Saturday, 16 July 2011

This world runs on faith

Consider the number of times you hit the road in a year, and the number of people that share the road with you.  Consider the types of people in other vehicles: unlicensed drivers, alcoholics, fatigued taxi and truck drivers, multi-taskers accessing their smartphones with one hand on the wheel and peripheral vision on the road, taxi-moms turning around at speed to hush their kids fighting in the back seat. 

These people whiz past you on the oncoming lane every time you drive.  There is usually nothing but a solid painted white line and an apparent understanding that nobody is to cross this line which separates you from colliding head on with your oncoming number.  You pass thousands of cars in a year and chances are good that you will never ever collide or even brush against any of them.  Accidents do happen and can be tragic, but is it not a slight miracle that so many more don't happen?

Are we all that skilled and conscientious on the road?  No, because we're human.  Everyone including me has had so many lapses in concentration while driving.  Given the sheer number of risks you face every time you hit the road combined with the number of crazy people that drive, you would have to be a great cynic to think that there isn't a greater force at play: something looking after you and the thousands of other drivers who come within inches of your car every day.

And don't let me get into the number of things that can go wrong when you fly in a 300 ton plane.  One loose nut or wire can spell the end.  Yet air travel is still so safe, even in a 25 year old 747 jumbo.  The safety of air travel is a testament to human engineering, pilots and maintenance crews, but surely there's a little bit of providence that delivers a safe landing.  Every nut and wire isn't inspected and tested before each flight.

Asteroids could hit us, the sun could spontaneously combust, the earth itself could go out of orbit (these things are all possible).  There is molten lava flowing underneath you right now in the earth's core.  We are alive by the grace of something that maintains the fine balance of life; something greater than anything you or I can engineer or conceptualise.  As much as we think we are the masters of our destinies, we are in fact extremely vulnerable.  We need to be thankful and acknowledge that life runs on faith: in each other and in a higher cosmic force.

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