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The Blame Game or Shit Happens

By Webmdave ~

A relative suffering from Type 1 diabetes was recently hospitalized for an emergency amputation. The physicians hoped to halt the spread of septic gangrene seeping from an incurable foot wound. Naturally, family and friends were very concerned. His wife was especially concerned. She bemoaned,
“I just don’t want this (the advanced sepsis and the resultant amputation) to be my fault.”
It may be that this couple didn’t fully comprehend the seriousness of the situation. It may be that their choice of treatment was less than ideal. Perhaps their home diabetes maintenance was inconsistent. Some Christians I know might say the culprit was a lack of spiritual faith. Others would credit it all to God’s mysterious will. Surely there is someone or something to blame. Someone to whom to ascribe credit. Isn’t there?

A few days after the operation, I was talking to a man who had family members who had suffered similar diabetic experiences. Some of those also suffered early deaths. “That’s a cheerful topic,” quipped his wife who was within earshot. “He asked!” her husband exclaimed while pointing at me. I guess the wife didn’t think the discussion was appropriate to the occasion. And, apparently, the husband felt the need to defend his thoughtless breach of social protocol by blaming me.

Again, surely there is someone or something to blame, isn’t there?

This world is obviously rife with problems: birth defects, plagues, cancers, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, poison plants, vicious animals, floods, fire, blizzards, diseases, mental illness and death. Living in such a place suggests to religious people that all of this chaotic suffering is the effect of the first original sin as described in the book of Genesis.

Presumably, long before human beings existed, there were floods, fires, deaths and destruction of all types. Yet, in all those millions of years before humans appeared on this planet – according to Christianity – sin did not exist. Since Christianity teaches that only humans have the capacity to sin, Adam, Eve, apples and talking snakes cannot be blamed for the peculiarities of nature.

Surely there is someone or something to blame, isn’t there?What about blaming sin for poor human behavior? Isn’t our behavior clear evidence of a morally sinful nature?

We, like all the other life forms on the planet, are just part of nature. Our personalities, abilities, desires, etc., are all the result of a long string of natural processes that reach back hundreds of millions of years. No one chooses who they are born to, when they are born or how they are raised. We do not select our race, height, intelligence or talents. We have no say in being born rich or poor; in an educated culture or an illiterate one; or what language we first speak. In none of these areas — and many more — are there decisions we have the power to make. We have no free will about any of it. All we can do is strive to survive and hopefully thrive in whatever situation we are born into.

Animals killing each other is not considered murder. Animals killing humans is not labeled as a morally evil act. Animals are just following their natural impulses. Vicious animals that endanger humans are, however, confined or destroyed for the safety of other humans. The same happens to human beings whose natural impulses are antisocial and vicious.
“People who are ignorant of philosophy blame others for their misfortunes. Those who are beginning to learn philosophy blame themselves. Those who have mastered philosophy blame no one.” ― Epictetus, The Manual: A Philosopher’s Guide To Life
The blame game is foolish and unhelpful. Life is chock full of unfortunate, unpredictable events. Or, said another way, “Shit happens.”