Religion is like an emotional pacifier, a cosmic security blanket. It makes people feel good.
The thought of a powerful being, a father-like figure up there looking out for you – especially when it is done in mysterious ways because apparently caring for someone in mysterious ways – as opposed to coming right out and saying it – is more meaningful, and knowing that he has a secret plan for you – a plan which – not unlike his love and signs – is very elusive and hard to decipher – is very appealing to people, odd as it may seem.
See, god apparently likes to play hard to get and what is more appealing to people than someone who is hard to get? Just ask Carrie Bradshaw.
To that end, religion is full of convenient theories, especially the Bible and especially the new testament. In fact, I have this theory that when it first came to be, it was being released as a pamphlet actually titled “Convenient Theories For You – Monthly” or something.
Anyway, one of the convenient theories in the Bible is the one that tells the true believers that god will not ever give them something they cannot handle. This trope is closely related to the whole “god has a plan for all of us” one in which people can, conveniently, try to find something meaningful and useful out of horrid situations such as genocide, having one’s child murdered, while suffocating in the toxic waste that is anxiety and depression, losing one’s family in a car accident, having your child’s face blown to pieces in a school shooting and so forth.
To know that god has a mysterious plan in mind unbeknownst to us when he allows all these terrible things to happen makes people all warm and fuzzy on the inside. We all love a good mystery and someone who’s hard to get, and god delivers. Hallelujah!
Now a true believer will tell you that “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is not something Biblical and thus a lie, because what 1 Corinthians 10:13 really says is that you won’t be tempted beyond what you can stand up against. The text is not saying that you will not experience more than you can bear.
Of course, they claim, god would never say something so stupid and cruel to, say, a survivor of Auschwitz. He is a loving god, after all.
What is Biblical and thus much more in tune with god’s kindness is 2 Corinthians 1:8,9 in which says “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead“.
Wow. That is such a relief and so much better than “god will not give you more than you can handle.”
What this says is that god would never burden you with something you cannot handle. Instead, he burdens you with it, causing suffering, pain, agony, death, genocide, torture and so on, in order to get you to understand that you need him. It’s all about him and his need to be worshiped and needed at all cost. And he is using people and their suffering to ultimately cater to his ego and narcissism.
Isn’t that beautiful? Can you see the sheer love and divine shining through? A god who makes you go through all sorts of pain and suffering in order to get you to worship him and need him more. Wow. Where can I sign up to worship such an excellent decision maker with an ego the size of cathedrals?