God Working In Your Life.

I just responded to a blog about a series of coincidences which seem to be leading to a positive conclusion in someone’s life and the conclusion was how this is god’s hand in events and so on.  I thought my response was worth posting:

My family, like many families, has it’s own way of saying things, inside jokes etc.  One of them is we started saying “danke shoen” (pronounced donka shane) (thank you very much in german) for “thank you”, which was then turned into “donkey shins”, which was then shortened to “donkeys”.

So in our household “donkeys” meant thank you. Then one day we see the movie “two mules for sister sarah” (clint eastwood movie) and about a week later my sister (whose name is sarah) hands me something and I thank her by saying “two mules for sister sarah”.

When I think of all the things that had to happen for that joke to be possible and make any sense, all the events in the development of the english language, the german language, the movie had to be made, it had to have that plot, my sister had to have that name, the word sister had to also mean “nun” (which it’s referring to in the movie), and to top it all off I have to have a weird-ass family that says “donkeys” instead of thank you.

When you think about it the odds of that joke coming into existence are like the odds of winning the lottery ten times in a row.  The setup for the joke was thousands of years in the making.

So I have two possible ways to interpret this – 1) the creationist/intelligent design perspective – the odds are so staggeringly unlikely of my joke ever occurring that the universe in it’s entirety must have been designed with my joke in mind, my joke being the pinnacle and purpose of human existence (a bit arrogant).  Or 2) the universe is a complex tapestry of cause and effect where billions of events are perpetually coinciding to make things like this happen – my joke is not any more special than any joke or any movie or art form or organism or meaningful turn of events, that the universe is constantly churning things out like this.

So which is more likely?

We perceive the world as though we are all at the center of our own universes – but that is a trick of the mind and the senses.  In reality the universe has no center and we are the focal point of our own consciousness, not of the events surrounding us.

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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26 Responses to God Working In Your Life.

  1. NeverSubmit says:

    Frankly, I don’t think any argument for creationism is more arrogant or ridiculous than the “odds” argument.  If there was even any way of actually calculating the odds, you would never in a million years learn about it by reading the bible or by going to the seminary.  Even supposing you managed to do so, it still would not prove anything, because odds reflect how likely something will happen given a number of opportunities.  By definition, unlikely things cannot be impossible. And it’s starting to look increasingly likely that life will form.  It will take much longer to determine the likely pathways life will take, but the fact that it happens differently somewhere else really has nothing to do with how it happened here. 

  2. ohellino says:

    I’ll go with the joke not being special at all.  The argument from ignorance for God or whatever “spiritual” power in the universe, takes precedence over rational claims of reason far too much.  I don’t understand it. 

  3. Nostra_Damus says:

    Hard to explain why something like this would happen. But, maybe the thought you created brought this event to unfold in your life. If this were the case, we would then say, that what happens in our life is never by chance, but self created. Those who believe this theory would conclude that humans are not really lost in life being affected by circumstances, but in fact are in control of their lives and their destiny

  4. Zissu25 says:

    hummm have you noticed how religious fundamentalists often use their own ignorance on any given subject as proof of God’s existence and that science is nothing but bogus? Like, any given natural, physical or biological phenomenon that they don’t understand, they firmly believe that is proof that science is ridiculous and that God exists. I guess one of the most famous examples of this is BIll O’Reilly’s claim a couple of years ago that the fact that he didn’t understand what causes tides, was proof of God’s existence. But it’s so common – I have a couple of right wing friends on Facebook and through them I see these people posting pictures of random things that apparently they don’t understand and therefor use as proof that God must exist…In other words: I think the religious nuts (sadly enough) are completely immune to any reasoning about what is likely and not hehe.

  5. agnophilo says:

    @NeverSubmit – Yeah, something being unlikely is only evidence of something if you can show that something else is more likely.  They never calculate the probability of an all-powerful god existing inexplicably and just happening to love them and want to make them happy for eternity.  That’s not convenient or on-the-nose at all, lol.@ohellino – Some people try to believe, others try to understand.@Nostra_Damus – I controlled the development of multiple languages, the writing and plot line of that movie, the name of my sister who was born 2 years before I was etc?  Life is more like surfing than walking across a room – we can direct our actions but there are many things in our lives we cannot control or choose.  Life is like a game, you can pick the best strategy for success and try your hardest to succeed, but you can’t change the rules or reverse an outcome.@Zissu25 – To quote futurama (classic futurama, back when it was funny and clever):Robot Villager: With all your modern science, are you any closer to understanding the mysteries of how a robot walks and talks?  Professor Farnsworth: Yes, you idiot! The circuit diagram is right here on the inside of your case.  [Opens the panel on robot’s chest]  Robot Villager: [closes panel defensively] I choose to believe what I was programmed to believe.

  6. nov_way says:

    @Zissu25 – but that’s them. What about the rest of the people who do believe in God and actually do understand how things work scientifically speaking? People can think whatever they like. I choose to believe that God is aware of our everything: fears, hopes, dreams, and yes,  perceptions ( whether they be true or not.) I choose to believe that it is absurd to think everything is a coincidence. So while I believe in God, I also believe we do have free will ( the ability to choose) and He reaches out to us by whatever mean that is good and deemed to be appropriate. Can you explain to me how a man, 1400 or so years ago, was able to describe things in our planet and more that couldn’t have been possible for anyone at that time to know about and had answers for things only proven to be true by modern science lately? 1)  “The belief that Qur’an had prophesied scientific theories and discoveries has become strong and widespread in the contemporary Islamic world; these prophecies are often provided as a proof of the divine origin of the Qur’an.[12] The claim is that scientific facts exist in the Qur’an in many different subjects, including creation, astronomy, human reproduction, oceanology, embroyology, zoology, the water cycle, and many more.”2) “Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, U.S.A., proclaims: ‘… these HADITHS, sayings of MUHAMMAD—sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam— could not have been obtained on the basis of the scientific knowledge that was available at the time of the writer (7th century). It follows that not only is there no conflict between genetics and religion (ISLAM) but in fact religion (ISLAM) may guide science by adding revelation to some of the traditional scientific approaches… there exist statements in the QUR’AN shown centuries later to be valid which support knowledge in the QUR’AN having been derived from GOD.’ “3) “He makes you in the wombs of your mothers in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness.”  (Quran 36:6)This statement is from Sura 39:6. We do not know when it was realized that human beings underwent development in the uterus (womb), but the first known illustration of a fetus in the uterus was drawn by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century. In the 2nd century A.D., Galen described the placenta and fetal membranes in his book “On The Formation of the Foetus.” Consequently, doctors in the 7th century A.D. likely knew that the human embryo developed in the uterus. It is unlikely that they knew that it developed in stages, even though Aristotle had described the stages of development of the chick embryo in the 4th century B.C. The realization that the human embryo develops in stages was not discussed and illustrated until the 15th century.I am sorry for taking a lot of space for one comment. I didn’t even mean to share all that but you could say that what’s been said about embryology, among other things, is something I like to think about and contemplate. Actually, that is exactly what the Quran calls people to do, time and again: to contemplate life and think. P.s: click on the paragraphs for the sources. 

  7. @nov_way – “People can think whatever they like. I choose to believe that God is aware of our everything: fears, hopes, dreams, and yes,  perceptions ( whether they be true or not.) “Seeing that from my point of view, you and everyone else can view the world from some self created id. It’s like wearing glasses with a lovely scene painted on them. It’s simply a different way to look at the world. However we both still must conform to certain realities and this is where our glasses are striped away for a moment. I do not think any human has ever perceived the total of reality nor are we capable of it. Our bodies are very ill equipped to see and hear most things there are to see and hear. We live in a sea of complexity that we cannot know, so to my mind, we start from a severe disadvantage and then pile on false conclusions just to add to our hopeless delusions. The quest is to simplify reality, not avoid it. 

  8. Good post. I think one of the chief problems we have in the world today is that a few very rich and very capable people in this world have figured out a way to manufacture certain ‘realities’ and mass produced them. Each area has a slightly different design, but we don’t seem to be able to avoid this mass delusion. We ourselves are participating in it right now.

  9. Hunt4Truth says:

    Its my day…. There is more to my life than getting up each morning and going to a job. There are things to remember that make me smile. Its a beautiful day and I’m in the yard. I’m glad to read that you too enjoy your family. I hope you have a great day. There’s a million things to be

  10. Zissu25 says:

    @nov_way – Yeah I am no atheist either (though I can’t see anything wrong with being atheist). I just kind of marvel at the fact that so many people firmly believe that just because they personally don’t understand something, it proves that God exists.I would say that those quotes you show there in no way even remotely indicates that God spoke to Mohammed or any other person 1400 years ago or at any other point in history. At best, they could indicate that people in the middle east were more advanced in terms of knowledge about human biology than people in Europe. Which would make sense I guess, as Europe was pretty far behind the Middle East both scientifically and technically at that time. People have also been making millions and millions of predictions of all sorts of things during the centuries. Often those predictions can and have been interpreted in a wide vareity of ways. Considering that, it would be rather surprising if none of those predictions could be “confirmed” as truths today.This, however, does NOT mean that it’s in anyway wrong to believe that God spoke to Mohammed or being a Muslim. I am not mocking you for believing in a God. But there are simply no scientific proofs that the Muslim god exists, or the Jewish god, or the Christian god or any other god.

  11. nov_way says:

    @brown_buffalo – I like what you said but your quest is your own. While I do agree with it, you and I just have different views on what we consider to be the reality of things. What about the rest of my first comment? I am not trying to make anyone believe in Him at all. I simply like to point-out facts available to anyone who truly want to know what Islam in specific provides. Btw, the prophet Muhammad wasn’t rich at all. 

  12. nov_way says:

    @Zissu25 – I appreciate the fact that you don’t mind other people believing in something that’s quite different from you. And like you said in a way: to each their own. While I understand what you say about people making all kinds of predictions ( to this day), for one religion to hold all kinds of truths necessary so a person can live life, dare I say, rightfully * make it only reasonable for one to admit that, yes, this world is not at all the result of some coincidence nor anything else in it. You know, Abraham, Jesus, Moses, Muhammad and the others are all considered to be Muslims since that word itself means ” a person who submits to the will of God ” However, because people changed the books of both Judaism and Christianity, Islam came about so people from wherever and whenever follow it instead of any other thing. So while the prophets were all Muslims, only the people who follow the teachings of Islam today are considered to be as such. I do realize that you didn’t ask to know about any of this so I apologize for taking so much of your time. But I hope it was something worth knowing about. *because Islam, in many ways, does command people to treat others like one would like to be treated for the sole exception when one is being violated, in which case it would be in self-defense to attack them back. As for the time when the prophet started wars against other nations it was because it his job as a prophet to make the truth available to as many people possible, and only after sending-out letters to those nations’ rulers telling them either to recognize the truth or be ready for a war. As in, he didn’t start wars without notifying them first so they be ready for it. Sorry for getting carried away.  P.s: God didn’t talk to Muhammad. However, He sent those scriptures in the Quran through an angel. That is also pretty much impossible for anyone to prove except for the Quran itself and the way it’s been written and the sayings of Muhammad that have been proven to be true ( when he spoke of how to cure different things and such and then later on modern science did agree with what he said, for instance. )  

  13. agnophilo says:

    @nov_way – “People can think whatever they like. I choose to believe that God is aware of our everything: fears, hopes, dreams, and yes,  perceptions ( whether they be true or not.) “Why do you choose to believe this?  Because it’s comforting?”I choose to believe that it is absurd to think everything is a coincidence.”Again, why?  And wouldn’t that mean that god planned every moment of every rape of every child?  Every horrible disease?  Every tragedy in human history was by design?  We execute or lock up criminals for hurting one person – what would we do to someone we thought was the architect of every tragedy, crime and suffering in human history?”So while I believe in God, I also believe we do have free will ( the ability to choose) and He reaches out to us by whatever mean that is good and deemed to be appropriate. “Again, why?”Can you explain to me how a man, 1400 or so years ago, was able to describe things in our planet and more that couldn’t have been possible for anyone at that time to know about and had answers for things only proven to be true by modern science lately?”The example below that babies are made in the womb “one stage after another, in three veils of darkness”.  I don’t see how this would’ve been impossible for someone to know 1500 years ago, let alone 15,000 years ago.  They didn’t know that babies develop in stages?  They see the mother’s belly growing gradually over nearly a year.  If you are implying that “three veils of darkness” refers to three trimesters, trimester is a purely arbitrary term, any biological process could be split into any number of stages.  I’ve seen this same argument with the new testament, it’s inevitably people trying to read modern understandings into vague texts that don’t actually say the thing in question.In a blog about this ages ago I parodied this by doing the same thing with a random bit of one of shakespeare’s plays:”Will they not hear? What, ho! you men, you beasts,  That quench the fire of your pernicious rage  With purple fountains issuing from your veins,  On pain of torture, from those bloody hands  Throw your mistemper’d weapons to the ground,  And hear the sentence of your moved prince.  Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,”  When you bleed it is red, not purple, because it is not oxygenated.  Knowing that blood was purple was advanced knowledge that must have come from allah.  And it said purple fountains would issue from their veins which is impossible unless they’re in an completely oxygenless environment, so this is really foretelling about a murder taking place in outer space!  How could they have known what outer space was like back then without allah telling them?!  It goes on to say “throw your mistemper’d weapons to the ground”, clearly referring to modern weapons misfiring, because a gun cannot fire in space without oxygen!  More proof!  And then it says these brawls (conflicts) are “bred of an airy word”, see!  They knew that you need air to speak!  This is why it says “will you not hear?”  And this means that the murder will be ordered by someone who doesn’t die that day because they have air to speak with!  (etc, etc)To refer to your examples:1) that people are made primarily of water is not hard to figure out simply based on our diet, we need mostly water to survive (you can live a month without food, only a few days without water).  Not to mention all the liquid in our bodies and the fact that meat, when cooked, releases even more liquid.  Ancient people were just as smart as we are and very observant.  “We made the sky a preserved and protected roof yet still they turn away from Our Signs.”This is too vague to even know what it is saying.”It is He who created the night and the day, and the sun, and the moon; each of them swim along in its rounded course.”The planets appear to wander in the sky, they move around in different patterns, which is why the ancient greek word for planet is “wanderer” and why the ancient greeks thought the planets were intelligent beings (gods).  Again, where’s the advanced knowledge?2) “Now let man but think From what he is created! He is created from A drop emitted — Proceeding from between The back bone and the ribs.”Again, this is incredibly vague.  That we now know specific things about this region (the abdomen) means what exactly?”HUMAN BEINGS CREATED FROM NUTFAH (Minute Quantity of Liquid)”Yeah I think they knew about ejaculations in biblical times.”The Arabic word ‘sulalah’ means quintessence or the best part of a whole. We have cometo know now that only one single spermatozoan that penetrates the ovum is required forfertilization, out of the several millions produced by man. That one spermatozoan out ofseveral millions, is referred to in the QUR’AN as ‘sulalah’. ‘Sulalah’ also meansgentle extraction from a fluid.The fluid refers to both male and female germinal fluidscontaining gametes. Both ovum and sperm are gently extracted from their environments inthe process of fertilization.”This is just saying “uh yeah, they meant sperm when they said that.  See, they knew about cells which science just recently discovered!”  This is like saying “see, this ancient book describes things falling down, but newton only posited his theory of gravitation 500 years ago, so they must have gotten advanced science from aliens!”” Therefore ‘nutfatun amshaaj’, i.e. a minute quantity ofmingled fluids refers to the male and female gametes (germinal fluids or cells) and partof the surrounding fluids.”No, the word “gamete” does not appear in the koran.  And you can read anything into anything.I’m just going to skip the rest, it seems to be more of the same.

  14. agnophilo says:

    @brown_buffalo – Well said.@Hunt4Truth – Good movie, good song (I believe it’s in my playlist).

  15. nov_way says:

    Comforting? Not really. Not originally, at least. What made it possible for me to choose to believe that are certain scriptures– all after having a certain type of peace with it ( islam) being the truth. And that came about after studying the scientific clues and viewing what happened all throughout history, among other things.God gave people free will. It is our problem when we choose to do something wrong, not His. He made this planet so people can live and prosper on it while recognizing that He is the one who created us all. However, He didn’t create our actions. Our actions are our very own. Those who committed such crimes ( to call them crimes would be an understatement) knew right from wrong and yet chose to do the wrong. That is their doing and not His. Him being just is by giving us clues that He is there with us and for us and not by preventing humans use their right of practicing their free will. 

  16. agnophilo says:

    @nov_way – “Comforting? Not really. Not originally, at least. What made it possible for me to choose to believe that are certain scriptures– all after having a certain type of peace with it ( islam) being the truth. And that came about after studying the scientific clues and viewing what happened all throughout history, among other things.”What do you mean “what happened all throughout history”?  And doesn’t the fact that I can easily find “scientific clues” in the writings of shakespeare give you pause?  You didn’t even comment on it.”God gave people free will. It is our problem when we choose to do something wrong, not His.” He’s just responsible for disease, earthquakes, drought, floods, tornadoes, tsunamis, fires, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes etc, etc.  Natural disasters kill seven times as many people as all warfare.  Plus if we have free will and the consequences of our actions are not god’s doing then isn’t almost everything that happens in a civilization at some level the result of human action?”He made this planet so people can live and prosper on it while recognizing that He is the one who created us all.” No he didn’t, he made this planet so that 2/3rds of it are ocean (where people can’t live) and the people on half of what little land there is will mostly freeze or starve.  Show me a planet where the ground produces food everywhere, not just in some places, and you can say that planet was designed with human habitation in mind.  And ironically billions believe that god selected a patch of barely habitable desert for his chosen people who he cared about most of all.”However, He didn’t create our actions. Our actions are our very own. Those who committed such crimes ( to call them crimes would be an understatement) knew right from wrong and yet chose to do the wrong. That is their doing and not His.” The problem with that is that if there were a god who knew everything and was all-powerful and set everything in motion, then he knew that a little girl would get raped one day.  He knew how and when and by whom.  He knew it would happen if he created the world a certain way and he went ahead and did it anyway.  Then he supposedly sat and watched while it happened, fully able to stop it.  How is he not responsible?  If I knew you were going to be murdered and could prevent it and did nothing you would say I was responsible for your death wouldn’t you?  A god cannot be all-knowing and all-powerful and not also be all-responsible.  This is why albert einstein said the only thing that could excuse god is his absence.”Him being just is by giving us clues that He is there with us and for us and not by preventing humans use their right of practicing their free will.”So was he being unjust when he prevented the pharoah from exercising his free will in egypt in the book of exodus?  Muslims consider this part of scripture, no?  In the old testament god intervenes all the time, was that wrong of him to do?  I’m sure now you’re going to tell me how it’s wrong of god to intervene to prevent a tragedy because it would rob us of our free will while maintaining that it’s wonderful of him to intervene at the same time.

  17. Zissu25 says:

    @agnophilo – haha oh I haven’t watchef Futurama for years…. humm so it has gone the same path as the once (a long loooong time ago) funny and clever Simpsons… It’s kind of sad that they keep these shows running. It also shows Seinfeld was very right to stop when the show was still at its peak…(kind of off topic hehe)

  18. NeverSubmit says:

    @agnophilo – Yes, I noticed there are no comments on the likelihood of God existing!  God’s failure to exist must make that probability especially difficult to calculate. 

  19. nov_way says:

    I believe that everything happens for lots of reasons, and not one in particular. So when the present time feels a bit overwhelming, I look at whatever it is that crosses my mind regarding what happened in this world so far. The timing of things and even the placement of them. Sometimes I compare that to the sayings of he prophet and it just makes sense. As for why I didn’t comment on what you said about Shakespeare’s writing it is only because Arabic is a different matter altogether. How concise,eloquent, and informative the scriptures are– it’s just something you’ll have to read for yourself or have someone, like a professor who specialized on the matter where you are if possible, explain it. For the life of me, I can’t explain everything. “then isn’t almost everything that happens in a civilization at some level the result of human action?” Yes, and human action can be quite good, don’t you agree? Anyway, in one of the prophet’s sayings we’ve been told that God made everyone with a good nature/heart — one that recognizes Him and knows right from wrong. But He also gave us free will, because life is meant to be a test and not heaven. People are meant to die at some point so what’s the problem with dying from some earthquake or otherwise? I don’t know about you, but it’ll be boring if everyone died from the same cause. I stand by this statement: “He made this planet so people can live and prosper on it while recognizing that He is the one who created us all.”It’s your problem if you think this planet has too much water on it. And it doesn’t concern me what billions of people think. You said that like His chosen people had a comfortable life. They didn’t. They were chosen because they, of all people, wanted for the truth to be known and didn’t care about the hardships they had to withstand for them to do so. That’s why they were chosen. And that doesn’t mean that He cares less about us. All-knowing, all-powerful, yes. Did you forget that there are good people out there, too? He knew about them, too. So that any victim would find justice. It is your other problem if you think that just because He knows it all then He must make this world peaceful. There is free will so people can choose what to do, and if they did anything wrong, then they’re supposed to learn from that mistake in order to avoid it. For instance, at what time that crime happened and because of what? What made the person who commit the crime think that they could get-away with it, or did they even cared about that? If not, then what can a community do to prevent this thing from happening? — that’s what you call the ability to have free will and use it to protect our sense of good nature. Life is meant to be a test. How can you be tested on something you have no say about? Now that’s illogical. “In the old testament god intervenes all the time, was that wrong of him to do?  I’m sure now you’re going to tell me how it’s wrong of god to intervene to prevent a tragedy because it would rob us of our free will while maintaining that it’s wonderful of him to intervene at the same time.” Not exactly. There is a bigger plan for this entire world, and so when the pharaoh used-up his time, he had to go. 

  20. nov_way says:

    In summary: life is meant to be lived. For one to do so, they must exercise their free will. Want to be a good role model for your community? Then make sure to do the best you can doing what’s good and useful. 

  21. Hehe, great story. I’m impressed by your analysis and reflection of it. Most people just don’t get that deep or thoughtful. Wish I had a story like that. Wait I do. Well, it;s a family in thing, at least. Our family makes pools in our mash potato. Just hand us the soup spoon. When I went to other people’s houses for dinner, I’d always get weird looks when I made a “pool.” Hey, I think it’s cool!

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