Apparently God Delivers Lost Items in Toilets Now

This is the kind of stuff that irritates me to the core.  Attributing little things like this to divine intervention seems harmless enough, but if we dig a little deeper, a larger problem surfaces.  Allow me to give a little background here.

6195078_GSometime around 2002, a woman from Tennessee named Juanita Dye noticed her husband of 52 years was not wearing his wedding ring.  It was lost.  Two years after that, Juanita’s husband, Norman, passed away.  Suddenly last month, a good 12 years after losing it, the ring was discovered in the bottom of their toilet.  While a critical thinker might surmise that the ring had been there all along, possibly stuck in the trap of the toilet and out of the path of rushing water (and other debris), Mrs. Dye has concluded that God has returned the ring for her to find.  (As an aside: If I were her, instead of trying to figure out how it came back to me, I’d be trying to figure out why my husband of over 50 years would flush his wedding ring down the toilet!  Was he driven to that point after watching his wife look for pictures of Jesus in her grilled cheese every day?)

She told local reporters:

This is a God thing.  That ring could not have been in that commode all this time.

She’s not a plumbing expert; she only plays one in the local news.

So again, her reaction seems benign enough, right?  I thought so at first, until I thought about it a little more.  Mrs. Dye’s reaction is a microcosm of the willing ignorance we see from the religious on a daily basis.  Let me break it down.  Ring is missing.  Person finds ring and can’t fathom how it could have been there the whole time.  Therefore, God.

It’s a perfect example of what man has been doing for thousands of years when confronted with the unknown and unexplained.  “I don’t know, therefore God.”  This is the mentality that infiltrates people’s minds, causing them to reject the right answer once it’s finally presented to them.  It’s one reason why so many religious are also anti-science.  They’ve already made up (or been taught) a supernatural answer to anything unknown, resulting in rejection of any contradictory discovery.

Studies have shown that when a person already believes something and is then shown evidence that contradicts their belief or proves them wrong, instead of accepting the new information and changing their belief, they “double-down” on their original belief, refusing to accept they’re wrong.  It seems to be human nature, and in my estimation, is a design flaw.  See what I did there?

So how do we break this mentality?  How do we not only prove people wrong, but help them accept the right answer?  In my opinion, the first step is instilling critical thinking skills in kids at an early age.  Instead of telling children what to think, we need to be teaching them how to think.  We need to fix the wiring early on so that indoctrination and emotional attachment to unsubstantiated beliefs don’t perpetuate willful ignorance.

 

About Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, and the author of Understanding an Atheist: A Practical Guide to Relating to Nonbelievers, a book aimed at improving relationships between the religious and their atheist loved ones. Kevin is also the Executive Director of Young Skeptics, an elementary-level after-school program for kids focused on critical thinking. Guest bloggers are welcome at SecularVoices. Please email submissions to contact@secularvoices.org.

  • http://halfcrazedcalvinist.wordpress.com vonleonhardt2

    You know, as a religious I think everything is providence… but I agree with you that a “we don’t know = God” mentality is one of the larger downfalls of the species.

    Yet, at some level your enlightenment ideal of a “how” to think independent of a “what” is naive in regards to language and culture… even your idea you can do that is culture.

    The idea that there is a universal “reason” is untenable the second you realize every language within itself defines the term using morays and folkways etc. Then add all the languages on the planet. What is reasonable to a German is not to a Frenchman with 100 miles between them. They tried to hid in math with logical positivism, etc… but that darn Godel proving math is a language too.

    I suggest you read something from the 70’s up. Your thinking is too modern and you could use some post-modern to spruce it up. Language of indoctrination, etc. is too dated to be relevant.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      I didn’t say that there is a universal “reason”. My ideal of how to think, rather than what to think, means that we should be focusing on critical thought and problem solving, rather than in many cases the method of “this is how it is, was and will be – memorize it.” I’d much rather challenge a learner to think through a problem, hypothesize, test, and conclude, rather than give him what I perceive to be the answer and suggest that no questions be asked.

      • http://halfcrazedcalvinist.wordpress.com vonleonhardt2

        Ah, so apply scientific thinking to everything. The problem with that is that people should be taught how even that works, which is eliminating telic thinking (to what end). There are many times that doesn’t work. It’s like even a secular value system is a value system and subject to debate as such. Why be secular and not such and such… you have to address telos. In fact, I think the more important stuff is values because people discuss them in present tense “this IS good.” Science works more forensically, “that WAS a bad reaction.” And people can collaborate towards things with future tense “This WILL be better”

        I think rote learning has a place too though, a first year calculus student should just shut up and reproduce it because you don’t get any explanations till multi-variable. And idoms / axioms are just that. And, sometimes one doesn’t have enough information to think.

        I still think you are rejecting acculturation, as religion is important to tribal identity. And as social creatures we’ve evolved to need that. Even Atheist are not immune to the sociological facts of their human existence, often times they form a tribal identity as co-rejectors.

        That’s really what I was getting at, there are faucets of human life that lay outside objective reason that many hold to be more important/ interesting and at least as far as I can tell, there is no human environment without these. So to try and avoid them you’d have to move off the planet.

  • http://Eldridge Bob

    Actually, if she analyzed it thoroughly, god was saying that “her marriage was in the toilet”. 😉