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One of the first ideas that I deconstructed about Christianity is the idea that God is a causal being. By that, I mean that I don’t believe that God interacts with or in any way directs the course of human history. God does not have a will or plan.

I often hear people attribute inexplicable circumstances to the will of God. When a job opportunity falls through, it’s because God has a different one in mind. When rent money unexpectedly appears from an unknown source, it is God’s blessing. When a child dies in a tragic accident, it’s part of God’s plan to teach us something even more amazing. When a situation is hopeless beyond any imaginable redeeming quality, it is because God works in mysterious ways. A causal God is reassuring, giving us strength to persevere in the face of overwhelmingly difficult situations. A causal God answers the prayers of the righteous. A causal God has a benevolent plan, will and purpose for everything, even if we cannot discern it. Such a God reassures us because ultimately, responsibility is not in our hands.

However, upon closer evaluation, I find that such notions lose credibility. For example, one individual recounted a story of how he couldn’t find his eraser in class one day. He prayed to God that he would find it. He looked in his backpack, and there it was. God had seemingly answered his prayer. For some reason, my mind immediately jumped to those suffering in extreme poverty. I thought about the HIV+ mother in Africa who is praying for the life of her child who is dying of malaria. Despite her fervent prayer, her child dies. Instead of answering her prayer, God worked in mysterious ways, probably to bless her in the future in ways that we can’t imagine now.

The question that formed in my mind was this: Why is it that God answered the prayer of the kid who lost his eraser, yet chose to “work in mysterious ways” for the woman whose child was dying? Furthermore, why does God frequently answer frivolous prayers of privileged people, while frequently choosing to “work in mysterious ways” for oppressed and marginalized people?

By that assessment, the causal God is racist, classist, sexist, heterosexist, and in all other ways prejudiced against anyone who our society discriminates against. The causal God is predominantly concerned with the whims of the societal elite, identifying with and reinforcing their positions of power. The causal God commits all forms of societal sin which Jesus preached so adamantly against. In fact, the causal God is the greatest perpetrator of societal sin.

The causal God is dead to me. It was a scary thought at first. Our perceived safety net is gone. However, I believe the safety net has always only been wishful thinking; ultimately, we’re better off dismantling this myth.

If God does not interact with, direct and orchestrate human history, then who does? You. Me. Everyone. Everything. To the extent that we make our own decisions, we control our own destiny. To the extent that forces beyond our control affect us, we must learn to accept and adapt to what happens to us. Rather than being instruments of a divine puppet master, we control our own actions.

Such an idea can be liberating. Collectively, all of creation dictates its own fate. Yet, this liberation is coupled with an onus of stewardship. In that we dictate our fate, we are responsible for it. This responsibility should not make us feel guilty for our shortcomings, but motivate us to overcome them. For if we created them, we can also reverse or overcome them.

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