This one's on you, Big Guy or, Oh look Shayne took Philosophy 101 too or, Dodging hammers and hillbillys

Lately I've been haunted by the phrase, "I'm leaving it in God's hands." I repeatedly hear people say it and I've been noticing the phrase pop up on blogs, Facebooks, and MySpace pages a lot. Being that I grew up in a church community it's not a phrase I'm unfamiliar with and I'm sure most of the readers that find their way to this blog are familiar with it as well. Basically it means, "If God wants it for me than it'll happen." At least that's my understanding - I never really paid much attention in church.

Since my abandonment of all things theistic I've viewed that phrase and others like it with a substantial amount of cynicism. Essentially I considered it a sort of cop-out that allowed people to stop trying and accept the hand that's dealt them because it's God's plan or fate or whatever. Lately though, due in large part to the fact that I keep getting assaulted by the phrase, I've been rethinking my opinion on the matter and have relented...if only slightly. I still feel that belief in all forms of predestination, fate, God's plan, whatever-you-want-to-call-it can potentially be used as a cop-out, but there's a lot of truth in the basic message: That we are not in control of our lives, at least not totally.

For a number of years after I began brandishing the flag of the non-believer this was a truth I fought against tooth and nail. But eventually I came to grudgingly accept the truth that the religious community I grew up in already knew. In retrospect it was naive of me to believe that I alone was responsible for my "destiny" (for lack of a better word), but the young and the idealistic are often naive. I'm completely at odds with many beliefs proposed by *insert religion here* but on this one I think I'm on a similar wave-length as the believers. The major difference between what I believe and what a Christian, for example, believes is what the outside force is that influences our paths in life.

I'm deliberately oversimplifying doctrine here but most Christians believe that God has a plan for a our lives and he will try and guide us down our predetermined path, but he still allows us free will by giving everyone the ability to make our own decisions. I, on the other hand, believe that there is no predetermined plan and what happens to me is ultimately due to the consequences of my decisions as well as other people's decisions that I have little or no control over. Basically, the Christian worldview is like the old-timey car ride at Kings Island where everything is fine if you stay on the rails, but if you try and jump the tracks pimply-faced teenagers will come yell at you. Mine on the other hand is more of a demolition derby: You try and make strategic decisions to win but you're assaulted from every angle by drunken hillbillys in dilapidated Chevrolets. There's a very real chance you'll burst into flames as well.

In all honesty I have to admit that my world view is probably the more aggravating of the two. Christians get to believe that a benevolent space grandpa has everything planned out and if we do right by him everything will be fine. I get to believe in a world of nigh-total chaos where people throw hammers at you in random intervals. I'm trying to get to the point where I believe there's a predetermined plan for me created by a non-existent deity but my doublethink still needs some fine tuning.

As a consequence of how I look at life I find myself pining for omniscience often. My life would be so much less stressful if I knew what everyone was thinking all the time as well as all possible consequences of every action anyone, anywhere, ever took. Unfortunately that's probably not a situation I'm ever going to find myself in.

More and more I find myself completely frustrated with life. The last couple months have felt like a struggle of Sisyphean proportions and all I'm trying to do is find a decent job and relocate. At various points the stars seemed to be aligning for me and *BAM* - hammer in the face. The kicker is that I don't even know if I'm making the right decision. What I do know is that there are people I want to be closer to and that I need to get into a frame of mind that doesn't involve being constantly depressed and agitated (that's my short term goal at least). And the only way I can do that is by moving.

I know if I keep trying eventually I'll find work and get out of here but there's always that old crone, Uncertainty: People's priorities change, companies go under, you burst into flames. I can control exactly none of those things and it's maddening. But what I keep reminding myself is that it's pointless to even think about what you can't control. For now I'm just keeping my head down and avoiding hammers and hillbillys.