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LuckyGuy's avatar

What does the expression "God takes care of his fools." mean?

Asked by LuckyGuy (34620points) June 12th, 2014

I work in an extremely technical environment. One of the guys in the group, an absolutely brilliant microcontroller programmer, is a “believer” (for lack of a better word) and avid Bible reader.
We often encounter strange circuit timing anomalies that he is asked to fix. He methodically goes through the process and eventually finds it. Invariably he uses the aforementioned quote when he describes what he found and the work-around solution.
How should I respond? Right now I just say “Nice work!” or “Good find!”
Meanwhile, I am silently screaming: “Seriously? Do you think God cares that there is a race condition between pin A_Vsr_OTd and pin Clk_240? Really?! And if he cared so much why didn’t he advance said signal by 350 ps to avoid the condition in the first place?!”
But, I just say “Great job!”
What does the expression mean? Is this derived from a Bible quote? Should I just ignore it? Is there a better way to respond?

Note: I am even less religious than a certain raging alien here. However, I want to be respectful and continue to work well with all the staff.

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18 Answers

syz's avatar

Not sure I’d be able to avoid saying “Maybe we should skip the fools and hire God”.

Seek's avatar

I’ve spent more of my life than I care to remember in that book, and I’ve never heard “God takes care of his fools”.

I’ve heard “the fool hath said in his heart there is no God”
“Delight is not seemly for a fool;.”
“Arise, O God, plead thine own cause, remember the how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily!” (I love that one)
“To have a fool for a child brings grief”
“The wise like the fool will not be long remembered…”

…Biblegod doesn’t seem to like fools very much.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“When in the presence of reasoned men, I consider them my equal. When in the presence of fools, I listen”.

thorninmud's avatar

The more common phrasing is “God takes care of fools and children”. It’s not a direct biblical reference, more an unattributed “old saying”. I don’t think your colleague is necessarily trying to make a theological point; it sounds like he doesn’t want to appear to think he’s hot stuff.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@syz I wondered about that, too. Why are fools being paid that kind of money?
@Seek I hoped you would answer.
@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I always listen.
@thorninmud THANKS! That is a different perspective. Is that similar to a “non-believer’s” comment: “Aw shucks. It was just a lucky guess.”?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@thorninmud I wish he would just say it that way. I know he found the issue through a combination of diligence and talent. That’s why he’s paid the bucks.
We don’t hire fools. If we did, who would be the fool?

Is my response to him, ok? I can assure you I would never say anything disrespectful.

thorninmud's avatar

@LuckyGuy Oh, I think your response is just fine. Frankly, he’s probably relishing the admiration, but just doesn’t want to seem prideful.

canidmajor's avatar

@thorninmud has it right. It’s probably almost reflexive that he says it. Does he have the demeanor of expecting a reasoned response? I find myself saying ” knock on wood” fairly often, but I don’t actually have any expectation that spirits/elves/sprites/what-have-you in the wood will actually work some pagan magic and fix whatever.

josie's avatar

Too bad you can’t ask God directly. Oh well.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Like @thorninmud, I see this as a self-deprecating comment.

ucme's avatar

Looking at the bigger picture, who cares?

SecondHandStoke's avatar

That He takes care of his followers.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@canidmajor No, I don’t think he is looking for a “reasoned response”. I think i get it now and will treat it as “Just a lucky guess.”
@josie Exactly! It would be cheaper to hire God since I wouldn’t need to supply health care.
@dappled_leaves Another vote for
@ucme I care. I want him to remain a productive, happy employee and continue to put out the solutions when I need them.
@SecondHandStoke Hmmm… Sounds like a “Catch-22” to me.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I want to know where God got his engineering degree, and what his dissertation was on.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@elbanditoroso That is the kind of thought that pops into my mind too but I never admit it.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


I think the term Self Reinforcing Delusion is the one you’re looking for.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I always heard it as “God takes care of fools and drunks.” I guess there are enough decent people in the world to take care of us when we need it. The other side of it is “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.”

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