I have had a Darwin fish on my car for the last two years. But sometime in the last day or so, someone–apparently a “good Christian”–objected to my fish and tore it off the bumper. When you display a Darwin fish, you know you run this risk because a Darwin fish invites vandalism. And I know that I should probably just let it slide and order another, but in spite of myself I have spent a great deal of time today trying to get inside the mind of the fish-napper, and the higher power he serves.
I presume he thought tearing off my fish would get him a gold star in God’s Big Book of Good Deeds. Yet as good deeds go, this one seems petty and feeble. Not exactly the stuff that gets you sainthood, like healing the sick, clothing the needy, or feeding the hungry. But hey, those things take time. Why not hit a target of opportunity?
But why my little fish should be such a target is a mystery. Did the fish-napper believe that the mere sight of my fish was going to make impressionable people go atheist? (If only it were that easy.) Surely he thought it was a bad influence and an evil temptation. But the idea that people, especially young people, could be tempted away from someone as powerful as God by something so innocuous makes God seem rather puny. Surely if he represents the ultimate truth of human existence and the greatest power humankind can conceive, six dollars worth of cryptically molded plastic–the symbolism of which zooms over the heads of many people–can’t threaten him much.
If God himself objected to my fish, he could have done something about it himself the day I put it on–with a well-timed blown tire or a bolt of lightning. (If either of those seemed too spectacular, he could have at least weakened the adhesive so it wouldn’t stick.) But it shouldn’t take him two years to get around to it. Of course, we all know that God is busy, what with all the athletes, performers, and politicians he has to help to success, not to mention all those prayers he has to answer for everything. Maybe it took him all this time to clear up the backlog before he found time to act against my fish through one of his human minions. To our weak human minds, God’s reliance on the fish-napper to perform something he could have more easily done himself seems like an inefficient way to do business. But we must remember that God has a plan and we aren’t supposed to know what it is. He knows what he’s doing and we ought to trust him.
All kidding aside, the fish-napper’s act is worse than if he’d keyed my paint job or snapped off my radio antenna. What makes it worse is the whiff of intolerance that surrounds it–the fish-napper’s arrogant presumption, taking for himself the right to decide what I can do with my personal property–and his complete gutlessness.
It’s said that if you have faith in God, all things are possible. This week, it made somebody fearless enough to vandalize a complete stranger’s car.