I sat an exam for work over the summer. The last thing one of my colleagues said to me as I left the office to go home and study was:
Not very creative, I hear you say. But what he said got me thinking. I’m currently working in an office built by the Chinese – it’s very nice, but I’m working on floor 3A, because apparently the number four is unlucky.
Why is four unlucky? Does eating food from a square table make you more prone to getting indigestion? Or why does a black cat crossing your path spell bad news? At the end of the day, what is luck?
One web definition says that luck is ‘an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another’. In other words, it’s something that influences circumstances which isn’t people’s efforts, and isn’t simply chance – a ‘lucky’ person is more likely to roll a 6 in the chocolate game.
So belief in luck is belief in a higher power which is uncontrollable, unknowable, and unobservable. Luck is the all-powerful god who you can’t ask a favour of. Now the person who said it to me is an atheist. He’s happy to believe in a higher power which secretly changes the course of history so long as that higher power doesn’t have a personality.
Belief in luck sounds pretty depressing to me. ‘Regardless of what you think, say, or do, luck will do exactly what it wants, whether you want it or not.’ I think I’ll stick with Jesus: ‘we know that for those who love God all things work together for good’ (Romans 8:28).
I passed the exam, by the way.