We like to make fun of those “motivational” posters, too, and some of those have nothing to do with religion. I think the common thread is “trying and failing to be profound”, not “coming from a church”.

If that were the case, they probably wouldn’t be telling you to thank the entity that caused your troubles in the first place. It’s the difference between encouraging your efforts to overcome adversity and making excuses for an abusive spouse.

The first interpretation I thought of was the ever optimistic, “No matter how bad you have it, things can always get worse!” Maybe not on a church, tho… :cool:

I’m an atheist, but the sentiment that sign expresses actually has specific meaning in my life.

It seems to me that some of the non-religious folks her are being very selective in how they interpret the aforementioned church sign. As Kizarvexius said, they’re giving it the worst possible interpretation instead of trying to understand why believers might hold it to be true.

Even tdn could see the wisdom behind this adage, and he’s a non-believer.

Some Christians (Catholics, for example) also believe in offering your suffering up to God, as a way of uniting with the suffering of Jesus. With Catholics, earthly suffering can also be a potential way to get out of some of Purgatory.

It’s religion, Annie. Religion makes no sense.

If Catholics have a happy moment, the next will be flooded with guilt.

Honestly, I think the sentiment ( barring the God part ) works better for an unbeliever, because an unbeliever isn’t stuck with the question of “Well, why couldn’t God have skipped the troubles and gone straight to the blessing ?”

And as phrased, it does come off as a bit sadomasochistic. “Thanking” God for your troubles ? ( *“Thank you sir may I have another ?!” * WHACK ** ) And they “may” become your blessings ? Are you supposed to still thank him if they don’t ?

Given that the greatest Christians, who accomplished the most, are generally those who suffered most, methinks you are not giving us our due, small or large as it may be, in this case.

And then the Corinthians ganged up on Paul, who couldn’t fight back on account of the thorn, and they hanged him by his testicles, and Paul was like “WTF, God ?” and God pointed His finger at Paul and said “Ha HA !” in His best Nelson Muntz voice.

Care to share with us?

If you live a life free from diversity you don’t need the strength necessary to survive outside your plastic bubble of bliss.

That is truly silly and historically inaccurate. First it assumes that people of faith are against diversity. Are there groups some faithful people don’t agree with or particularly like? Sure. Apparently you don’t like people of faith either, yet your prejudice seems exceptable. Secondly, the idea of diversity, as I (maybe inaccurately) interpret you mean, is really a fairly modern concept. Most cultures were relatively homogeneous until just recently in history. To say that those people didn’t have strength is to ignore about 5000 years of human history. Nice try at turning the phrase though

My stepdaughter moved in with me and Mrs. Rhymer last year; I think I posted about it. Several persons here thought it was a potential hairball, and though I may not have said so hereabouts I had a few misgivings my ownself. But I’m very glad it happened, both because she’s been very helpful during Mrs. R’s various issues and because my stepdaughter’s living here has allowed us to get closer. I think it’s good for both of us.

Did you not even read **Kizarvexius’**post that I was referring to? Sheesh!

Kizarvexius implied that one can live a life free from diversity in a plastic bubble of bliss. Incredible.

It would have helped to spell “adversity” correctly.

I think jimpatro meant adversity, not diversity. He typoed, in the same way you typed “exceptable” where you meant “acceptable”.

Unless, of course, your post was a whoosh.

For a real-life illustration of the sentiment expressed in the church sign, I just have to look at my staunchly Christian mom. When my dad’s adultery was exposed and he filed for divorce after 32 years of marriage, my mom thought her life was over. A couple years later she felt the call to start teaching a Bible study at the local men’s homeless shelter. She got to know the director of the mission, they hit it off, fell in love, and got married. They’ve now been married 14 years or so, and in that time my mom’s finally gotten to do many of the things she always wanted to do but couldn’t because my dad just wasn’t interested/couldn’t be bothered.

I think that’s a great example of what the sign was trying to say. Sometimes an event that appears to be horrible or disastrous at first turns out to really be for the best in the long run. So they’re just trying to tell religious people to have faith that God has their best interest in heart even when times seem tough and that the end result will lead to good things.

I’m surprised that such a simple statement is this controversial and mysterious to some people.

Not everyone who goes through a rough time in life becomes a better person from it, but I do think that generally people who have had to overcome adversity in life have a better perspective on life and are more grateful for the good things that do happen to them than people who have never really been tested by life.

Tom Brokaw called the Depression era kids who grew up with nothing only to risk their lives in World War II “the Greatest Generation” because of the adversity they faced. Can anyone seriously picture future commentators calling the current generation’s kids, whose biggest crisis in life has been getting overfed and overprotected by their “helicopter parents”, the greatest generation a few decades from now?

Or as another example: Even though I’ve never met either one, I suspect I would find Lance Armstrong to be a more interesting and courageous person than Paris Hilton.

Or take this guy who ran an Ironman triathlon despite having no legs. He probably spends less time feeling sorry for himself on any given day than a lot of able-bodied people I know who like whining about how hard their life is.

Similarly, I got fired from a hellacious job in the summer of '07 and got a lead in to my current job only after my savings were almost completely exhausted and I’d broken up with the boyfriend who’d been helping support me through my unemployment. The current job pays much better (like “over 40% more” better), has better benefits, is in a better location, and has infinitely better coworkers.

Of course, being an atheist, I simply credit a good roll of the dice instead of some benevolent force, but the example would stand if I were still Catholic.