Religious Beliefs, Insurance, and “Acts of God”

Yesterday in my class on religion and science, we discussed the notion of “acts of God” and divine action. I started us off with the phrase “acts of God” as used in the realm of insurance policies, which led nicely into a discussion of whether people take that language literally, and if so, what it applies to.

It quickly dawned on me that, since some religious believers view everything as an “act of God,” if they sign an insurance policy that says they are not covered in the case of “acts of God,” then they are effectively paying a lot of money for a policy that doesn’t ever cover them for anything.

Or is it only the religious views of the insurance company that matter when it comes to coverage? If so, hadn’t we all better start asking what they are before we sign on the dotted line?

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