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.
Sometime 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.