Reader John Bragg e-mailed me the following question:
I’ve been looking for a word for a concept at the seam line of ethics, psychology and theology. The idea is the converse of “God helps those who help themselves”–the idea that efficacy is primarily in the hands of God, so consistent attention to details is unnecessary. “If your heart is pure, and you do what God asks, He will take care of the details.” From an Islamic Glossary online: “Muslims are to strive hard and to put their trusts with Allah. They leave the results in the hands of Allah.”
Examples would be the shockingly low rates of seat belt use in Saudi Arabia. If God wants you to live, then you will live. If God wants you to die, a seat belt isn’t going to save you. Also see Arab-Muslim levels of maintenance on sophisticated weaponry. If God wants the MIG to fly, it’ll fly. If God wants it to crash, it’ll crash. Whether the rivets are tightened is almost beside the point.
If God wants you to liberate Iraq, then resolving differences within your Administration about the priority of democracy, stability, fighting terrorists, having a strategic reserve for use against other targets and US force protection are more or less beside the point. You follow God’s instructions, and, God willing, He will work it out.
If there is no word, then I’ll start using the neologism “Inshallahism.”
I can’t seem to think of a proper term, but I’m sure that some obscure concept from Medieval theology must be applicable. Any suggestions?