – if you’re religious – give thanks to your Maker.
But this is where it gets tricky. It’s fine to feel a sense of gratitude for your safety and well-being, but to think you received more of God’s favor than another person? Nuh-uh. I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that.
This is what I call turning God into a lucky rabbit’s foot. It might seem like a nice idea (for everyone but the rabbit), but it’s no help at all when bad things do come your way. And sorry to break it to you, but eventually they will.
I suppose if you want to continue believing in this special favor you’ve been granted, go right ahead. All we ask is that you stop posting it on social media.
For one, it shows zero compassion and empathy for the people who are going through a tragedy, and that’s not a good look for a Christian, now is it?
For another, it presents a rather fickle and untrustworthy image of God, especially to nonbelievers. So whatever it is that YOU believe, please be conscious how your words sound to others.
Tell us Johnny, how does our contestant rate?
For posting on Facebook that you are more worthy of God’s love and protection than 27 people killed in Fort Lauderdale, you earned:
Three face palms!
Thanks for playing!
Remember, if you find questionable theology out there, submit it using the contact form above.
Stay vigilant, friends.
Vaya con Dios