“Let Jesus Take the Wheel” is really bad advice

It’s very common today to see internet memes promoting just that course of in-action:  Don’t know what to do?  “Let Jesus take the wheel!”, or “Turn it over to the lord!” or “God’s will be done!”?  But basically they’re promoting the path of least resistance.  i.e.: deciding NOT to decide.

What could be easier?  No thought required.  Let nature take its course!  God has a plan for you!  Go with the flow!  God won’t give you anything you (and He) can’t handle!  Really, how many times have you heard believers say this stuff?

However, if you follow their advice, you’re basically just intellectually and emotionally “bailing out” in situations where a crisis is looming and a rational, well thought-out decision is important.

When you turn everything over to Jesus, what are you really doing?  I mean think about it.  If the supernatural is not real and if, as atheists are convinced, God does not exist; or if Jesus, sin, resurrection, salvation and atonement are just words that the church uses to keep you in the pews (and tithing) then what are you really doing when you “Let Jesus take the wheel?”

You’re simply letting inertia carry you, rudderless, into the future.  Then, when you arrive at the next interim destination, good or bad, and you’re making the best of it, you proclaim “See!  God knew what I needed to do!  He knew that I needed this test!”

Lose your job?  “God knew I needed to lose that job so I could open my craft store!”  Never mind that the store failed in two years.  “God knew that was going to be an abusive relationship, but I’m stronger for it!” Never mind that your next unconsidered commitment will be just as bad.  No matter what happens, God never loses, and your faith is renewed.

However you, your family, your heath or your career may very well suffer for it.  The results of trusting in an invisible “presence” does not relieve you of your responsibilities in this world.  YOU still have to accept a job, or not. YOU still have to apply for a loan, or not.  YOU still have to educate yourself, or not. AND YOU still have to answer “Yes” or “No” to surgeries, life and death decisions for loved ones,  and committing to (or ending) relationships.  Not once has god, or Jesus, shown up to answer those questions for anyone.  Putting your faith in “His Hands” does not make you, or those you are responsible for, any less vulnerable for your lack of critical thinking.

A very good example of this can be seen in the cult of Christian Science.  They literally let their loved ones die, year in and year out, by “Letting god handle it” and “Leaving it in Jesus’s hands”. They pray, trust in god, and have faith, and do nothing.  And when their innocent children die, as they inevitably do, they simply say “It’s god’s will”.

Atheists have been helplessly watching these unnecessary tragedies for years and see it for what it is; gross negligence.  It’s a crushing example of how religion causes good people to do bad things.  Refreshingly the authorities have pretty much stopped turning a blind eye to these deaths, and have now started filing neglect and man-slaughter charges against the parents in these cases.

You know, there used to be a page on Facebook called “Jesus Take the Wheel” where it challenged readers to trust Jesus and take their hands off the steering wheel, while driving on the interstate, for 5 whole minutes.  The page is gone now, and it’s certainly not hard to think of reasons why it is, but can you imagine crashing your car, and injuring or killing someone, then going into the courtroom and telling the judge that you weren’t driving, Jesus was?

But ultimately, how much less dangerous is it when you turn your important life decisions over to beings that have never once actually stepped forward to make a decision for you.  Of course, you will say “They are! They’re helping.  We just don’t see them.”

Right, we don’t see them because, like the emperor’s new clothes, they simply aren’t there.

 

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