All my life, I’ve been skeptical about the existence of a supreme being. I was raised an atheist, but drifted toward agnosticism quite some time ago.
I dabbled in studying a bit of religion while in university and it convinced me I just don’t have the wherewithal, nor the blind faith, to get it. (Believe it or not, I still have the textbooks, two volumes of “Christendom, A Short History of Christianity and its Impact on Western Civilization.”)
But in the past couple of weeks, I’ve become convinced there must be a God, or some higher level of intelligence or, at least, a higher level of control. A supreme CEO, perhaps.
The proof is on the streets of Kamloops. Every day, hundreds of drivers try to kill themselves on those streets and, every day, for the most part, they somehow escape.
They are so bad at what they do, these drivers, that they constantly put themselves and others in mortal danger. They are careless, unskilled and, in some cases, shockingly stupid.
The fact they do this day after day leads me to the conclusion that someone or something is protecting them, and it must be God. Nothing else makes sense.
Christian belief has it that God has given humans free will. Why he/she would do this, I don’t know. Regardless, people have been given the blessing/curse of doing what they please without interference from above.
There’s a whole thing about whether free will is actually compatible with determinism, the latter suggesting there’s only one possible outcome to an action. And then you get into side arguments about the actual meaning of free will and so on.
In my view, all you have to do is drive around town to find out what free will is, because people in cars exercise it moment by moment, and very often very poorly.
In just a couple of hours on Friday, while I was out and about doing some chores, I counted more than a dozen incidents that could have had disastrous consequences. They included a near collision resulting from someone ignoring — I don’t mean simply cutting it close, I mean absolutely ignoring — a red intersection light.
In another case, a pedestrian nearly got clipped in a crosswalk. (The classically stupid move at crosswalks is for drivers to swing around another vehicle that is stopped when a pedestrian is crossing.)
Parking lots are notoriously dangerous places. I watched with fascination as somebody blithely sped across empty parking spaces, no doubt because it saved maybe two seconds getting from A to B.
And, of course, there’s the pervasive phenomenon of texting and talking while driving, not to mention everyday speeding.
No doubt, you experience the same things on an average day. Multiply what you and I observe by the thousands of other drivers out there, and you can appreciate how amazing it is that people aren’t getting killed by the hundreds each and every day.
In China, they are — 700 people a day die in road accidents there. India is only slightly less. In Canada, six.
Sure, those other countries have a lot more people, but still. Maybe God has a selective sense of humour. He/she let’s all these drivers run amuck, and then saves them from themselves.
He (in the interests of brevity, at this point I’ll dispense with gender-equity in referencing God but please accept that I have good intentions) plays a game of inches and milliseconds. We’d call it luck, but that seems too easy. We can’t possibly be that lucky.
God created us to be in a hurry, to be careless and to ignore everything we learn in driving school. As I’m writing this, I’m having second thoughts about his sense of humour explaining what’s going on.
Maybe he saves us from ourselves as atonement for messing up in the first place. He could have made us good drivers, but he clearly didn’t foresee the age of the automobile, so now he’s hit on a percentages scheme. For every 10,000 stupid driving tricks, he lets something bad happen. Otherwise, we’d get suspicious.
Still, I find it reaffirming that, in my advanced years, God has at last revealed himself to me.