Fourth place — High school essay contest: Thomas Ballinger
Waiting for God is simply futile
By Thomas Ballinger
ear God, please help my husband to stop drinking and be a good father. Help me to be a better wife and protect me and the children from his anger.”
The walls in our house are thin. I can hear my mom’s prayer and it makes me so angry! What is wrong with her? If God does exist, he has a terrible track record. Can’t my mom see this? Why does she continue to pray after years with no results? Why doesn’t she do something to help herself — and me? Waiting for God to fix our problems is futile. We should take action to solve our problems.
The concept of “God” is inherently problematic because it introduces the idea of good and evil. People who believe in God are convinced that their opinions and traditions are divinely ordained, and therefore must be adhered to. Anything unfamiliar is put through a filter of divine approval. New ideas and foreign people are automatically treated with suspicion. After all, Satan is around every corner. Something may appear harmless, but, be careful — it could lead to your eternal damnation! People who rely on God obstruct problem solving because their arbitrary beliefs about pleasing God take priority over equity and practicality.
Furthermore, relying on God encourages passivity. After all, if God is in control, who am I to suggest change? If I am suffering, God must be testing me or using me for some hidden purpose. I should thank him! My mother didn’t believe we were enduring abuse for no reason. She was convinced that God was allowing her suffering — and mine — to either help someone or improve our character. When people rely on God, they imagine that everything is part of some greater purpose. As a result, they never take ownership of their lives.
Likewise, relying on God excuses the passivity of those who are comfortable and do nothing to help others. These people believe they are rich because they pleased God and, therefore, have been “blessed.” Other people suffer because of their sins. It would be wrong to help others because we don’t want to interfere with what God is trying to teach them. They are perfect excuses for selfish people who don’t want to concern themselves with others.
There is no divine purpose for suffering. Imagine the problems we could solve if we abandoned the ideas of god, good, evil and divine intent! If we had no “righteous” causes, perhaps we would cooperate with each other rather than kill each other. If we simply looked for practical and equitable ways to live and interact, we would be far better off. Certainly, we could make a better world without God.
Thomas, 17, is from Reno, Nev., and will be attending Washington State University, where he plans to major in genetics and cell biology, as well as music performance. He is a competitive fencer and enjoys playing the piano, and won high school competitions in both. Thomas teaches classes and manages equipment at the fencing club that he co-founded. He also volunteers with The Nature Conservancy. For a career, he would like to be involved in genetic research to find ways to decrease addictive tendencies.