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Someone Will Take Care Of Me: Toxic Financial Attitudes

Free will and determinism are questions that have stymied philosophers for generations. A belief system that accepts that all decision-making is predetermined, the day-to-day decisions don't matter. I think we do have free will, and every decision is important and can lead to a variety of possible outcomes, and whether that's predetermined doesn't matter. We still have to make the best choices to fully take advantage of every opportunity to thrive.

The discussion about relying on God to solve our problems without our own action is best illustrated in a story. I've heard it told many years ago, but I'm quoting from the West Wing, where I heard it retold most recently:

You remind me of the man that lived by the river. He heard a radio report that the river was going to rush up and flood the town, and that the all the residents should evacuate their homes. But the man said, “I'm religious. I pray. God loves me. God will save me.” The waters rose up.

A guy in a rowboat came along and he shouted, “Hey, hey you, you in there. The town is flooding. Let me take you to safety.” But the man shouted back, “I'm religious. I pray. God loves me. God will save me.”

A helicopter was hovering overhead and a guy with a megaphone shouted, “Hey you, you down there. The town is flooding. Let me drop this ladder and I'll take you to safety.” But the man shouted back that he was religious, that he prayed, that God loved him and that God will take him to safety.

Well… the man drowned. And standing at the gates of St. Peter he demanded an audience with God. “Lord,” he said, “I'm a religious man, I pray, I thought you loved me. Why did this happen?” God said, “I sent you a radio report, a helicopter and a guy in a rowboat. What the hell are you doing here?”

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