General Question

CBrennan15's avatar

Does thanking God for an accomplishment take credit away from yourself?

Asked by CBrennan15 (353points) February 25th, 2011

I have a friend who just completed a marathon. A legit marathon with a pretty a good time. Unfortunately, she was sick in the days leading up to the marathon but competed anyways. After she finished, she thanked God for being with her every step and helping her recover enough to run.

Don’t you think she should be giving HERSELF a little more credit for this? SHE ran, SHE toughed it out even with an illness.

For the record, I have no problem with her feeling safe that God is watching over her, but this is HER accomplishment. She did it and no one else. Right?

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39 Answers

SABOTEUR's avatar

Depends on who you ask and what they perceive “God” to be.

Some may argue that GOD is ALL, so in effect, she did thank herself.

Coloma's avatar

Mmm..we all tend towards congratulating our-‘selves’ but, in reality, if one is truly a student of spirituality in it’s many forms. All the credit goes to the universe.

Practicing this is part of taming ego, the false self, and giving credit where credit is due, to the ‘power’ that comes THROUGH us when we are open and willing. ;-)

Coloma's avatar


Well said. :-)

JLeslie's avatar

Sometimes I think it is semantics, or just language religious people use. I have no idea how they really think about it in their head. Probably varies per individual. But, if you ask me, I think she deserves the credit as you said, she did the work. But, she feels she gains strength from God possibly? Focus through prayer, or philosophies from her church that help provide a plan or path to reach her goals.

ragingloli's avatar

Maybe she should ask herself who made her sick in the first place.

Nullo's avatar

A little. Giving credit to God is the humble thing to do, and it is justified – many opportunities are God-given, and your friend may have asked for the will and fortitude to place well. Besides that, God is responsible for the creation and permanence of the very Earth and all that is upon it.

wundayatta's avatar

There is a place we go, or operate out of when we do physical things that we cannot do. I call it the non-linguistic mind, because it is a different kind of thinking that we do when we use that part of our brain.

This is the part of the brain that God comes from. The reason for this is that when ideas or feelings or intuitions suddenly appear in our linguistic brains, it feels like they come from nowhere, or from outside you. But it’s there like magic. Thus God.

But you are right. It is her accomplishment. It is also God’s. At least according to my theory about where the idea of God comes from.

I’m not sure how it works, because I do know we can still the linguistic by doing physical activity. This allows the non-linguistic mind to come forward. Although, since it can’t use symbols, we don’t understand what it is doing. We can’t exactly tell it is even doing anything.

I have found that when I get into this place, I can do things I can’t normally do. Somehow, this mind finds a way to coordinate us or strengthen us or whatever, so we do stuff that seems impossible.

So that’s where your friend’s ability to run while sick comes from. That mind helped her shut out everything else—all her aches and pains—to just run. Ask her how she felt while she was running. Ask her about the territory she ran through—what does it look like? I bet she doesn’t even know. She wasn’t seeing through her linguistic mind, she was seeing in her non-linguistic mind, and that mind doesn’t work with memory very well.

Thus, the ability seems like it is magic. It feels like it isn’t you that is running, but that you are being run by something outside you. It only feels that way because we don’t know how to talk to it (the non-linguistic mind), but God is the explanation. It’s a wonderful feeling, and people don’t know what it is, so they call it God.

So she should thank God. What she doesn’t know, and what most people don’t know, is that God comes from within. Literally. Not metaphorically.

Blackberry's avatar

Yes, it is quite degrading as well.

meiosis's avatar

It’s the most monumental conceit, to think that your god cares enough about your performance to actively help, whilst not helping those who failed to finish, got injured in training etc.

Summum's avatar

In growing up in a religious eviornment I was taught to Totally rely on God but then act if it is all up to yourself. Truth being it is up to ourselves and God does not intervene. The natural laws of the Universe govern our world and if she thought that God was there helping her then through her own mind she gained strength from that and then she was greatful for that. Nothing wrong with that it is how she lives.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
MissAnthrope's avatar

Oh, geez. Seriously? ^^ We’re going with ‘there’s something wrong with her’? She’s monumentally conceited and/or is schizophrenic? Well, of course. Logically.~

The only person who can answer what this runner really meant is the runner herself. My interpretation is drawing strength from one’s spirituality. Maybe she really felt God was with her every step, maybe it was metaphorical. In any case, it’s a way of being humble and a way of acknowledging that she did something outside of what she believed she was able.

janbb's avatar

Chacun a son gout.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
whitenoise's avatar

Since this is a general qustion, I will just try to answer.

Of course there is no way that this takes anything away from her credit. Running a marathon is pretty cool and a great accomplishment.

Whether she thanks God or not. She just ran a marathon!!!!! If I’d survive, I’d thank god as well and I am as atheistic as one can be.

The_Idler's avatar

Well, some people are just mental.

There’s never really much point in arguing about their actions or beliefs,
or what, do you expect them to explain themselves!?

everephebe's avatar

Does thanking God for an accomplishment take credit away from yourself? No. You can’t give credit to imaginary beings. “I’d like to thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster, for blessing me with his divine noodled appendages during the marathon. And Batman and Robin, thanks for all your support, your work really inspired me.” I don’t buy thanking god as something that’s showing you’re humble. @meiosis said it well. R’amen.

sharpstick's avatar

I do not know what faith you friend holds to, but I will answer this as a Christian. As a Christian, scripture tells us to be thankful to God in everything, it is an attitude of humility that reminds us of our relationship to God.

Think of it this way, if a child won a sports competition, they could legitimately thank their parent for helping them achieve the victory by paying for lessons, driving them to practice, etc. By thanking their parent they are not diminishing their own hard work or skill, but recognizing that they did not get where they are through 100% of their own effort.

The_Idler's avatar

@sharpstick Yeah, I get you. So, even if God isn’t real, she still used the idea of God as a crutch, to get where she did, so she should be thankful for the, ah, help…
Because she clearly doesn’t deserve as much credit as an atheist marathon runner… =/

6rant6's avatar

How much more entertaining would it have been if she’d said, “I just want everyone to know that God tried to fuck me up by getting me sick, but I wasn’t having it. And also, for my parents, I want you to know that if not for you I never could have done this. Every step of the way, I was fueled at the rage I had about your not accepting me for who I am. And finally, to my mate, Pat. I’d like to say, if you want to have sex tonight, you’re going to have to do all the work, cause I’m bushed!”

LostInParadise's avatar

We atheists have a hard time trying to direct our thankfulness. There are so many things that are out of an individual’s control. When things go well it is convenient to be able to direct thankfulness to God, even if only in a metaphorical sense.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I think it does but I am not a religious person. What I do believe is if a person’s belief in god/s helps them in this life to be/have more than they’d have/perceive by their own means then it’s ok by me.

filmfann's avatar

I am taking a moment to laugh at the idea that she should have said “Screw God! I did it all on my own!”
I would think more of someone who understood and acknowledged their blessings.

6rant6's avatar

How about, “I want to thank God for making my key competitor pull up lame, and for making sure that no one of real stature entered the competition.”

perspicacious's avatar

Don’t be silly. Thank God for guidance and your own abilities.

hobbitsubculture's avatar

I once heard someone use a similar line in an interview about a book they had written, and I thought basically what you did. There are few accomplishments that take more self discipline than writing a book or running a marathon. Your friend was able to complete the marathon because she was disciplined, and her training allowed her to persevere through less than ideal conditions.

Sometimes people just spew out stuff about God when they’re on an emotional high like that. But I suppose there must be some deeply religious people out there who draw inner strength from them faith. The kind of strength that would help them stick to their training. But as for me, I am taking all the credit when I finish my book.

augustlan's avatar

I’ve often wondered why people thank God for sparing their life, but direct no blame to God for causing the terrible-thing-they-survived in the first place. Or when the lone survivor of a plane crash or something says something like “God was watching over me”, does that mean God didn’t give a rat’s ass about the other 300 passengers? What makes that one person so special that God helped them, but not the others?

That said, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal if people want to thank their god. I don’t think it necessarily takes credit away from their own efforts, just adds something else on top of them.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
meiosis's avatar

I often wonder if those who thank their god for saving them from a disaster realise just how insulting they’re being to those who didn’t survive?

Nullo's avatar

@augustlan Short answer: God is playing chess. He has some 3–5 billion pieces that won’t exactly mind waking up dead – “to live is Christ, to die is gain,” and so on, but which aren’t terribly keen on the idea of dying. He has the enemy king in check, and is now focusing His attention on capturing as many of the remaining pieces as He can. Sometimes the game calls for tactical decisions.

The_Idler's avatar

@Nullo is He playing for fun?

Nullo's avatar

@The_Idler He is playing to save the world, which I expect that He enjoys. Every piece captured is one less to be dragged into Hell. But to answer your question, no; it’s not a recreational activity. Unfortunately, like many metaphors, “chess” is a bit of an oversimplification.

The_Idler's avatar

@Nullo Well if He’s not doing it for recreation, then why let it take any longer than necessary?

Nullo's avatar

@The_Idler Why indeed. I expect that it’s taking precisely as long as it must.
Like I said, chess is an oversimplification. The goal is the redemption of the lost; you can’t do that when the game is over. Checkmate in this case is just the end of the match.

I likened it to chess because of the necessary degree of strategy involved. Reading through the Bible with this frame of mind, you can see one being implemented.
Satan captures the middle of the field in the opening moves. God makes defensive arrangements for most of the Old Testament (hampered by the occasional thick-headedness of the pieces). Then, defenses set up, He switches to a brilliant offense right around 4 B.C., effectively holding the enemy in check during the clean-up. It’s a long process, because each of the growing number of pieces must be persuaded to change sides. Only when no more will be persuaded will we enter the endgame, which finishes with a checkmate of epic proportions.

The_Idler's avatar

Seems like a pretty inefficient way of working for an omnipotent being.

Why not just stomp Satan and enlighten every human? Then we can all just enjoy ourselves in a world without sin and suffering.

Nullo's avatar

@The_Idler Free will, mostly. Something of a big deal. I may have to revisit this question later, when I’ve slept properly.

JLeslie's avatar

@meiosis I pointed that out for months after 9/11. So many religious people sending around emails saying things like those who escaped the building were saved for a reason. Or, after a plane crash and there are survivors, that those people are special. And what? God didn’t give fuck about those who died? The kud who lost his dad in 9/11 has to listen to people say God decided his dad was not special enough?

AdamF's avatar

@JLeslie Then you might appreciate this…

Tim Minchin was confronted by a man named Sam, who claimed that God cured his mum’s cataracts. This song is Tim’s response.

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