Some time ago, I recall hearing a song by Carrie Underwood called "Jesus, Take The Wheel". It's an uplifting country song with a strong religious message. The one problem with the song is common sense. The lady in the song is driving home and her car begins to spin out of control. The next lines are "She was so scared, she threw her hands up in the air. Jesus take the wheel. Take it from my hands." It's really a pretty song until you take a moment to think about what she did. Rather then fighting to maintain control over her car with her child in the backseat, she simply lets go of the wheel and hopes somehow everything will be alright. While in the song, everything ends up alright, what kind of message is this conveying? When in extreme danger, abandon reason and turn to faith? Seems like it. That might seem subtle until you look at the reasoning in a different context. A friend of mine's bother refused to get a car-seat for their child with the excuse "It's in God's hands and the Lord will provide." I think most people would agree: that isn't a positive statement of faith--it's nothing short of negligence and a recipe for disaster. How is it any less negligent to advocate that people should relinquish control when under crises and focus on the totally unproven supernatural power during a crucial life-threating moment?
I recall taking a flight from Baltimore, MD to Chicago, IL once and sitting next to a man who said a prayer before the flight departed. On the approach we had a little turbulence. It wasn't bad (relatively speaking), but the man was clearly uneasy about it. As often happens, we were rather bumpy until the aircraft was experiencing ground effect
right above the runway. We landed safely and to me, as I'm sure to the pilot and flight crew, it seems business as usual. The man next to me then said "It's a good thing I said a prayer before we took off." It reminds me of an infant with a pacifier. While studies show pacifier are useful within an infant's first year, it creates problems after that. When a person reaches adulthood, it's probably time to stop pretending that talking to your imaginary friend is somehow going to influence the world around you and start facing the reality. If you're going to get on a plane, do so because you feel confident the aircraft designers, flight and ground crew are competent--not because you think your faith will protect you. And stop pretending your prayers are being answered just because what normally happens, happened again.