I believe that life is safer and makes more sense when I assume there will be no supernatural intervention. But before I explain why, I have to take a break from philosophy and arguments and share something entirely different that will go a long way in preventing any divides or misunderstandings that might arise from that. The following is a private Facebook post I created to encourage my Christian friends in 2013:
Does my friendship demonstrate God’s love to you?
Bruce Almighty complains to his wife about how he doesn’t think God is helping him out, and his wife is brokenhearted. She asks, “what about me?” I want to answer that question.
The friendships I have are so good I am tempted to consider them gifts of some sort of powerful intelligence. They are beautiful, designed, and I couldn’t live without them. They make me want to praise someone. I believe that the true gift-givers, the true intelligence behind individual friendships, are human beings. Rather than discouraging, this should be over-the-top flattering to anyone who believes they needed God to be able to do what they do.
A believing doctor might say, “what, my results aren’t good enough for you to thank God for it!?” My response would be, “With all your training, experience, and talent, I believe that you have what it takes to achieve your god-like results. I haven’t lessened what you did, I’ve boosted what I believe you are capable of to begin with.” Conversely, patients always thanking God for a surgical procedure a skeptical doctor invented might bother said skeptical doctor.
So, thanking-or-not-thanking-the-supernatural for events that are closely related to human hearts is a hornets nest for people in mixed-worldview interactions. It can go all over the place. But with greater understanding of where different people are coming from, the wiggle room comes more naturally. For example, I’ve chosen not to be offended when someone says something dangerously close to, “This love is so big it could not have happened unless God forced it.” I take it positively. How that message is received varies based on what people believe they are capable of to begin with.
So what do I think? I believe my friends deserve all the credit for the friendship they offer, along with all the people that helped them get where they are. The same goes for the countless ways humans have changed the world to make it look made for us, and all the ways we destroy ourselves. I don’t believe there are disembodied minds on our planet seizing people by the heartstrings to make us dance our movements, not as perpetual puppeteers nor as occasional plot-adjusters. I believe that the counselor that lies deep within our hearts grows with–and is identical to–our own thoughts, vocabulary, and knowledge. I base this belief on my experiences in conversation with that counselor, and learning about what others think the counselor is saying. If what you mean by God is that, then I can see friendship as evidence of God. And it’s very real and meaningful and powerful. However, that’s not what most people mean by the word God.
Of course we couldn’t do it on our own. We are dependent on higher powers. In my opinion, those higher powers we immediately draw from are nature and human beings that live in the same dimension as we do as far as I can tell.
By saying that friendships, tragedies, and inventions are human accomplishments, I’m not ignoring the vast spectrum of human history. I’m not saying I’m unimpressed, because I am impressed. I’m expressing the idea that human beings really are that powerful, no ghostly energies necessary. I’m saying I believe in you. The dance is ours.