How can a windfall be just coincidence?

David Says:

My wife and I deconverted from christianity about two years ago. Ever since then I have been an atheist. When we were christians, we would attribute good events in our life to god having favor on us. I know that’s not true now but some recent events have me perplexed. In the last two weeks, the following great things have happened: I landed a job without an in-person interview, I was able to get out of my rental agreement in order to move to my hometown and the house beside my parents became available to rent during the week I moved. When I was a christian, I would’ve attributed this to god. I know that’s not the reason. However, how can these things be explained? I’m having a difficult time thinking of this windfall as a bunch of good coincidences.

12 Responses to How can a windfall be just coincidence?

  1. Christian says:

    Perhaps it’s God’s way of saying you gave up on Him just a little too soon. What makes you so sure it isn’t the hand of God? If coincidence is so hard to swallow, why force yourself to believe something you know in your soul to be false?

  2. The Atheist says:

    First of all, congrats!! I’m glad things are going your way!

    Here are a few of my thoughts about divine favor vs. coincidence. Let me first say that I personally have landed jobs without a face-to-face interview. I don’t say this to compete with you or to steal your thunder, but only to demonstrate that that sort of thing may not be all that rare. In my case and probably in yours as well, I was able to clench the deal over the phone based on my reputation, my experience and my personality. Also, people get out of renting agreements all the time. It happens when the renter has other options. For example, he or she wants to sell, has other renters ready to sign, or wants to move back in. It also happens when the renter is simply a nice person who decides to help you out of a bind. But the house next door to your parents becoming available just when you were ready to move – that is an extraordinary bit of luck!

    Extraordinary luck happens all the time. People win the lottery, some people survive a disaster when their fellows perish right beside them, people run into long lost loved ones – all sorts of things. What makes these events extraordinary is not that they happen – they happen all the time. The event is extraordinary to you when it happens to you.

    The thing is, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme nor reason for good fortune or bad fortune. Good and bad fortune randomly strike people of different faiths, people of no faith, people who pray, people who don’t pray, charitable people, thieves, nurcherers, murderers, rich people, and poor people. It would be hard for me to imagine a god who has the power to help people, then uses the power to bestow good fortune on random people while neglecting large populations who are desperate for food and water, or survival from oppressors, or the like. Conversely it would be hard for me to imagine a god who doesn’t use the power to avert bad events that befall entire populations like fatal deceases, famine, tsunamis, etc.

    People tend to make their luck to a large extent. They do this by being personable so that people want to help them, or by careful planning so that they increase their chances of lucky events, or by vigilance so that they recognize luck with it happens to present itself. Then beyond all that, things just happen to us, and when they are good things, we feel fortunate. And when they are bad things, we feel unfortunate.

  3. dmoney012485 says:

    I have to agree with The Atheist here. Ive been atheist a long time and during that time a number of great and terrible things have happened. The same things or similar ones have also happened to religious friends of mine. They usually credit the good to their faith and the bad is never is fault. Life has a certain probability of chance though. Some of the good things that have happened to me were simply me being in the right place at the right time. The same thing goes for some of the bad things like for instance car accidents just happened to be in a the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Im glad things are going good for you though. I hope they continue to.

  4. fzkstchr says:

    dmoney has the right idea. The vast majority of people don’t really think statistics through carefully. The simple fact is that good or bad luck is merely random chance. If this were not the case then we would all know which religion to follow simply by checking the statistics to see which sect had the “luckiest” adherents. To test this try flipping a coin 100 times and record the SEQUENCE of the results. Most people will be very surprised to find that at some point during the 100 tosses they will likely see the coin come up either heads or tails 6 times IN A ROW! But if we think about it the chance of getting heads once is (1 in 2) 1/2, twice is 1/4, three times is 1/8 and so on. The odds of gettin heads or tails 6 times in a row is 1/64, which means in 100 tosses odds are that we will get a run of at least 6 in a row. In several years of having students perform this experiment I have seen as many as 13 heads or tails in a row and the odds of that are 1/8192 which really should not surprise me considering how many sets of data I have looked at.

  5. Kawika says:

    “It can not be explained.”
    That is God’s work. That is God’s Miracles that he blessed YOU and your family with. God loves all of his people, especially those that reject him… new job! new house next to your mom! Got out of the rental agreement!… He just hooked you up!!!
    You, being a former Christ follower, Dont fool yourself into thinking God didnt have a hand in this. He loves you and your family, that’s why he blessed you with those miracles, which you call “unexpected”. It’s little “coincidences” like this that are blessings! People just dont seem to get that. God blessed you… and I’m happy that he did.
    And you know it’s true… otherwise you woudnt be second guessing your Athiest belief by going on to this website to “Ask an Athiest” about your miracles.
    Believe in Christ or not… That’s up to you and God, my friend. My prayers to you and your family and i am completely happy for you. Good luck with the job and new house!

  6. The Atheist says:

    Hi, Kawika. Interesting thoughts! I’m curious to know why you believe that God had a hand in these 2 particular events. Is it because you believe that God has a hand in everything, including bad things like the tsunami in Thailand and the earthquake in Haiti, or do you mean that God has a hand in only the good things?

    If you believe that God had a hand in the tsunami and the earthquake, do you also believe that he loved those people that suffered and perished in those disasters? Personally, I find it hard to imagine a God who is more concerned with job interviews and apartment rental agreements than with devastation and suffering, don’t you?

  7. james says:

    Having recently affirmed my atheism, I can say truthfully that freedom from fear and superstition grows each day. A stronger sense of personal responsibility for myself, family and fellow man is so much clearer. Best decision I ever made.

  8. Rich R says:

    I’m very happy for you. My guess would be you deserve this job because you are well suited for it and your previous record speaks well of you. Breaking a rental agreement? Not that much of a miracle honestly. I would think it all has a lot to do with you and a little to do with situation or coincidence.

    Keep creating those opportunities and you’ll get more good results than bad. There’s nothing magic about that.

  9. Amanda says:

    David,

    Please remember that God doesn’t make anyone believe in him. He gives you chances to believe in him. God loves you. Even though you do not attribute these good fortunes to Him, please believe, at least, that there is something out there that loves you more than you can imagine and even though you have turned your back to faith, He hasn’t forgotten about you. He will always be there. Everyone has a choice, and it seems that you made yours. I am not here to say weather it is the right choice or not, however, I do want to say that it seems you might still be on the fence about everything, and maybe my reminding you that no matter what you think, or believe he is always there. waiting for you to come back, with open arms. I can’t say that I don’t wish for you to come back and be with God, but everyone is entitled to self determination and with that being said, I hope you can make the move back. It is strictly your choice.

    • Carl says:

      Amanda, I just have to ask you, why do little babies die in car crashes, and floods, and fires? Why does your God allow little children to get raped and murdered. This omnibenevolant God of yours knows best I guess. Why is it that jerks and thieves can survive an earthquake but the innocent good people can perish. Why is it that only the people that were born in the right culture, under the right religion will be the only ones to go to heaven. Why did your God give us brains to use but if we use them wrong than we live an eternity in Hell? Why is it that your God seems to have human characteristics like jealousy? Why doesn’t he reveal himself to us? Why is it that we are supposed to rely on an ancient text when there are so many better ways to present his will to us? Why is it that the story of Christianity has been told over and over again in other cultures over thousands of years?

      I could go on and on with these questions? If your God could create a perfect race than why didn’t he. Where did he screw up? Why did he make us with this free will if he wanted us to worship and praise him so much. Where did he go wrong with the whole Satan thing? I thought he was all powerfull. If he was than why do we even have evil in the first place?

  10. Carl says:

    It appears to me that you haven’t totally let go of some of your Christian beliefs. Why is it that you have to have an explanation for these good events. Good and bad things happen to good and bad people. Someone was going to get that job, someone was going to get that house. You just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Everytime I avoid a car accident I don’t think that God protected me from it. Every time something positive happens to me I don’t have to look for a reason it happened. Quit having to have an explanation for everything and live your life to the fullest. This is the only life we have and we need to make the best of it. But, congrats on the new job and house.

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