A Glitch in God’s System
By: David G. McAfee
The science and psychology of religion boils down to a few, main pillars: faith, uniformed beliefs, and fear of the unknown. But regardless of which tradition you subscribe to, it is composed of many divine doctrinal assertions. A popular theological assertion, especially among monotheistic traditions is that a Higher Power, or “god”, controls aspects of their daily lives and gives punishment and reward based on good and bad behavior. For instance, you may hear a singer on television thanking “God” for the success of their most recent album, or see untimely deaths justified with “God’s Plan”. I was recently confronted by the claim that God might punish me for my secular writings and lifestyle. This idea prompted me to examine my life in search of these divine consequences.
I explored my school, work, and home lives and quickly came to the realization that there must be a glitch in God’s system. I have somehow avoided his wrath of punishment that I should be subjected to for my essays and my beliefs in general. I pondered how content I was with my life and concluded that the small instances of random misfortunes are statistically rare and insignificant- and not to be blamed on an unknowable deity. I have a happy, healthy, loving family and I do what I love… In fact, I would argue that I am happier with my life than the average believer. For example, if I have a loved one who doesn’t honor the same religion as me, I don’t worry about the possibility of them being sentenced to eternal damnation in hellfire for their “sins”, as some modern religions would warrant. I have an open mind which, history shows us, could be significantly restricted if I adhered to a specific religion- trying to fit all that I learn within an established paradigm of a single tradition is impossible- yet so many attempt it for the sake of feeling more comfortable with the unknown. I find comfort in my beliefs being founded in science- and not faith; I can live my life by my own, instinctual, human morals and not worry about what a “god” might think and what type of punishment that I may or may not receive. Overall, I’ve learned that I cannot fathom a way in which the presence of a “god figure” in my life would improve it.