God Never Gives You More Than You Can Handle

Comedian Tig Notaro just released a standup set she did a few months ago during which she spoke candidly about her cancer, her mother’s death, her pneumonia, and her breakup… just a devastating series of events for anyone to go through. Even moreso when it happens within a few month span.

Tig Notaro (via The New Yorker)

The whole set is heartbreaking but funny, depressing but uplifting. Definitely worth listening to. But there’s one part in particular that stood out to me.

It takes place about 20 minutes into the 30-minute set, after Notaro has talked about all the shit she’s had to deal with. She talks about the cliché people often tell you when you’re struggling with life…:

What’s nice about all of this is that you can always rest assured that God never gives you more than you can handle.

[Pause]

Never.

Never.

When you’ve had it, God goes, “All right, that’s it.”

I just keep picturing God going, “You know what…? I think she can take a little more.”

And then the angels are standing back, going, “God, what are you doing? You’re out of your mind!

And God was like, “No, no, no, I really think she can handle this.”

Why, God? Like, why? Why?

“I don’t know, I just, you know, trust me on this. She can handle this.”

God is insane, if there at all.

What an honest reaction to an awful comment. If and when things get better for Notaro, it’ll be because of doctors, friends, and her own high spirits. Not because God is looking out for her best interests.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Sindigo

    “God never gave the 7 year old with terminal cancer who spent half her life in abject agony more than she could handle. But she’ll get her reward in heaven.” 

    Oh well, that’s okay then.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=775209902 Stephanie Thayer

    I think the comment ” God never gives you more than you can handle” is the absolute worst thing you can say to a person that’s suffering with cancer or has just lost a member of their family. You’re basically telling them that they don’t know their own pain. I think many people say these cliche things when they really don’t know what to say or are simply too uncomfortable to express themselves genuinely.

    • scinquiry

       It’s right up there with with “Everything happens for a reason.”  Really!?  Do people even think of the ramifications of that vacuous statement?  Just drives me crazy!!  I’m pissed off just writing this little blurb.

      • HughInAz

        And then there’s, “God always answers your prayers, it’s just that sometimes the answer is no.” Fuck you very much, god.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      Agreed on the “don’t know what to say” thing. The two friends I appreciated most while grieving for a loved one were the two that simply said, “I have no idea how you feel, no idea what to say, but I’m here and I care.”

      Save the cliches. Honesty is much more comforting.

    • Nes

      Actually that is never said in the bible,its a misquote,what is said is that God will not allow you you to be tempted more than you can bear,even Jesus while on the cross spoke of the UNBEARABLE pain,but the point is whilst in the midst of suffering,you ALWAYS turn to God who can do anything ,cast all thy burdens on Him.

  • http://twitter.com/shadowmousey shadowmousey

    Someone said this to my friend after her son and two grandsons were murdered by her daughter-in-law. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to being arrested for assault and battery.

    • Gringa

       That is absolutely horrible.  Why don’t people hear themselves when they speak?

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

      Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. Had you been arrested and prosecuted, were I in the jury, I would’ve had a hard time finding you guilty.

    • Artor

      Gosh, you’d think those grandkids should have been able to handle the murdering that Gawd gave them. I guess that shoots down that whole idea.

    • Baby_Raptor

      I wouldn’t have blamed you. 

  • Joshua Allen

    According to an interview she did on Fresh Air, she is doing much better, only a 5% chance of remission after a double mastecomy and no metastasis.

  • Pisk_A_Dausen

    I’ve yet to hear what it would look like if God gave someone more than they could handle. I mean, since it apparently never happens it might be hard to define, but then how do you know?

    [possible triggers in this paragraph] Life heaped so much shit on you that you committed suicide? A disease took your life long before you could find out what’s so horrible about being a teenager? You snapped under the pressure and decided to open fire on a school yard? No, none of that counts as getting more than you can handle. Because that doesn’t ever happen.

    Or is there an unspoken “as long as you have enough faith” or some other condition in there somewhere?

    • Levon Mkrtchyan

      The worst thing to me about the “god never gives you more than you can handle” comment is that it basically says that the people who caved under the weight of it all *could* have handled it if they had only tried harder.  The comment is used to theological stance that these people are going to hell.

      • Andrew B.

         Yeah, God shits all over you, then tries to make you feel bad about it for succumbing to it.  Same thing with dipshits that say “committing suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do.”  Yeah, cause shame is always such a great tool to motivate people out of crippling illnesses.

      • AxeGrrl

        The worst thing to me about the “god never gives you more than you can handle” comment is that it basically says that the people who caved under the weight of it all *could* have handled it if they had only tried harder.

        You nailed it.  That’s exactly it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001229091559 Beckie Samuel

    That comment is right up there with, “…is in a better place”

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

      An acquaintance lost her baby a couple of weeks after birth. I am told someone dished out that disgusting platitude. She began sobbing and replied that the best place for her daughter was in her arms, and nowhere else.

      I swear at times I get a hint of understanding why it would be okay to beat the living fuck out of another human being.

      • Miss_Beara

        Why was she even born at all if she would have been “in a better place” to begin with? 

        Illogical. Nobody better say that nonsense to me.

  • Sailor

    If you are alive you can clearly handle it. When it kills you God has taken you home. Unbeatable logic.

  • jose

    Bought it. I wonder if the money goes to her or to Louis CK? Judging by american healthcare costs and that double mastectomy she underwent, I’m guessing she could use the takings.

  • jose

    Bought it. I wonder if the money goes to her or to Louis CK? Judging by american healthcare costs and that double mastectomy she underwent, I’m guessing she could use the takings.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gskowal Greg Kowal

      I think she said on the Professor Blastoff podcast that the money is going to some Cancer fundraising. That’s what I remember but I’m not 100% sure.

      • jose

         Thanks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.tucker.1654 Michael Tucker

      Louis is a generous guy. His interview with Terry Gross didn’t touch on the funds but I would be extremely surprised if he kept any of the proceeds.

      • Willytom32

        he keeps a buck, she gets the other four.

    • KevinRR

      Louis CK said, either in an email or on the site, that he gets $1.00 off of each sale and she gets $4.00 and that she was planning to give a portion of it to charity.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      For every $5, $1 goes to Louis CK, $4 goes to Notaro. Of her share, she said she’ll be donating some portion to research.

  • Jamief

    Can’t remember who said it, but I agree with the logical follow-up questions: If that’s so, then if I were a weaker person, would my (Mom, dog, lover, etc.) still be alive? I’m to blame for people I love suffering and dying because I’m strong? 

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.tucker.1654 Michael Tucker

      I recall this from an episode of “Thirtysomething” when one of the main character’s mother died.  This was her response to her priest making this inane statement.  Shut him right up.  

  • BeasKnees

    Heard part of this set over the weekend on NPR and loved it.  I greatly admire her honesty and strength as she’s dealt with these things.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_722JM2BE6YISLQ3KWROXGHBBXQ Joe Mama

    My honest reaction to that kind of comment is to deck the speaker.

  • MattsMom

    As the mom of a child with multiple disabilities who I raised by myself, I heard this a lot. And it made me cringe every single time. I would respond that while this is definitely more than I can handle, I don’t have the luxury of falling apart, because my son needs me to keep it together for him. I don’t think people realize how hurtful this statement is, or this little gem: “Just give it all to god. When you’re overwhelmed, just put it in his hands”.  Hell of a lot of good that ever did anybody.

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

      I’m so sorry to hear about this MattsMom. It doesn’t help that a lot of people whom I’ve known to use this line say it smugly, or condescendingly, as if this little snippet of “wisdom” makes it all better.

      Speaking as a fellow parent, I must say I admire your resolve, and sympathize with you for your hardship. I know what you mean when you say you don’t have the luxury of falling apart. Your trials sound much harder than mine. I wish you and your family better times.

    • dairyking887

      Yes, I love the “give it all to god” statement.  Because when I do that, that’s when I really skirt with homelessness.  Because, right, if I don’t try, “god” will just take care of things.  Right.  Money falls out of the sky.  Houses drop in my lap.  Relationships just happen.  God just showers me with gifts.  

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      You need a prayer mat and some miracle spring water from Peter Popoff and once you follow the instructions god will fix all of your problems, even heal you child and I know this as fact because the TV tells me so.

  • RevWubby

    Of course He gives people more than they can handle.  We even have a special word for all the people “blessed” in such a manner:

    Dead.

    • Gus Snarp

      I’d include severe PTSD and some other mental illnesses associated with extreme stress as “not handling it” too. Obviously that will never do, since it makes the whole statement so completely farcical. 

      • dairyking887

        I’ve got an extreme anxiety disorder.  It is a multigenerational pattern in my family, and it is utterly unmanageable.  My life has been destroyed by it.  Yes, I’m still alive, but it’s been a pale life, a shadow life, a life of “what ifs” on a monumental level.  If there is a god, that god has given me far more than I can “handle,” if by “handle” we mean being able to function and live life well.  I just wish my GAD would go away, but it’s intractable and I am no onto my umptenth medication trial.  Thanks, god!  

        • HughInAz

          Man, that sucks – I don’t know what to say! I hope you find something that helps.

    • Miss_Beara

      But then they get rewarded in heaven. See, there is a silver happy fun cotton candy cloud for every situation! And god still gets all of the glory…

      My head hurts just thinking about it.

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    The Sky Fairy never gives you more than you can handle. Riiiight. Tell that to someone who’s committed suicide.

    If anyone has ever said that bullshit line to a serious burn victim, or to someone who had to bury one of their children, I hope they got a very hard punch right in the fucking mouth.

    • MG

      Yeah, people were saying bullshit like that to my brother, thinking they were “helping” him cope with his depression. And they were doing it pretty much right up to the point where he put the gun in his mouth.

      And then the rest of us were treated to the “he’s in a better place” crap.

      • MG

        And then the rest of us were treated to the “he’s in a better place” crap.

        Oh–and then there were my asshole fundy cousins who stood around at the funeral wondering out loud why somebody would “choose” to go to hell.

  • SJH

    I’ve always had trouble with this saying. I think we do sometimes get more than we can handle thus suicide. I personally do not like to use this statement because it implies that God is actually giving the person their suffering. It can also be somewhat insulting to speak for a person and tell them what they can and cannot handle. Rather than hitting a suffering person with cliches I think it best to simply love and support the person. Keep your words to a minimum. Do your best to shut up and listen.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5PUSUN5FRD57JFDMFS2XWUG7BI Lacie

    Of course they’re right, because once you’ve had all you can handle, you go to “a better place,” usually “with god.” You know, it’s best not to question these things, “he works in mysterious ways,” after all.

    Of all the disrespectful crap to say to someone during a time of suffering, this is one of the worst. I suppose it is easiest to fill the awkward void that’s left when someone gives bad news with stupid catch phrases, but personally I’d rather hear, “Come on down! You’re the next contestant on Death Roulette!”

  • Guest

    Why do people feel that they suffer so much and still want to continue living? If I hate this world so much I’d commit suicide. The fact that people want to live when they have terminal illnesses and brave being refugees in the cargo holds and rickety boats, shows that human have some unknown reason for wanting to live. Actually, if those who hate the world so much all commit suicide, there will be more oxygen for the rest of us.

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

      People don’t commit suicide because they hate the world you fucking douchecake. People commit suicide because the pain they feel, whether emotional or physical or both, is so overwhelming they’ll do anything, even put a gun in their mouth, to STOP THE AGONY.

      Go use that wondrous thing known as a “library” and educate yourself before pretending to engage in discourse again.

      • Guest

        So a straight A student is telling me that? Or a Harvard graduate? Maybe IQ140?

        • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

          My educational background is irrelevant. What’s relevant is you clearly demonstrating your utter ignorance regarding reasons for suicide, you piece of shit.

          Didn’t you say some time ago you were never coming back here because you couldn’t handle the tone of the place or some other such bullshit? You’re a brittle piece of work.

          • Guest

            I never said I was not coming back. How could I have. Making fun of dumb people is fun. Your comment really make me feel like coming back more often. Qualifications are always important. Only those who don’t have much say that!

            • Baby_Raptor

              “Making fun of dumb people is fun.”

              Yeah, you’re a real piece of work. Immoral AND too dumb to not project!

    • David McNerney

      If that comment had any bearing on reality, then people wouldn’t commit suicide.

      Bad new, they do.  In huge numbers – and as this is that case the only logical conclusion is that the dialogue above must continue with:

      ‘Ooops… Looks like I gave that guy a bit too much for him to handle.  My bad – sorry about that guys, I screwed up.  Hey! I’m not perfect… (snigger) just kidding.  Ok, people let’s try better on the next one.’

      ‘Ooops…’

    • Deven Kale

       The reason most people want to live isn’t unknown. It’s pretty well-known in fact. Creatures which desire to live tend to live long enough to reproduce and therefore spread the genes which help foster that desire. Creatures which don’t desire to live tend to die off rather quickly, and don’t spread their genes. It’s all just evolution.

    • Glasofruix

        The fact that people want to live when they have terminal illnesses and
      brave being refugees in the cargo holds and rickety boats, shows that
      human have some unknown reason for wanting to live.

      It’s called survival instinct and it’s pretty much hardwired in our brain.

  • njew84

    I don’t know why I continue to come to this website and continue to post my opinions but for some reason I keep coming back to see what is happening in the atheist world. I have nothing against atheists, my mom is an atheists and I love her very much, we just don’t talk about God much.

    But to get to my point, I am here to give my two cents, strictly opinions and my intent is not to offend anyone. I care about my mother and people like her more than anyone, people who have never had faith or have lost faith. It eats at me night and day and I think this is why I cannot get away from this website.

    “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”, okay this is how I see it… We are sinful by nature, the human way is our way, and our way is sinful. For those of you with kids maybe this you can relate? I love my kids, I want nothing more but for them to do the right thing whether it be stay in school and get an education or follow Christ and lead a Christian life, I want them to listen to me because I think I know what is best for them. When they disobey me I punish them, before they disobey me I try and tell them the consequences for their actions and make sure they’re well aware before they screw up. It’s human nature to rebel and do it on our own. When we screw up we must face the consequences. If there wasn’t a punishment we would continue to do whatever we pleased and never know the difference until tragedy hit and its too late. I strongly believe bad things happen to good people as well as bad people for “good” reason even if that “bad” thing seems unnecessary or completely illogical. I do believe “everything happens for a reason” even if that reason doesn’t directly relate to the issue. God is trying to teach us something. What is he trying to teach us? Honestly I can only guess it is his way of telling us this is an imperfect world for our imperfections and there is something better that he has planned for us. He loves us but he cannot make us listen that is the free will he has given us. He told us how to live through his word, he showed us how to live through his Son, and if you let him he will guide you with his Holy Spirit. I know many here won’t agree, many will mock me and make fun of me, but I hope that at least one of you can understand and at least one I have helped.

    • amycas

       “God is trying to teach us something. What is he trying to teach us?
      Honestly I can only guess it is his way of telling us this is an
      imperfect world for our imperfections and there is something better that
      he has planned for us.”

      You started out talking about how you have to punish your kids when they do something wrong and about how you always explain clearly to your children what they did and what the punishment would be. Then you compare this to how shitty things happen and it must be god telling us something. Question: Why can’t god be as forthright with us as you are with your children? You said right there in the quoted section that “God is trying to teach us something,” then you wonder about what it is xe’s trying to teach us. Tell your god next time xe gives somebody cancer to please clearly explain to that person why they got cancer and what they can do in the future to prevent it–there are lots of children with cancer who could use this information.

      Your crap about free will also makes no sense. Here, read this: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2012/10/on-free-will/

    • Ouigui

      Shorter version: “Illness and tragedy is a spanking from God, maybe vaguely for something you did wrong, but mostly to remind you who’s the boss. But buck up, ’cause it hurts him more than it hurts you, and he knows how much of a whuppin’ you can handle. Bend over!”

      Y’know, at least your Old Testament bully God had the decency to explain most of his reasons for smiting, even if they were arbitrary at times. None of this namby-pamby “guess why bad stuff happens” BS you’re peddling.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Can I ask you something? 

      Do you realize that your god created you to fail? He created you with free will, knowing you would mess up and he’d have to punish you. He KNEW if he gave you free will, you would go against his wishes and he’d “have to” punish you.

      How do you reconcile this? How do you consider it love? How can you hold a being who did this up as the height of morality?

    • Isilzha

      Awww….someone’s here who “cares about us” and is going to “care” us right to jeebus!

      BTW, there’s no such thing as sin and we are not sinful by nature.  And if you’re only a decent person because you fear some divine judgment, you’re a pretty pathetic excuse for a human.

    • RobertoTheChi

      What a load of insulting bullshit! So what you’re basically saying is my mother died a horrible, painful death and I also am being punished by being disabled and in terrible pain 24/7 because your demented god is punishing me or trying to teach me a lesson because we’re all sinful by nature.

      I am a mother and your example of god punishing his children is an insane idea. No, you’re way off base if you thought giving that example to parents to help us understand the reason for pain and suffering from your sadistic imaginary god is going to help us understand. If parents acted the way your imaginary friend acts then we would be in prison and our children would be taken from us (and rightfully so).

      I really hope that you have NEVER said this to anyone that is/has suffered a tragedy. That is unless you want to have a mouthful of broken teeth.

    • RobertoTheChi

      I don’t know why you keep coming back here either to spout off your crazy bullshit. Your post was not only insane…it was insulting. There is no god and you’re wasting your one and only life by following a sick and cruel imaginary being.

  • Don Gwinn

    In print, it’s honest, but you’d never understand how funny it was to hear her say it.  It really is an amazing performance, and it only costs $5.  It’s more than worth it.  It’s a half hour of completely brutal standup honesty that’s funny.

  • HughInAz

    When I was growing up, I once went to a wake after a neighbor died. The priest was trying to console his widow with the usual platitudes, “God wouldn’t have sent you this cross to bear unless he knew you were strong enough to carry it.” The woman replied, “Well then father, I wish I was a weaker woman and then maybe God wouldn’t have taken him away from me.”

    • AxeGrrl

      Perfect response.

  • guest

    I heard that part on This American Life. It’s one of those things that makes you feel guilty about laughing. Hope she turns out ok.

  • http://twitter.com/yjmbobllns Yojimbo Billions

    I’ve always enjoyed the podcast she co-hosts, Professor Blastoff, and this whole set is pretty amazing.

  • Georgina

    “God never gives you more [pain, suffering] than you can handle” but it does give you too much money, which is why it is necessary to give so much of it to the local shamans.

  • Guest

    Another obnoxious thing that people say is “I’ll pray for you”.  I KNOW they mean well, but as an atheist, this irritates me.  Especially people who know I’m an atheist but still say it anyway! If I say, “I’m going to the doctor for a checkup”, then I get “I’ll pray for you”.  When my father-in-law was dying, I was texted, e-mailed and told over and over “I’ll pray for you”, and almost all of these people KNOW that I’m an atheist!  Why don’t they just say “I’m not going to do anything for you!”  Hey, at least bring dinner over – that would be useful.

    • TabbyD

      Oops, sorry for the duplicate comment!

  • TabbyD

    Another obnoxious thing that people say is “I’ll pray for you”.  I’m sure they mean well, but as an atheist, it’s so irritating.  If I say “I’m going to the doctor for a check-up”, then I get “I’ll pray for you”.  When my father-in-law was dying, I was texted, e-mailed, and told daily “I’ll pray for you” and almost all of the people who said this KNOW that I’m an atheist.  It’s so unhelpful – why don’t they just say “I’m not doing anything for you”?  Hey, bring me dinner instead – at least that would be doing something useful.

  • njew84

    God created this world for the sole purpose to teach us what it’s like when we are disobedient, so I guess if you want to look at it as he created us to fail, I would say I guess that’s a fair statement. If he created us to succeed on our own without him why would we need him? Atheist want to completely get rid of God, they want nothing to do with God. Some begin their life with God but when he doesn’t meet their needs they abandon him. Wake up call, God is a selfish being and he created you to be in a relationship with him. That’s it! Nothing else. I’m sorry if its cruel, but I promise you this, it doesn’t have to be this way, there IS a better place waiting for you. Don’t throw it away because you are over educated with things that don’t even matter. The evidence is overwhelming and if you can’t see it then I’m truly sorry. I know you don’t see it. The enemy has blinded you from the truth and he will continue to work against God because he hates him and he HATES YOU! God loves you, but he cannot make you love him.

    • RobertoTheChi

      What is this overwhelming evidence that you speak of?

      Wake up! There is no god and you’re wasting your life on a fairy tale.

      • njew84

        You have to let him control your life, surrender to him. I know you don’t believe in him and its very difficult to do so… I don’t know your situation or what sect you were apart of or if you’ve ever been religious or not but the bible is just rules and stories, the relationship itself you do not need a book for. God is always with you but if you don’t want him to fill you with his spirit he won’t. I’ve been through suffering and I’ve asked “Why does God allow these thing happen to me?” The truth is God doesn’t cause things to happen, these things happen because this is an imperfect world and naturally bad things happen. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t sometimes intervene. Just because he doesn’t however does not mean he is punishing you, he has a reason behind it. Regardless he wants you to ask him for help, he wants us to need him. Just as a man wants to feel needed and wants to be someone’s rock, God wants us to want him to protect us. You have to have faith and trust him no matter what. If you don’t you will never see the truth, you will never know unconditional love and you will continue to suffer and fail. We need God, and that is how he designed us, to NEED HIM! Wake up there is a God quit wasting your life on material evidence for an idea that has been blown up by media and scientist and the enemy to confuse you and distract you from you creator! I promise you, there is a heaven!

        • Pisk_A_Dausen
          • njew84

            God doesn’t torture people, that is the enemy. God doesn’t throw people into hell, he simply gives people what the want, separation from God. Also simply believing in Jesus as our savior isn’t going to get us into heaven and if that’s how you lived as a Christian then I can see why you didn’t feel the Holy Spirit inside you. I will say this again, we were created to have a relationship with God not to “believe” in him, believing in God or Jesus isn’t going to do anything for you unless you have a relationship with Him and live it. Jesus turned many people away because they were fans and not followers, they wanted all the miracles and the good stuff but when they had to give up something of their own they didn’t want anything to do with him. As long as it was good for them they were right there cheering Jesus on. Bad things happen to EVERYONE, it’s just a matter of when. Sometimes people suffer much more than others but true followers NEVER give up. Being in a relationship with God is not an easy thing just as marriage isn’t an easy thing. They both require unconditional love to work and without it, you will fail. It takes hard work and dedication to succeed, but with God anything is possible, without him nothing is possible.

            • Baby_Raptor

              Why would I want a relationship with a deity who created me to fail and be punished? Why would I want a relationship with a deity who thinks I’m a piece of trash fit only to breed based on the gender he created me as?

              • njew84

                Failure comes when you give up. God doesn’t cause you to fail, you do.

            • Ouigui

              You know, things don’t magically become true just because you repeat them over and over. You keep making assertions about your God and his weird passive aggressive love for humanity, all without any evidence to back up your rambling. All you’ve said boils down to, “Trust me, there is a Christian God, with inscrutable motives for allowing suffering. Nevertheless, I know all these other *really specific* things he wants us to do, so we’d better do them, because he’s really real!” Yeah, great reasoning skills there, pilgrim.

              By the way, fuck you very much for conflating scientists with “the enemy”, by which I assume you mean Satan or some such nonsense. I get enough of that bullshit from my local crazy Congressman. If science is of the devil, I expect you’ll want to stop using electronics, modern medicine, cars, and even plastics. Otherwise you’re tainted by the fruits of that wicked materialist mindset, you hypocrite.

              • njew84

                Science is not a bad thing when it’s used for good. Science initially started try and give evidence for things like God and over the years it has changed from trying to prove God exists to trying to prove he doesn’t.

        • amycas

          “You have to let him control your life, surrender to him.”

          Again, abusive relationship. I will not surrender to any man, or let him control my life.

        • Shivers9

          Spare me that god is trying to teach me a lesson. Do you know what gastroparesis is? Look it up. Severe naseau 24/7, abdominal pain that makes you scream,  and simply being unable to eat since your stomach is gradually going to stop working. Literally starving to death is really a great way to “come back” to god. :(

          • njew84

            That is very sad, I’m assuming this happened to someone you know? I would like to tell them, you know there is a better life to come, there is hope, there is a way to feel pain free. According to many of you however, after all of that, we die. Very encouraging.

        • Miss_Beara

          This is HILARIOUS!! 

          Goodness gracious I sure needed a laugh. 

          I don’t know if this person is serious, but I had a friend, I have a cousin, aunt and uncle who pretty much believes this. Not everything but enough. And that is too much. 

    • Giscindy1

       I have been in abusive relationships before and know one when I see one. No thanks! I’m good on my own

    • KJ

       [citation needed]

    • Severalspeciesof

       “God created this world for the sole purpose to teach us what it’s like when we are disobedient

      So, when your kids start to drive will you be tampering with the car’s brake lines to teach them not to drive too fast?

  • Nankay

    I attended a funeral of a man who died suddenly and unexpectedly. The minister was a close friend of the deceased and gave a very emotional and very interesting sermon. His point was this: He didn’t want to hear platitudes such as “It’s God’s plan.  It’s God’s will. God knows best. etc. etc.”  The minister felt this showed a lack of respect/ a shallowness  toward god.  If ‘we’  really took God seriously, we should be angry with him when these things happen;  literally shake our fist at him and demand to know WHY.   as an atheist, I thought that was a refreshingly honest take on things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Buchholz/1203282337 Christopher Buchholz

    The problem is not really about God, it is about an ignorant person trying to make you feel better, but instead sounding like they are minimizing your problems. For instance, you could also tell someone “Remember what Nietzsche said: whatever does not kill you makes you stronger”, but that would be equally ignorant and borderline cruel to say to someone in pain.

    At work we had a counselor come in when someone’s child died and tell us basically what to do and not do, and the “nots” were saying anything to do with God or that there was a plan or reason for what happened. Also not to tell them they will be able to move on someday, or that it will get better, or anything like that. This may be fine to discuss in philosophy, but not to tell someone in pain. Even Christians don’t want to hear about how God had a plan that involved taking their loved ones away.

    Even when we don’t say those things specifically, when something goes wrong, we might say “it will be alright” which often can sound like “your problems are not a big deal” if we say it right away, instead of first saying “im sorry that sucks; can I do anything for you?”

    So I think, the main problem is someone maybe trying to make themselves feel better, or not empathizing enough, rather than the philosophical one of is it true or not.

    But from a philosophical standpoint, the question of does pain help you overcome, is there ever too much, etc, are certainly worthy of discussion. Just not at the time you are in pain. Of course for both this and Neitzsche’s quote i think it’s pretty obvious that the ideas are false, things can make you weaker without killing you, you can experience more than you can handle. But those sayings may be valuable as a way to prepare ourselves for trials, to help us stay positive and overcome, to think about them before, not to be told them by some idiot after.

  • Hilary

    I know a few Holocaust survivors.  Yeah.  God didn’t give ~6 million people more then they could handle.  Right.  Along with how many other people were killed in WWII? Anybody got the stats on civilian casualties for that decade?  I’ve heard that ~ 6 million non-Jews were also killed in the camps, but I don’t have it in me to try and check right now. 

    Hilary

  • Hilary

    If I knew someone who went through the personal types of loss mentioned here, I’d help wash the bathroom, kitchen, catch up on laundry, bring some food and offer hugs, without saying much.  Or use some crafting skills to make a memorial quilt.  That the right way to deal with the desperate need to do something in the face of such pain, instead of offering platitudes. Or at the very least, donate money to an appropriate charity.

    Oh, and mark down on my yearly calender significant anniverseries and dates, to remember to help my friend out over the year after the immediate drama of death is over. 

    Hilary

  • Andrew

    To all of you who hated the phrase, rest assured that it is not in the Bible. The actual verse is: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1Cor 10:13

    Note that this is written to Christians. If you are not a Christian, then it will not make much sense to you. 

    I also don’t like the phrase, “everything happens for a reason”. Again, this is not in the Bible. The Bible does say, however, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Rom8:28). This was written by one who had been rejected by his friends, persecuted and stoned and left for dead on two occasions.

    I agree with Stephanie – I think this is a lot of people not knowing what to say and trying to say something. Not really helpful as it turns out. And not very biblical either.


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