Defending the Faith: Sometimes, God does intervene

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  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2012 1:59 a.m.


    I do NOT reject all evidence of the existence of god.

    There is NO such evidence, so I cannot reject it!

    Nov. 21, 2012 5:02 p.m.

    Several commentors have asked why God would help us find our car keys but not help people in their worst extremities. This lack of understanding was echoed by a catholic Bishop (!) who after The Superstorm commented that he didn't understand why God would allow such things. Does ANYbody read the scriptures? God required of His own Son the worst trial of any being, ever--to save us, and to demonstrate that He had descended below ALL things. Do we forget the trial of Abraham, when he was asked to sacrifice Isaac? Lesson: there is NOTHING the Lord may not ask of us. This life WAS to be of trial--that is its raison d'etre. I commented earlier that perhaps those simple blessings were to show kindness and comfort--and build faith. The big items that SEEM unanswered are pretty obviously exactly those things with which He chooses to try us. NObody escapes this life without trials. That is WHY we are here.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Nov. 20, 2012 7:51 p.m.

    @ "A Scientist": It is interesting that you characterize my faith as "living according to fantasy." I cannot help but believe that you would find it more comforting if it were fantasy. It isn't. Additionally, I never said it was "fun," as you do. I said it was "better."

    Your statement that "God makes no empirical evidence" is inaccurate and incorrect in a number of ways (besides being an ironic declaration of a characteristic of God from someone who professes not to believe in Him).

    God certainly provides empirical evidence. You would be more accurate to say that you do not accept the evidences He provides.

    Does He in fact "make" the evidence? Therein lies a question for another forum. The evidence is there; it is empirical (perhaps you intend "empirical" to mean something else that its denotation?). Some of the evidence is spiritual; some is not. I gather that you reject all evidence of the existence of God.

    I agree with you that Santa Claus is a fantasy. I do not agree that there is any basis of comparison between the existence of Santa Claus and the existence of God.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 5:36 p.m.


    Good for you. But living according to fantasies, while fun and "better", is not reality. Children really love to believe in Santa Claus, but their enjoyment does not make Santa real.

    God makes no empirical difference.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Nov. 19, 2012 2:37 p.m.

    @ "A Scientist": I've lived in both universes. God is better.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Nov. 18, 2012 9:19 a.m.

    Imagine a universe ruled by the god religion gives us. This god is worshiped, prayed to, and is believed to "intervene" in human affairs, sometimes in ways consistent with the petitions of individuals, and sometimes not.

    Imagine another universe ruled by no god at all. Things happen according to natural laws, chance, and fortune. These happenings are sometimes consistent with the desires and whims of individuals, and sometimes not.

    There is no way any believer can distinguish between the two universes. Belief in god makes absolutely no difference at all.

  • MPeace Provo, Utah
    Nov. 16, 2012 10:58 p.m.

    If everybody knew just how close God was to them -they would be shocked. He is excellent at keeping His presence to Himself, however. Consider this - He keeps all of His laws in perfect effect everywhere -no matter what happens. His laws keep all of His creation in place. Therefore, everything everywhere is constantly in measurement in His memory, which keeps it in existence. This means He only has to want to do something anywhere and it will be done. One only need to have Him give them Atonement with Him by doing those things to have Him forgive them of any wrongdoings, and then if He wants to and if it is in His plan, he will immediately have the thing produced. All things are according to God's plans, and so we must wait on Him and not Him wait on us according to our desired plans. Has anyone reading this ever tried to write or do something - only to find out that no matter how hard they tried -they could not? Perhaps it was not in His plans. Thus we know how close we are to God.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    Nov. 16, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    Certainly all sorts of things, good and bad, happen to us every day. Whether one regards the concidence of a prayer and a relevant good experience as meaningful depends on your faith in the God you prayed to.

    Over and above coincidences, though, are instances of relevant information coming to us, including associated emotions that give that information significance. When the information is confirmed by subsequent events, we have an event that goes beyond coincidence. Since this is primarily an internal event, only the person experiencing is in a position to verify the reality of the receipt of the information.

    Then there is information that comes to us that could not have come from natural processes. President Thomas Monson related a story in General Conference in which he announced a man at the last minute as speaker in a meeting, even though he had been told the man was at another location and was not planninig to be there. Nevertheless, he was prompted to announce his name, and the man walked in at that moment, answering his own prompting to change his plans. And that kind of thing happens a lot to Mormons.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Nov. 16, 2012 12:43 p.m.

    Hey Gracie:

    I appreciate your comments, but they seem to portray a somewhat cynical and limited view of what people are capable of. Why can’t religion promote what I suggested? Some Eastern religions do exactly that… again, why we don’t see many Jain or Buddhist suicide bombers, inquisitors, or morality police trying impose their will on others (e.g., gay rights).

    I agree with you that our species has some natural tendencies towards immorality (e.g., tribal warfare, rape, etc…), but I simply reject the view that our only two choices are savagery or superstition. Or is it your contention that an agnostic or an atheist is incapable of being a good, decent human being?

    And I also agree with your point about religion being a powerful tool of control… I don’t really have anything to add to what you said since your points make a strong case for rejecting religious dogmatism altogether, especially the group or institutional variety. As the saying goes – if you can get someone to believe one thing without sufficient evidence, you can get them to believe (and do) anything.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Nov. 16, 2012 12:22 p.m.

    Res Novae,

    The only answer I can come up with is that so much of human suffering in the world is due to human neglect or even intended action. That will be judged. But for the victims, perhaps we underestimate the power of the atonement to dry the tears of the world.


    Agreed. Thank you.


    I hope you find some peace. My situation was very different but I understand the questions regarding God’s answering of prayers. Take care.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Nov. 16, 2012 11:58 a.m.

    I'm a believer, but the problems of theodicy -- including how and when God intervenes -- are vexing for many of us. There is no greater challenge to my faith than a God who answers a irritated prayer to find lost car keys when one is in a rush, and a God who does not listen to the desperate pleas of a small child who is being abused or worse.

  • Gracie Boise, ID
    Nov. 16, 2012 11:31 a.m.

    To Tyler D: "If all religions would tomorrow profess total non-violence and a flat rejection of all forms of coercion and claims of superiority, that problem would end just as fast."

    That lovely wish doesn't hold up in the world we live in. Flawed people belong to organized religions, who have the capability and inclination to do evil things. World history shows there are only very rare occasions when coercion and claims of superiority weren't a part of any society's situation. We're here to learn to reject these natural man tendencies, and it's as much a life-long pursuit as learning to understand what faith is. Whatever religion a nation and/or army claimed to follow usually has very little to do with actual behavior of a mob when push comes to shove. Many ugly, evil things have been done in the NAME of religion. Why? Because it's a powerful way to rope in followers who become confused about what their leaders are asking them to do. Followers are afraid to go against overbearing, so-called religious leaders who will punish them for standing apart.

  • Gracie Boise, ID
    Nov. 16, 2012 11:12 a.m.

    "There is as much proof for whatever intervening God you want to believe in because faith doesn't require any proof."

    Faith is a life-long educational pursuit, i.e. education of the spirit. There is much proof for those who develop their faith in order to recognize it. As they do this, proof compounds--the kind that only those who pay the price for it can ever receive and which cannot be adequately explained to anyone who doesn't know the same great thing. You can ignore faith or disparage it, but that doesn't change the reality. Lack of experience with the concept in action fails to exercise spiritual muscles that are required to grow strong to know these things. It's the exercise that develops a person's deep faith until sure knowledge replaces it on that concept. And then faith is required to learn new concepts. The cycle never ends.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Nov. 16, 2012 11:01 a.m.

    Some of the reactions to Dr. Petersen's essay illustrate why it is usually unwise to share spiritual experiences with too broad an audience.

    Since I consider the existence of God to be a provable certainty, I have no problem accepting the idea that God chooses to intervene in some cases and not in others. In fact, it's perfectly reasonable that an independent, intelligent being (even one that is not omniscient, such as a human) may behave in ways that are not always understandable to other independent, intelligent beings.

    It is also reasonable that someone interacting with such a being may know that some act was performed by that being, but may not know why. We grant such respect to our pet dogs (who are not even as independent or intelligent as we are), we ought to grant it to God (who, the evidence suggests, knows everything).

    As I have gradually come to understand the personality of God, there are a few things that I can speak of with certainty: 1. He loves me. 2. He knows more than I do. 3. He is very economical. Each of these things helps me to understand why He sometimes says "no."

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 16, 2012 9:09 a.m.

    Getting up early to meet someone at the airport as an example of divine intervention?

    How about hurricane Sandy stiffling Mitt Romney's final week of the campaign?

    Thank heavens for divine intervention!

  • Uncle Vic El Dorado Hills, CA
    Nov. 16, 2012 8:38 a.m.

    Thanks Dr. Peterson. I enjoyed your article. In answer to the question of why He would answer a trivial prayer or intervene in a situation of seemingly small moment, I personally believe it is just because He is kind. He wants to help us. These "tender mercy" moments, as Elder Bednar described them, seem to happen all the time.

    I recall driving back to my office at lunchtime after a meeting. I was thinking about lunch when I got a distinct impression to try a Japanese restaurant near my office. I had been there before, and had not been terribly impressed. I followed the impression, and found that the restaurant had changed its menu, and now offered ramen noodles. They were delicious! I took my friends over later, and it became a regular lunch place for us.

    Now, in the cosmic scheme of things, why would He care where I had lunch? He cared because He loved me, and wanted to give me a good experience. Maybe there were other reasons. Maybe our coming answered the owner's prayers for increased business. I'll never know. But I have had enough of these experiences to know they are not coincidence.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 16, 2012 7:54 a.m.

    I am LDS. I served an honorable mission. Like all RMs I desired marriage and family. I have always remained active and paid tithing. And yes I have made plenty of mistakes. Two divorces which have resulted in financial bondage I wlll never recover from and no future marriage or family prospects. Does God answer prayers. Apparently he does for many, but not all. Maybe some have more faith than others. Right now I just don't know. I am beginning to understand many of the sentiments expressed on here. So many LDS are so quick to judge others and find fault. Especially those who struggle in the faith or who don't fit their definition of an ideal family.

    Nov. 15, 2012 11:20 p.m.

    Gee. What I am finding even more astonishing is, WHY are so many people who obviously find faith ridiculous (poor souls) reading Mr. Peterson's article in the first place? to find occasion to heap ridicule on those who possess faith (and whom maybe they secretly envy because of that, having none themselves)? I can understand Mr. Peterson's articles appealing to people of faith--yet a large percentage of respondents are obviously standing on ladders so as to be able to look down upon those to a greater degree. But President Kimball put it most succinctly of anybody save Christ Himself: "Faith precedes the miracle". Faith is not built on miracles; miracles follow faith and those who have experienced this inestimable blessing can only pity you of the world. A worldly friend once said he "didn't need the help of God"--his idea of weakness. Well, I told him, don't expect it, then--God won't force his blessings on those who don't want them. But ask for them and he pours them out in such abundance. I sorrow for you who would so willingly give them up for ignorace.

  • TimBehrend Auckland NZ, 00
    Nov. 15, 2012 10:41 p.m.

    It is a characteristic of all human cultures to attribute significance to coincidence in line with larger discourses of meaning that exist in the ambient culture. Because of its universality we can assume this phenomenon reflects something about the brain of Homo sapiens. Nothing in such an experience suggests the reality of invisible beings or magic powers either in the abstract or in their million specific manifestations among the religious traditions of the world; nothing in the experience dictates against their reality. The attribution of meaning to experience is simply what the human animal does whether with magical narratives or harshly material ones. Our understanding of H. sapiens also explains why some who comment here dismiss Peterson's experience as signifying nothing, and why others pour spite and even damnation on the dismissers. Whatever Peterson's hermeneutical orientation might have been, like all humans he would have "made sense" of such an unusual experience. I've had a number of similar ones myself, some far more outlandish and improbable, as have all readers, i venture. Because gods lack authority in my own understanding of humankind and the universe, my interpretation of these personal experiences involve no invisible forces.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Nov. 15, 2012 10:00 p.m.


    I understand your point and if religion were only about profound personal experiences I would have no problem with it. But I am simply concerned that of all the reasons people use to justify acts of evil, religious certainty is at the top of the list for what will likely cause the apocalypse. If all religions would tomorrow profess total non-violence and a flat rejection of all forms of coercion and claims of superiority, that problem would end just as fast.

    The fact is ideas have consequences and there is a reason why two different oppressed groups (Tibetan Buddhists and occupied Palestinians) can produce such different reactions to their suffering. The only major difference between one mind set that spends literally decades doing nothing more than calling for peaceful dialogue, and another that blows up women and children in a pizza place, is their religious ideas.

    So can you understand that when someone starts saying things like "God told me X" or "my sacred book is the perfect word of the creator of the universe" (no matter how immoral or erroneous some of the book may be), why that makes some of us nervous?

  • Unwieldy Toaster Bluffdale, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 8:47 p.m.

    I have difficulty with the idea of taking a "leap of faith" because I don't know in what direction to leap. Should I believe in the capricious Abrahamic God of the Old Testament? or the Mormon version of God? Or maybe the Hindus have it right and there are many Gods? There is as much proof for whatever intervening God you want to believe in because faith doesn't require any proof. I feel that I could be just as justified in giving credit to the flying spaghetti monster for intervening in my life as any God you could think of. This is why a skeptical approach makes the most sense to me. (I can also wrap by brain around the idea of deism but that's about it).

    Nov. 15, 2012 8:19 p.m.

    Wow. I am astonished at the lack of faith many of the above comments reveal. As many other people can testify, miracles happen all the time. My life has been too full of them to deem "coincidence" or even "serendipity" by any amount of reason. And coincidence is largely a myth: any person who truly examines the world will find that "coincidence" is really a meaningless term for an undiscovered causality. And when something happens that can only be explained by stepping outside of faithlessness, that is the word the worldly reach for. But I have experienced so many answers to prayers in my life--often immediate--that only a fool would reach for that silly term. BUT: I have also noticed that the good Lord answers prayers the most readily that offer us comfort or convenience; when the issue is truly life-changing, vastly important, the answer is in my experience going to come more slowly--but come it will, every time. And this makes perfect sense to those who understand the purpose of life. And if you don't understand THAT, well--my sympathy.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 6:46 p.m.

    RE: Eastcoastcoug,As for the "True Christians": I don't believe God "tricks" us and will not allow us into your same heaven if we worship unintentionally "another God". Wrong,

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.(14) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:1,14).

    Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us(1John 3:16)God on the Cross.
    And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto(Exodus 3:14)
    I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I(ego) am(eimi) he, you will indeed die in your sins.” (John 8:24) Jesus quotes from Exodus saying he is God.
    Howbeit in Vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men(JS).(Mark 7:7)

  • Gracie Boise, ID
    Nov. 15, 2012 4:45 p.m.

    "My reasoning can't accept that god will make miracles for some, while others suffer. Doesn't make sense. Never has, never will."

    It isn't "hateful" to suggest that the above statement is a shallow premise. Who is so omniscient as to be able to come to that lofty conclusion? That anybody would try results in what I consider "shallow interpretations of life." There's no character assassination in pointing out that Someone infinitely greater than ourselves exists and is able to make His presence known, but faith that He will do this when He sees fit is required for us to get the greatest benefit. If one believes a Creator exists, and I do, then ascribing miracles only to coincidence, scientific understanding, freaks of nature or whatever is actually a very shallow conclusion, like teenagers who think they know more than their parents. Things of greater worth don't come so easily, including understanding of deep import. You can blame God for not fixing everything now or discount him for that. It takes faith to believe that He *will* fix all things at the most appropriate time. His creations aren't the best judges of when that is.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Nov. 15, 2012 3:31 p.m.

    Why can't we just allow people of faith to believe in something they can't see without having to insult their ability to also grasp the world of science and reason? I think there is ample room for all of it. Reason and spirituality can co-exist.

    Similarly, I don't have to diss the person who doesn't believe but allow them also their freedom and leave the door open for them to join me someday if they wish.

    As for the "True Christians": I don't believe God "tricks" us and will not allow us into your same heaven if we worship unintentionally "another God". My readings of the NT show that the only ones Christ condemns are the hypocrites. Strangely the ones who put him to death were the ones holding strictly to the Mosaic law, not accepting anything new, and claiming that Christ had a devil.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Nov. 15, 2012 2:44 p.m.

    dt lenox - I don't discount other peoples experiences, and I don't criticize. I just don't attribute those good things that happen to god, just as I don't attribute bad things to satan. Miraculous things happen all the time, I admit that. But miracles don't have to be because of god. It can be luck, circumstance, or a combination of alot of other factors. I fully admit that I may be wrong about all of this, but it is what I believe at this point. My reasoning can't accept that god will make miracles for some, while others suffer. Doesn't make sense. Never has, never will. Innocent kids being killed is pretty serious, and I can't see god allowing that to happen while he focuses on answering prayers of those who need to find their car keys. I am happy that some people do believe it, and there is no problem with that.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Nov. 15, 2012 2:41 p.m.

    After years of trying faith, skepticism became the rock on which I built. Now I see inherent pitfalls in either extreme. There’s no shame or weakness in admitting that there is much we don’t know.

  • dtlenox Olympia, WA
    Nov. 15, 2012 1:42 p.m.

    You miss the whole point of this article, one of which is that no one can understand the mind of God and no one can fully understand why some prayers are answered and some are not, why some bad things are prevented and why some are not. Those who don't believe in God, or who are doubtful of miracles, will tend to doubt them no matter how miraculous or extraordinary they may be. This is why people don't often share miracles with the general public, especially those miracles that are sacred to them, as they know that it is wasted on those who are doubtful of such things. I see it as unfortunate that you have lost your faith, but am grateful to God for my own. It has been a huge influence for good in my own life, and my life would be very lacking in direction and meaning without it. We can't expect to be able to explain everything that happens, and yes it does seem like alot of stuff appears to be random, but we also need to focus on all the good that happens as well.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 1:32 p.m.

    Re: "I have trouble giving credit to an anthropomorphic, white, bearded, pro-american God for intervening at all in my life."

    But, you apparently have no trouble at all insisting that others must adopt a sophomorically narrow, wildly improbable view of the universe, based on nothing more than imprecise and uninformed observation of a laughably infinitesimal fraction of 1% of it?


    Mathematically, the probability that a Being with the characteristics we attribute to God does not exist somewhere in our unimaginably huge, infinitely diverse, inconceivably old series of universes is vanishingly small.

  • Kazbert VAIL, AZ
    Nov. 15, 2012 12:55 p.m.

    I am an engineer, and I once worshipped at the altars of math and science. I saw religions as did Marx – the opiate of the otherwise hopeless masses. It took a long time for me to realize that I wasn’t denying God, but rather rejecting the many well-intentioned falsehoods I had heard about God.

    It is hypocritical and arrogant to demand honesty and then presume to tell others whether or not their personal experiences were real or imagined based upon whether or not you have had similar experiences yourself. There are experiences that bear a witness of God, a witness so powerful that it would be nothing less than cowardice and dishonesty to deny it for what it was.

    Why would God touch our lives in seemingly random ways? Sometimes strong faith requires believing, and sometimes it requires trusting. Making a leap of belief does not come easily to me, but I have learned to make large leaps of trust. I accept as genuine those undeniable witnesses of God I have received, while at the same time leaving it up to God’s wisdom to intervene, or not, in whatever way seems best.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Nov. 15, 2012 12:35 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska - That is a great story. How about this one: A woman in one of my mission areas had cancer. She asked for a blessing from the AP's to heal her. The gave her a blessing and commanded that she be healed. She died 3 days later. Or this one: A family in my home stake prays to be safe on their road trip to st. George. They get by another driver and their mini van rolls and takes the lives of 3 of them. Concidence?

    Gracie - your hateful attitude towards those of a different view than you is astonishing, but not surprising. One of the main reasons I don't go to church aside from not believing in it anymore is because people there exibit such un christlike attitudes to those who don't believe. You claims that everybody who doesn't believe in god's hand in all things good is living a "shallow interpretation of life." That is pretty sad that you think that, and it isn't true. I look at things different, and anybody is free to disagree with me. Calling people shallow is kind of juvenile.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 12:20 p.m.

    RE: Defending the(Christian) Faith: “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.(1 Peter 3:15 NLT) In context it should be Christ centered Apologetics, not Mormon.

    I do not know the meaning of all things True, Paul in context, For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then Face to Face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1Cor 13:12)The Christian will know the Lord to the fullness extent possible for a finite being, similar to the way the lord knows the Christian fully and infinitely. This will not be true until the Lord returns.
    Verse 13, And now these three remain: faith, hope and love(agape). But the greatest of these is love(agape).”As translate correctly”. See, Moroni 7:45-47 . "But charity(s/b,love) is the pure love of Christ”. Poor KJV translation.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 15, 2012 12:19 p.m.

    Only The Cross and Brahmabull: A wagon train arrives at Hauns Mill traveling from Ohio on its way to Far West, Missouri. They stop at Hauns Mill for the purpose of resting before travelling on. Before they are able to rest a mob of over 200 men attack killing men and young boys. One of those killed is Sardis Smith along with his father Warren Smith. They are survived by two brothers, mother Amanda Barnes Smith and three daughters. The youngest boy Alma has been critically wounded with his entire him basically shot a way.

    Amanda looks into the eyes of her son and sees no fear. She asks him if he believes the Lord can make a new hip he says yes. In the process she prays to know what to do to heal her son. It is cold, damp and pretty much in the middle of no where. She receives knowledge to make a mud pack and use of moss to clean and dress the wound. She has no knowledge of such things as stated in her own journal. He will walk into the Great Salt Lake with no limp. Coincidence.

  • OnlytheCross Bakersfield, CA
    Nov. 15, 2012 11:44 a.m.

    Those of us who left the altered universe begun in 1830 feel your pain, too, Dr. Petersen. It's more than a far away galaxy in which you reside.

    Come check out the real Universe, fully described and revealed in God's original Word. Let's keep that fact clear while you commiserate. And that is the very reason that you are befuddled and musing. Get anchored and you'll be grounded by the One Who holds you in His hand, "And no one can take them out of My hand."

    He Who holds all things together also sends His messengers/angels (Malachim-Hebrew).

    All the answers are found on the profound Book of Colossians.

  • OnlytheCross Bakersfield, CA
    Nov. 15, 2012 11:24 a.m.

    When you are connected to the God of the Universe, you know exactly when He is intervening in your physical life.

    When you are hoping, musing and believing on a different God than the One revealed in His Word, you will wonder and write fluff pieces like this. You'll write and preach sermons about 8 ft. Quakers on the moon, polygamous men-god-evolved Dieties, and then write your own version of The Holy Bible.

    And not a single verse quoted...

    My people perish for lack of wisdom.

  • Gracie Boise, ID
    Nov. 15, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    Reading the above comments shows a sad state of human behavior: come out of the woodwork to trash something precious that another has recounted whenever one doesn't experience it himself in the same way, personally, nor understand. No one is so blind as one who will not see. If this makes you happy in life, I feel sorry for you all. You're missing so much. But it's your choice and far be it from anybody else to trash your own shallow interpretations of life.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Nov. 15, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    The sudden thought at 6 am to go to the airport to pick somebody up cannot be equated to god. It is called your mind. It is similar to that sudden thought that can pop into your head out of nowhere "I left the stove on", or "I left the water running." I have actually done both of those. Most of the time I go down stairs to find that I was wrong, the stove is off. But once I actually did leave the stove on, and I suddenly awoke after midnight with that thought and went and turned it off. Nothing caught on fire, and we probably would have been fine. But I can't say that god or an angel woke me up, because what about all of the times I have been wrong and the stove already off? Your subconscious mind is an amazing thing. No god that is fair could intervene when I need my car keys and can't find them, but let children be killed or starve to death. Prayer only works when the outcome matches the prayer. Odds are the outcome would have been the same without the prayer in the first place.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Nov. 15, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    Attributing an intuition or coincidence to God (even if the more likely explanation is simply our own confirmation bias) is not all that troubling – as a previous post said, “whatever helps you get through life.”

    The troubling part to me is when people extrapolate (by wild leaps in logic) from personal spiritual experiences, entire historical, theological and metaphysical worldviews complete with enough superstition and magic to embarrass Tolkien. Sad that 400 years of science has still not been enough to wake us out of our Iron Age stupor.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 15, 2012 8:13 a.m.

    Life itself is a mystery with amazing unknows and that is the nature of nature itself without the condition of an unknown superior or higher intelligence determining or forcing issues. Nature is god. If Mr. Peterson wishes to get deep into it he might ask himself why he even woke up that morning, much less why he went to the airport. It is a world of chance, numbers, probabilites and the unknown. And of course a little common sense can go a long ways toward understanding nature and its ways. It is interesting that Mr. Peterson works at a university but dosn't consult the psychology department for understanding of human intuition and other motivators.

  • Unwieldy Toaster Bluffdale, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 7:59 a.m.

    I have trouble giving credit to an anthropomorphic, white, bearded, pro-american God for intervening at all in my life. Especially when it would seem that God intervenes at the same rate as a coincidence. I dont understand why God would put one cancer patient in remission and not another. And why does God intervene in the mundane (lost car keys) but allows all sorts of atrocities and human suffering to occur. To me life can be explained with this simple statement: stuff happens.

  • Whos Life RU Living? Ogden, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 7:33 a.m.

    If you knew the date of someone arriving to the airport, but not the time and you were responsible to pick them up, what time would you be there?

    Seems reasonable to show up early. Not sure how this gives credit to god, but as JoeBlow stated, "Whatever helps you get through life."

    With superstitious individuals, it is guaranteed that superstition will always play a role in the occurrence of rare coincidences/occurences. Perspective is a huge factor.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Nov. 15, 2012 6:15 a.m.

    Depending on your prospective, you can either see God's hand in everything or nothing.

    What I find is that when good things happen (lost child found) God gets credit and it is irrefutable proof that prayers are answered.

    If that child, instead is found face down in a river, "God had other plans"

    Good and bad things happen to good and bad people. Always has, always will.

    Whatever helps you get through life.