Owning One’s Destiny

Recently the 14th Dalai Lama has been quoted saying “We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.” While he said this statement in response to questions about his opinion on the recent Paris attacks, I think there’s an important lesson here for all religious people, myself included – and it has been one I’m trying to integrate into my life.

It is important to recognize in our lives, and in the lives of others, that we are – at the minimum, co-authors in our destiny. While it is easy to blame God for horrible things that happen, or to pray for God to fix it, the issue often lies with us. We make many decisions that positively or negatively impact our life, and I think it`s massively important to recognize that.

It`s not that I want to advocate that we take on a view that prayer is useless, but rather one that accepts that we’ve got our own proper faculties. If we were created in the image of God (as Christianity would have us believe), it seems like we’ve been given the capacity to learn and to think critically about our decisions. Let’s do more of that, and take responsibility for it.

2 Thoughts.

  1. The viewpoint of Lama may be true of the Buddha ‘god’, however, God would not say to us as Christians ‘you sort it out’. We all sin on a daily basis and make numerous mistakes, but God sees our efforts and if we trust in him, follow his word, and listen to his instructions, he will use our mistakes for good. Lama’s viewpoint is a damning indictment of Buddhism.

    • Interesting commentary. I would firstly like to respond by saying that I think the Dalai Lama’s statement wasn’t a commentary about Buddhism, or in fact any religion, but rather a commentary on people, on how we can often throw our hands up in the air, when they would be much more useful working at solving a problem. Secondly, while Christianity would certainly hold that God solves the ultimate problem, I think many often forget how people are the actors in changing the world. Had David never thrown a stone, Goliath would not have been defeated, at the same time he himself sowed his own problems leading to murder. While God may be the grand orchestrator, it must be clear that humans are always changing the future, with every deed done, and we share the greatest responsibility for the outcome, if not all of it. Indeed, if Christianity is true, it is not as if it is God’s fault anyways.

      To add to that, I point to the parable of the Good Samaritan. Nor priest or prayer would help this man, and in this parable, Jesus doesn’t mention God sorting it out. Instead he points to the acts of one good man towards another human being. If this is the way Jesus thought one would gain eternal life, I should suspect that there’s a whole lot more of us “sorting it out” to be done, and a lot less of us waiting on divine intervention.

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