Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Religion - A Topic Always Certain to Cause Controversy

I was reading comments on a message board this morning and found something irritating. Hardly a newsworthy event because I always find something that sets me off. This time it was religion. That's a topic guaranteed to set someone else off and it doesn't matter whether your words were good, bad or indifferent.
This morning's subject was books. A few people wrote that it was God who would decide if their book was a successor not. They themselves had nothing to do with it, God would handle everything. To me this is a big cop out. It doesn't matter if they write well or poorly or if their topic is timely, it's all up to God.
In other words, God micro-manages every event in everyone's life. He has all the time in the world so He goes from ball park to ball park making sure that certain players receive fat pitches so they can trot around the bases with a finger pointing skyward. He's at football stadiums too so that specific running backs can score touchdowns, then kneel in prayer. Forget about the guys that blocked opponents out of his way, or did God have a hand in that, too?
Doesn't that trivialize their God, this belief that He cares about who makes the best seller list, who hits the homeruns and who scores the touchdowns?
I don't buy it. If God is this micro-manager who inserts Himself into the unimportant, then doesn't He do the same with the important? If He decides the fate of a book, doesn't He also decide the fate of a mother killed when a drunk driver crosses the centerline and hits her car head-on? If He influences the course of a pitch so a ball player can hit a homerun, doesn't He influence the course of a bomb so it kills a few kids in Lebanon? If He determines who scores the touchdowns doesn't He also determine who scores with the drug pusher and who scores with the young girl that had knockout drops inserted into her drink?
No, I don't buy it. If God really does decide whether a book is a success or not, then what happened to free will? Does it mean the woman who works from dawn 'til dusk promoting the excellent book she wrote stands no better chance of making sales than the person that wrote a potboiler and then sits back waiting to cash her royalty checks? Not in my opinion.
I don't see God as the Great Micro-Manager in the Sky. I don't believe He cares a damn about books or base hits or touchdowns. I don't believe He decides who will live and who will die when a plane crashes. I don't believe He decides which kid will walk close beside a land mine and which one will step on it. Nor do I believe that He decides the baby born over here will live to do great things and the one born over there will grow up to be a serial killer.
Certain people disagree with all this. They say, "It was God's will," regardless of whether they are talking about something good or some great tragedy. That is a convenient way of looking at life, of course. It makes Him responsible. It frees the individual from taking that responsibility upon his own shoulders. It makes life easy.
Religion can be a good thing and for many it is. But it also has been responsible for a good share of the wars since the beginning of time. That's as true today as it was in the Dark Ages. Whether it's Christians in Northern Ireland or Muslims in Iraq, it's true. For some people their religion is the one bright spot in an otherwise dreary life, and that's wonderful. But I bristle when people lay everything, good or bad, on the lap of God. Nothing anyone can say will make me believe other than I do. Most religious people don't use their faith as a cop-out that frees them of responsibility. Those that do need a reality check.

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