I've found that my belief in the concept of "luck" went away with my theism. Have any of you experienced anything similar?

Merriam Webster's first definition of luck is: "a force that brings good fortune or adversity"
And fortune: "a hypothetical force or personified power that unpredictably determines events and issues favorably or unfavorably"

What IS this force? I think I thought it had to do with god. (Or maybe Star Wars?? tee hee hee.)

I stopped wishing people "good luck" when I gave up theism. (Unless it's sarcastically: "good luck with that"). Instead I say something like, "I hope everything works out for you", or "I wish you all the best".

I've known many people over the years who firmly believe they have "bad luck". From my observations, these people either made their own bad luck (if you don't ever change your oil, you're bound to have car trouble - that's not bad luck), or they just focus on it so much because they're looking for it.

Any thoughts?

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Tags: atheism, luck

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Comment by Clarence Dember on May 28, 2009 at 8:01am
Syncronicity. Things do happen. Many causes. To say luck, would be to over simplify. To claim control is sometimes a boast.
Comment by Jude Johnson on February 4, 2009 at 2:13am
Good one Daniel. ;)
Comment by Sentient Biped on February 3, 2009 at 10:33pm
I'm sure lucky that I found this website. I feel that fortune has smiled upon me! :)
Comment by greyfoot on January 30, 2009 at 2:54am
Concurrence with Jay here, as well. The accurate word is indeed "coincidence."

However, I think perhaps we shouldn't get too caught up in semantics. We do say "luck" when we really mean the aforementioned, but I wouldn't chide someone upon doing so, anymore than I would if that person said in exasperation "Oh my god!" Much of the time, an offhand remark is nothing more than an offhand remark. Though I would not tell a sneezer "Bless you" (I'd say gesundheit) I do use phrases like "Jesus wept" and "God damn this" or even "He's been around since God was a boy." If someone cuts me off in traffic, and I flip them the finger, that doesn't mean I want to have sex with them. It's just a symbolic expression. Illogical--and often monstrous--as the Bible is, it has given us many such gems. I marvel at such creativity and poetic transcendence. Too bad it's taken so literally.

Anyway that's my two-point-5 cents.

grey
Comment by Phillip Law on January 29, 2009 at 7:46pm
People tend to remember good or bad things specifically, hence their tendency to attribute this thing out of their control to 'luck'. It depends on the context in which it is used, a person may say "that's bad luck" at a failed job interview to make them feel better that it wasn't their fault. I think saying luck has a tendency to take responsibility away from you as you are saying that you have no control over certain things. It's like those people who say 'I fail because I'm stupid', it is to take responsibility away from failing and attribute it to a factor that they have no control over to make them feel better, when in fact if they worked hard they would have accomplished it.

I agree with Jay.
Comment by Jude Johnson on January 29, 2009 at 12:43pm
I agree Jay. I think many people think that someone who is driving to work in the morning and gets plowed into by another driver, through no fault of their own, has experienced "bad luck". I don't think this particular scenario would even fall into the category of "coincidence", but simply "chance".

Possibly a person who believes they have good luck can actually increase their contentment because they look for and expect good things in life, and therefore focus on the positive. However, I have found the reverse to be more common. I wonder why some think this mysterious force is so often working against them? --Guilty conscience perhaps??
Comment by JayBarti on January 29, 2009 at 12:27pm
I put luck right up there with miracles, just because it happened doesn't mean its anything more special then anything else that happens every day around us.

I find people often confuse "coincidence" with "luck", because most people use luck to describe and incident in which they feel they had no control over the outcome, thus it is used to explain an event that they felt had a positive (good) or negative (bad) outcome. As well what might be good luck for someone is sometimes bad luck for someone else, yet both could be considered lucky.

I feel that Luck has no more meaning then what someone chooses to believe about it.

I don't believe in Luck I believe in making choices and living with the results.

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