The following article crossed my Twitter feed the other day, “How Understanding Divine Omniscience Helps Anxiety“. It is from the website, Cross Examined which is a Christian apologetics website run by Dr. Frank Turek. This article was written by Brian Chilton for his own apologetics blog.
The first part of the article is an introduction to the author’s point of view, his theology studies, and the fact that he suffers from anxiety. I’m not making any comment on that since I know folks who also suffer from anxiety. He also does the common apologist thing of breaking down and defining a big word. In this case, it’s Omniscience. It means “all-knowing” so now you know. So apparently, knowing that God is all-knowing can help people handle anxiety in three areas. That’s what I’m critiquing, but I’m doing them out of order.
1. Anxiety lessens with God’s knowledge of events in time.
Um, what? The author says, “However, when a person couples God’s knowledge of what will happen along with God’s goodness and love, then anxiety should fade into the divine arms of God.” First of all, I am going to give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s talking about acute anxiety and not chronic anxiety. That said, it still doesn’t matter who knows the outcome. If I don’t and if I can’t get the answer, especially if it’s a health-related issue, no amount of fantasizing about God’s knowledge is going to help.
I’m skipping #2 for a moment. I’ll get back to it.
3. Anxiety lessens with God’s knowledge of purpose.
According to the author and pretty much every apologist out there, God has a specific purpose for each one of us. That purpose happens to be what I ultimately end up doing that makes me happy. Was that God’s purpose for me? I don’t know and I won’t know. This is the equivalent of writing my purpose down, locking it in a safe with a four number, 1-100 combination lock, then encasing that safe in a four-foot thick concrete block, and launching it into space. I might as well decide what I want to do with my life and be happy.
OK, on to #2.
2. Anxiety lessens with God’s knowledge of injustices.
I remember back years ago when I was in elementary school and getting teased and harassed because I was a big kid with ridiculous hair. I would lay in bed at night and fantasize about being a superhero type and kicking those kids’ asses or some great justice being rained down upon them as a sort of schadenfreude. Of course, I wasn’t a superhero and there was no supernatural force that would teach them a lesson, so I would have to face down the same misery the following day. This is basically what the author wants us to do about things worse just being made fun of. He wants to look at the injustice in the world and just say, “God will sort it out.” He’s telling his readers to bury their heads in the sand because a supernatural force, at some unknown time and place, will correct everything.
Ignoring injustice and imagining that a supernatural being will take care of it without actually doing something is juvenile at best. And I’m talking about actual injustice as opposed to mask mandates and vaccine passports (rules designed to keep people safe and healthy are not injustices). I’m talking about subjugation of women, the disproportionate killing of minorities, the marginalization of the LGBTQ+, and religious persecution of minority faiths* among other injustices too numerous to be named here. These are things that can be defeated with a concerted effort by those of us who are willing to stand up for these people and for what we believe in. I’m not willing to wait for a day that will never come when God will sort out the bad guys from the good guys. We need to take action by donating time and money to groups who will take up these causes, by voting for candidates who will fight for everybody and not just their big-money donors, and by holding those elected officials accountable. If you are like me and disproportionately privileged because of your race, color, and gender, then get out there and stand up for everyone. But wear a mask because there is a still a pandemic happening.
*NOTE: I’m not talking about religious types who claim to be persecuted because they can’t persecute others.
3 thoughts on “Refuting Apologetics”
As a daily consumer of happy pills (pills that make me much less likely to freak out due to anxiety and hide out due to anti-social tendencies), I always cringe a bit when the topic of religion and anxiety or any psychological matter is brought up. Many people would like us to think religion is a fix all so why are you anxious if you TRULY have faith? It’s like a double kick in the spiritual nuts.
I will say that I find faith to be a good tool to have in the tool box along with therapy, medication and other things.
Point 1 above could be related to being comfortable enough and confident enough to understand that many situations are out of our control, for example – the illness of a loved one. Point 3 is about finding comfort in one’s own skin, being assured that yes, there is a purpose for us and, along with that, a need for us. Part 2 tells me I don’t have to be hell-bent on seeking revenge each time I feel wronged. If revenge is needed, it will get served somewhere down the line. Most of the people that cut us off in traffic and not doing it out of disrespect – they simply didn’t see us. Most actions in this world have nothing to do with us. We are merely in the wrong place at the wrong time or getting a slice of someone else’s karma pie.
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Maybe I was reading too much into this post, or not enough.
Nah, I was just providing my churchy counterpoint!
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