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2012-04-23

God names specific craftsmen to make his altars, vestments, and other sundries in Exodus 31:1-11, specifically, Bezaleel and Aholiab. Bezaleel is from the tribe of Judah (the guy who had sex with this daughter-in-law), and Aholiab, from the tribe of Dan (the result of Jacob raping one of his slaves), both men are the sons of attempted murderers, so they’re obviously from an illustrious pedigree.

The reason these two men are able to make these objects is because God has given them the gifts of craftsmanship. Now, this is a common theme among believers—they revel in the idea that God has given them talents like musicianship, leadership, and artistic ability. You hear this all the time in churches, people admiring the talents of others by phrasing it as, “God has given them a gift.” Now, I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I think even poor gifts are to be well-received, however, I have a problem with this cosmic gift-giver.

The first problem is how unfairly God doles out his gifts. God may bless someone with fine beauty, but the next person’s face looks like the results of a meat grinder. One person may be an angelic mezzo soprano, while others croak like a laryngitic frog. Really God, if you didn’t bring enough for the rest of the class, you should have left it at home. Believers account for these discrepancies with trite admonitions like, “God gifts us all in individual ways.” I can refute that in three words: Freddie freaking Mercury. I don’t want to make you feel sorry for yourself, but Freddie Mercury was better than you ever will be, ever… ever! You can spend your whole life training to be the most awesomest bestest person ever, and Freddie Mercury accomplished that with an arm tied behind his back, while wearing a blindfold, when he was six-months-old. The fact of the matter is, most people are average (that’s what “average” means); we’re part of a bell-curve in which only a few of us reach the edges.

People don’t just wake up and realize they’re Olympiads, it takes years and years of training to become great at something. God’s grace didn’t make that dancer amazing, training for eight hours a day, seven days a week, for the past fifteen years did. And let’s not forget that people are genetically predisposed to be good at certain things. You can train all you want to be great at basketball, but if you’re 4’11” with a stocky build, you will never be as good as someone who is 7’6” with an athletic build. And this doesn’t just apply to purely physical endeavors, people are genetically predisposed to be good at math, linguistics—pretty much any subject. Savants will always be faster and better than most people, and while we may not like to admit it, our DNA also translates to artistic ability, as seen in prodigies and artistic savants.

And let’s not forget the below-average human traits. Why do you never hear anyone say, “Your dim-wittedness is a gift!” or, “God graced you with severe health problems due to glandular instabilities!” and my personal favorite, “God truly blessed your daughter with the inevitable and painful death-sentence of cystic fibrosis!”

 

Comments

JL writes:

 

Well, today's argumentation has some inaccuracies as well as logical fallacies in it, I think.
Firstly, to this day there exists - to my knowledge - no proof that there is such a thing as a genetic predisposition for maths or linguistics. The savant argument doesn't work, because their abilities actually stem from a malfunction in their brains!
Secondly, if one argues that god couldn't have given people their abilities because they're based on hard work rather than a gift, the idea of genetic predisposition and talents is actually a counter-argument to that point!

JL

Baughbe writes:

 

First you have to have an ability to do something. Then you have to have a potential to take it to it's full capacity, a capacity that is very unequal across the human spectrum both in the maximum level possible and the natural level that it exists in before training. Then you have to have both the oportunity to fulfill that potential and the drive to do so (and drive itself is an ability that you may or may not have fulfilled to capacity). So no, I don't see any problem with his arguement. Just might have used different phrasing to make it clearer to you JL.

Maju writes:

 

And in the eight day God created the monopoly! And God saw it was good because it made a lot of money...

How cynic the author!

Samael writes:

 

God blessed me with internal organs that don't work properly, leaving me in severe debilitating pain with treatments that are unreliable and only accessible once every four months! :D

Richard writes:

 

God blessed me with in inability to believe in crap, which includes god... OH NO! REASON PARADOX!

*universe implodes*

Sherni writes:

 

There are people who say that god gives people troubles to make them stronger. I'm not entirely sure what the point is when those troubles cripple or kill us, but I'm sure it's all part of the divine plan. The same way people twist death into a blessing by saying the person has gone to god's side. It looks like god is making things needlessly complex for himself.

Sander the Great writes:

 

@ JL

I have no proof but what I've observed but I believe there is genetic predisposition towards math. Both my brother and I are above average when it comes to math (I might not be anymore cause I don't use it in my job) But we both took majored in physics which has around the US one of the highest dropout rates and lowest graduating classes. Why cause its really really hard. I barely passed and I study constantly almost failing fresh man year cause I though to have a personal life. To my brother it came more natural and he passed with pretty good grades. And yet he cou7ld study 24 hours a day and not get it as well as some people in my class and his who could smoke weed drink all night for a week straight barely listening in class then pass the test with an A.

Pretty sure genetics had something to do with it.

 

Oh the irony!