God Helps Those Who Help Themselves. Bah.

Some friends of mine were playing Monday morning quarterback about the whole New Orleans public planning snafu via email. And then somebody did it — they used the above phrase in a Christian context.

Ever since reading the excellent feature in July’s Harpers by Bill McKibben, I’ve been piqued by the misuse of this phrase and the mischaracterization of God’s willingness to help implied therein.

Okay folks. Nowhere in the bible does it say that. Benjamin Franklin said that. You may believe that saying is true. And you may be a Christian too. But that is not a Christian belief by any means. In fact the Gospel of Jesus Christ is pretty much diametrically opposed to the very idea.

Goes to show that there is no religion that localized cultural values cannot distort beyond recognition. In Africa and other developing nations, Christianity is adapted, some say distorted, to accomodate the local animist culture. In America, Christianity has been adapted, definitely distorted, to accommodate rampant individualist culture.

Saying it doesn’t make it true. I wish I had a greater Google rank so that when people in the future search for this phrase it’d get the debunking it deserves.

One thought on “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves. Bah.

  1. Yeah, I’ve heard that in some parts of Africa, Jesus tends to become another part of the pantheon. Which I kind of think is cool, but I know it doesn’t jive with the first commandment so well.

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