“I’m the decider, and I decide what is best,” former President George Bush was once quoted as saying.
His much ridiculed candor actually expressed a common sentiment. Who among us doesn’t like playing God? We all like to think that we’re in control, that we know what’s good for us. The trouble is we’re often wrong.
“People who think they’re objective enough to decide what’s ‘good’ scare the crap out of me,” a longtime friend said in an email exchange the other day. “They’re a danger to themselves and others.”
We got on this topic while perusing a blog post about an atheist ad campaign for New York City subways that starts Monday. The ads pose the question: “A million New Yorkers are good without God, are you?”
Counter question: who defines “good” ?
There’s a reason we are warned to trust God rather than lean on our own understanding. The deepest pits I’ve fallen into — eyes wide open — were dug with my own hands. An educated adult, I considered myself fully capable of deciding what was best. The resulting train wreck became a teachable moment.
It’s an old story. God placed Adam & Eve in a great garden filled with whatever they needed, gave them the run of the place. His one admonition: Eat from every tree in the garden, except one. The day you eat of it, you die.
Great deal. Complete access to everything — but one thing their Creator decided wasn’t good for them. Human nature being what it is, the exception became an object of intrigue. The serpent persuaded Eve that God was holding out on her, and together A&E chose to decide for themselves what was good. Most of us are still doing it.
Whether we are atheist, agnostic or evangelical, our lives reveal what we believe. Does your life say, “I’m the decider” or “Father knows best”?