"The Dark Knight", he has a monologue about what people feel is
socially acceptable and what not. When he's discussing this with
Harvey Dent (Two-Face), he says this:
I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on
itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a
couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed?
Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is
horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger
will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody
panics, because it's all "part of the plan". But when I say that one
little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!
I wonder if this is hitting the nail on the head when it comes to
people's beliefs in a "divine plan". "Even if the plan is horrifying"
people are more psychologically able to deal with it. Even if there
are tsunamis, earthquakes, deaths from childhood leukemia, wealth
imbalances, etc, people are okay with all of that so long as they
think there's some "plan" behind it. Perhaps it's simply human nature
to desperately want there to be a plan, and as such are so "at peace"
with themselves when they think there is one, that they essentially
convince themselves it must be true in order to psychologically
"survive". It also would explain their complete and utter bewilderment
at how atheists can wake up in the morning and be productive members
of society if the atheists think that eventually they'll permanently
Of course, this says nothing about whether there really IS a plan,
just the human need to think that there is one. Have theists
considered that they may be looking for a plan just to help themselves
cope with existence?