Monday, August 25, 2008

Christians, Fate and Luck

Above is a drawing depicting Furtuna . . . Roman Goddess of fate (same as the Greek goddess Tyche).

Christian teachers have avoided this topic like the plague. The only lecture I've ever heard was by LAbri's Dick Keyes. Not only did I attend the lecture in person (I think it was in Vancouver, BC) but I also met with a goup, which met with Dick, that night to discuss his lecture. Also I ordered his talk (btw is available here ) and listened to it at least a couple more times. But Ihave to say I was disappointed.

I really like Dick Keyes as a speaker, but even he hedged, then danced around the topic in his discussion.

The concepts of fate, luck have been grossly neglected by the Church, when it comes to teaching Biblical principles. However, the views on these topics are very entrenched within Evangelicalism.

When any event of significance happens and then you hear it mentioned by Christians (especially if they are actually standing in a church building) you will hear the view expressed that God has comprehensive control over life. That every hair on your head is not only counted, but God directs it precisely on which side of the part to lay. Then, when you get to much more important topics (more important than a good or bad hair day) then there is no question of God’s control.

You will hear the clich├ęs, “Everything happens for a purpose,” or “God doesn’t make mistakes,” or “It was a God thing.” There is absolutely no daylight given to cause and effect of the laws of physics or human physiology of working themselves out. Everything, from the leaf falling from a tree, to someone’s child dying from a tragic and brutal accident is directly from the hand of God . . . or from the end of Satan’s pitchfork.

The problem with even discussing this topic with Christians is two fold. First, there is a great confusion with the Biblical concept of God’s sovereignty. God’s sovereignty is a totally different topic and is worthy of debate in its own right. But that topic is about whether or not God calls the elect from birth to be saved or does it involve a free will choice. So that topic is very different from what I’m talking about. This was the disappointment in Dick Keyes’ lecture is that it starts talking about luck, but ends with a (reformed position) about God’s sovereignty.

The second problem is that there is a strong emotional need to believe that all events in life had a purpose. As a Christian, the paradigm is that the purpose must be good ( or bad in the case of Satan doing it). To question that divine purpose, in the Christian’s eyes, is to question God’s ABILITY to control events . . . so the question is never even raised.

I remember the look of horror that a dear Christian friend, Betsy, gave me when I told her that a certain event in our lives (about selling a house in a bad market) was simply bad luck. “Surely you are joking” she asked.

more to come. . .

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