In a list elsewhere, my top 10 Tim Minchin songs article noted that the Australian singer-songwriter’s magnum opus is his iconic “Thank You God“.
An insight into the work of Minchin, this is a go-to zeitgeist for Tim’s sound and a song that encapsulates his whole appeal. As a prolonged and theological argument against God and the perceived positives of the Lord, the musically-creative rant is a brilliantly-structured song. So, in this, the song will be looked at part by part for a detailed breakdown of Minchin’s “Thank You God“.
I have an apology to make
I’m afraid I’ve made a big mistake
I turned my face away from you, Lord
I was too blind to see the light
I was too weak to feel your might
I closed my eyes, I couldn’t see the truth, Lord
There is not a whole lot specifically to pick on in the opening section. Tim outlines in this extract that he has recently discovered God, as illustrated by the repeated use of “Lord”, having previously disbelieved in him. This section too introduces the sestain rhyme scheme, in the structure: AABCCB.
But then like Saul on the Damascus road
You sent a messenger to me, and so
Saul was a vocal critic of Jesus, with Acts 26:9 reading: “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” On route to Damascus, Saul hears a voice, the booming voice comments it is Jesus, whom Saul was to “persecute”. Saul was then blinded and led to Damascus. Blessed by a holy spirit, Saul eventually had his vision treated and could see again, being baptized into the Christian faith subsequently. The implication is Minchin, a doubter of God is now a believer, although this is of course only satirical irony considering the later direction of the track.
Now, I’ve had the truth revealed to me
Please forgive me, all those things I said
I’ll no longer betray you, Lord
How I’ll pray to you instead
And I will say thank you, thank you
Thank you, God
Thank you, thank you, thank you, God
Thank you God for fixing the cataracts of Sam’s mum
In a preface spiel, Minchin explains the song is over a friend named Sam. Sam’s mum had an eye test that cured her healing, reminiscent of Saul in that sense, which was described by her as a miracle. This lyric is, of course, sarcastic—highlighting how obliviously grateful to God people are when surely he has bigger issues to deal with (which as covered later, he chooses not to). The majority of verses, especially early on, open with this line.
I had no idea but it’s suddenly so clear now
I feel such a cynic
How could I have been so dumb?
Similarly, this line is sarcastic. Minchin already had previous form in his atheist views, including previous songs such as “Ten Foot Cock And A Few Hundred Virgins” and “The Good Book”—both of which question and heavily scrutinise religion to the point of some taking offence. Tim mocks this eye-curing ‘miracle’ as definitive and assertive proof of God through this use of a rhetorical question. This humourous remark makes the listener reconsider the weight of this evidence too, asking if it really proves anything at all.
Thank you for displaying how praying works
A particular prayer in a particular church
In this line, Minchin comments on religious alignment, talking of “A particular prayer in a particular church”. This comes to a common argument made against religion by an associate of Minchin’s: Richard Dawkins. Dawkins before has made a comment that “If you were born India, I dare say you would be saying the same thing about Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva. If you were born in Afghanistan, I dare say you would be saying the same thing about Allah. If you had been born in Viking Norway, you would be saying the same thing about Votan. If you’d been born in Olympian Greece, you would be saying the same thing about Zeus and Apollo.” This illustrates the geographical disposition of religions across the world. As Ricky Gervais added to this: “That’s a coincidence, isn’t it? That you’re always born into the ‘right’ God…Ain’t that lucky?”
The overriding concept is that each religion claims to have the knowledge that there just so happens to be the right one and that any other belief system’s followers will be going to a place of eternal damnation. The emphasised and repeated “particular” highlights how only the very select few have a chance of being right and therefore saved.
Thank you Sam for the chance to acknowledge this
One thing a listener of Minchin’s work will very quickly pick up on is his expansive and encyclopedic wordsmanship. Indeed, the wordplay Minchin employs is pure joy to listen to including this use of bizarre alliteration describing God as an “omnipotent ophthalmologist”. Referencing resolving Sam’s mum’s eye issues, “omnipotent” is God, a deity who is all-powerful and “ophthalmologist” is what God has performed the role of here, having overseen the serious eye operation.
Thank you God for fixing the cataracts of Sam’s mum
I didn’t realize that it was so simple
But you’ve shown a great example of just how it can be done
This line is quite ambiguous, especially the “it”. The most obvious explanation is the ignorance of explaining away the unknown away with the ‘God Of The Gaps’ theory, in which the supernatural is given in the face of unidentified and yet to be discovered information.
You only need to pray in a particular spot
To a particular version of a particular god
And if you pull that off without a hitch
This line is seemingly an incidental allusion to Christopher Hitchens. Nicknamed “Hitch”, Hitchens is one of the most famous atheists of the 21st century, with his book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything an illustration of his ideology; he has also been vocal on religious figures, most famously Mother Theresa, who Hitchens described as “The most single successful emotional con job of the 20th century.” Of course, as few other words rhyme with “bitch”, this is likely completely coincidental and unrelated to Christopher’s work but just a way in order to achieve the rhyming couplet successfully.
He will fix one eye of one middle-class white bitch
Minchin here outlines why of all people God would help, he would specifically aid a privileged middle-class white woman whose matters are in comparison to others trivial. As detailed later on, God does little to help those more desperately in need of his love. Although many seem to pray to God and are ignored, the wealthy are oblivious to their own privilege, which—instead of their financial advantage—is thought by them to be the work of God.
I know in the past my outlook has been limited
I couldn’t see examples of where life had been definitive
But I can admit it when the evidence is clear
As clear as Sam’s mum’s new cornea
(That’s extremely clear!) Extremely clear!
The whole passage is centred around the motif of eyes and seeing, in reference to Sam’s mum’s new eyesight. The specific boldened line is sarcastic, as the ‘evidence’ is nothing of the such. In comparison, Tim’s use of a simile compares the ‘conclusive’ proof of God to the clarity of the mother’s vision in a comedic style.
The cornea is the eye’s outer lens, in front of the area where cataracts may form within the eye.
Thank you God for fixing the cataracts of Sam’s mum
I have to admit that in the past I have been sceptical
But Sam described this miracle and I am overcome
How fitting that the citing of a sight-based intervention
Minchin’s clever wordplay comes into effect with this punny line. Tim uses two different definitions of the same word in this, with Sam’s mum “citing” the regaining of her “sight” as evidence of this higher power and its miraculous curing abilities.
Minchin’s clever wordplay comes into effect with this punny line. Tim uses two different definitions of the same word in this, with Sam’s mum “citing”the regaining of her “sight” as evidence of this higher power and its miraculous curing abilities.
Should open my eyes to this exciting new dimension
It’s like someone put an eye chart up on the wall in front of me
And the top five letters say I C G O D
The letters are reminiscent of the arrangements forced to be read out to test a patient’s eyesight. Together, these letters read “I see God”, reflecting Minchin’s supposed religious conversion.
Thank you, Sam, for showing how my point of view has been so flawed
I assumed there was no God at all but now I see that’s cynical
It’s simply that his interests aren’t particularly broad
He’s largely undiverted by the starving masses
The line in question brings into account one of the most common arguments against religion—or more specifically, God. If God is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful, then why does he allow the presence of evil? As Sam Harris phrased it: “Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either: impotent, evil, or imaginary”.
In the correlated statement, Minchin talks about the “starving masses”. In 2021, nearly 700 million people worldwide were living in poverty or 9% of the global populace. Why would God not choose to help these people? If you do not go down the disbelief route, then the feeding of the 4,000 showed his form to feed the masses—admittedly on a smaller scale—so does he just not care? Minchin implies in this passage God is real but is simply “undiverted”.
Or the inequality between the various classes
Minchin further adds that God has done nothing to close the gap between the privileged and those in the doldrums. South Africa leads the world with mass inequality between the rich and poor with a Gini coefficient of 0.63, the highest in the world of recording financial inequality. Although no rich man can get into Heaven, itself a very literal statement, the rich have clearly greater influence and prospects in society.
Minchin is a recognised leftist, describing himself as a socialist so that too factors in here. Such views are reflected in his piece “F**k The Poor”.
He gives out strictly limited passes
“Gives out strictly limited passes” implies that God only acts very rarely. God’s aid is very rare and Tim questions whether it just so happens to be for Sam’s mum’s eyes—something she claims is an act of God.
Redeemable for surgery or two-for-one glasses
Tim further digs in the knife with a comedic flourish, commenting that God gives out passes “redeemable for surgery or two-for-one glasses”. In this, Tim focuses in on the bizarre claim that God helped the eye-healing, hammering down on that point as God’s only form of aid on Earth. The “two-for-one glasses” is a reference to a common marketing strategy deal in which two can be bought for the price of a singular pair, furthering the odd imagery of God as a practising eye doctor, of sorts. Tim also uses the term “redeemable”, which may be a coincidence but may also be an allusion to Jesus Christ, God’s son, who is often referred to as such, most famously in the famous Brazilian monument.
I feel so shocking for historically mocking
Your interests are clearly confined to the ocular
I bet given the chance, you’d eschew the divine
In these lines , Minchin judges God’s inability to action, further isolating God’s power over in repair of Sam’s mum’s eye. “Confined” suggests God only works on the eyes with little care to aid in any other way. The adverb of manner “clearly” is a further literary hint at the now-improved resolution of Sam’s mum, maintaining the eye-based theme. It is also hinted that God should hang up his boots (or sandals, I guess) as a deity and just start work as a dedicated optometrist or ophthalmologist.
And start a little business selling contacts online
God here is made out to be more mortal than he is said to be. This verse humanises God as if more regular than he is envisioned.
The fact he is selling contacts “online” too retains anonymity, with a hint that God may not actually be behind Sam’s mum’s improvement. Also, it can be inferred that God’s “online” selling might be dodgy, suggesting God may be an internet con. This business is also “little”, implying only a few get the God treatment whilst many more who need his help will not, with it being a “business”, perhaps not God acting on morality but is in it for the profit and financial gain.
F**k me Sam, what are the odds that of history’s endless parade of gods
The bold fricative introduction with “f**k” is a startling and jarring opening, catching the listener’s attention with the expletive. It also prompts the asking of a rhetorical question, making the reader really comprehend and pour over their beliefs. The verb “parade” too is used to second-guess these deities, making them out to be rather comedic and buffoon-like.
That the God you just happened to be taught to believe in is the actual one
And he digs on healing?
Tim asks makes the snide comment that out of all the Gods possibly chosen, the God that people personally believe in is the right one—which is extremely unlikely, if they were to believe in God in the first place. All religions claim to be the correct one; thus there is only one that could possibly be true—if at all. Ricky Gervais comments: “There have been nearly 3,000 gods so far but only yours actually exists. The others are silly, made-up nonsense. But not yours, yours is real”.
Elsewhere, Hitchens states in addition: “Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong”. Indoctrinated with religious ideology, Minchin poses as to whether just because you were born into, taught, or indeed do believe in God – that makes you just so happen to make you right and in the knowledge everyone is wrong and will be punished for believing in another faith.
But not the AIDS-ridden African nations
Tim questions why God has done nothing, alluding to one of the most catastrophic events nothing has been done about: AIDS, especially in Africa. Nearly 40 million people have been killed by AIDS worldwide, with AIDS especially in abundance in Africa, seeing hundreds of thousands of deaths per year, if not more.
Sub-Saharan Africa saw 61% of new HIV infections in 2018, with 5% of the adult populous having AIDS as of 2020. South Africa has the largest HIV population of any country at 7 million or about 20% of the country’s population—one in four. 91% of HIV-positive children are in Africa.
In a 2009 debate, the atheist powerhouse team of Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry laid the blame at God for these events or his lack of action—even worsening of the issue. Christian ‘morality’ heavily condemns abortion—thus forcing Catholic Africans to bring yet another impoverished mouth into the world and exacerbate global hunger. Catholicism also condemns condoms, with the easy spread of AIDS as a result of unprotected sex; Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) even claimed that condoms caused AIDS to worsen. Simply put, God has done nothing to stamp out AIDS although surely he would have the power if you choose to believe in him.
Or the victims of the plague, or the flood-addled Asians
“The Plague” is a colloquial name for The Black Death. In the mid-14th century, the bubonic plague was the most fatal epidemic the world has ever faced, killing off an unknown amount due to differing figures but it is not unlikely the death toll reached 100 million, at a time when the global population was not even at 400 million. Although the exact total is unknown over a third of Europe is thought to have been wiped out as well as similar figures in the Middle East.
The plague lives on in the world today and has caused other notable deaths such as those killed in plagues in: England, Spain, Italy, China, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Russia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire, the USA, India, and everywhere else imaginable in the years since.
Surely if this was such a disastrous and long-spanning issue, it would or should have been resolved by now by God.
“Flood-addled Asians” can refer to various natural disasters, which are more directly seen as controlled by, or controllable by, God.
The most obvious one perhaps is the Boxing Day 2004 earthquake, alluded to in Minchin’s “Some People Have It Worse Than Me”. This tsunami caused by the earthquake led to mass flooding. The earthquake had a magnitude of between 9.1-9.3, the third-largest ever reported, killing nearly a quarter of a million people across 14 countries; it is the deadliest natural disaster of the 21st century.
Elsewhere, China holds the whole top five list of deadliest floods, with the highest estimates of the combined floods equating to a tragic seven million deaths.
This may go back to the overly privileged fairing off much better than the poor, with the suggestion that if God truly were to help Sam’s mum, he would be classist, aiding the wealthy whilst stubbornly ignoring the plight of the lower classes.
But healthy, privately-insured Australians
Sam, as Minchin’s friend, is also Australian—as well as Sam’s mum.
As established earlier, Sam’s mother is a “middle-class white bitch”, who, as an Australian is “private-insured”. This means that healthcare to her is relatively cheap in comparison to many others. This means God acts for people who do not necessarily need it and can easily access medical care whilst not for those who cannot afford or access such care perhaps due to living on lower wages or within a poorer nation. Why would Sam’s mum need God’s aid more than others, and why would God perform his miracles on her as a priority?
With common and curable corneal degeneration
In yet another display of his wordsmith skills, Minchin uses repeated repetition of the ‘c’, an alliterative technique stressing the plosive sound.
The fact that this is “common” highlights how it is not unsolvable and is known about so God is not the perpetrator of this eye-healing operation. It is “curable” and why would God help if it was—it is not a coincidence God can only cure curable matters? Tim thus outlines that God is, of course, of no relevance to Sam’s mum’s eye test.
Cataracts can be removed with surgery and are successful 90% of the time.
This story of Sam’s has but a single explanation
A surgical God who digs on magic operations
No, it couldn’t be mistaken attribution of causation
Tim repeatedly uses the word “No” ironically to express much more likely scenarios that he sarcastically and ironically says are less likely than divine intervention. In his first ‘dismissal’, he comments that God is far, far less likely to have an involvement than the mistaken reasoning put down for Sam’s mum’s injuries in the first place. Even though they are medical experts, “mistaken attribution of causation” is not uncommon whilst an unknown attribution of causation even still would not be explained away by God, bringing us back to the ‘Gods In The Gaps’ theory.
Born of a coincidental temporal correlation
Exacerbated by a general lack of education
Education is often seen in contrast with religious beliefs although religious indoctrination is common in schools, as stated by the likes of Gervais and Dawkins.
Rwanda, the most Catholic country in Africa and one of the foremost Catholic nations worldwide, has seen historical educational shortcomings, especially for the Hutu tribe. The 1994 genocide was triggered and empowered by Catholics, with a lack of education driving the Rwandan actions. As of 2020, 93.9% of Rwandans are Christians whilst the literacy rate at the time was only just over half.
Many of history’s great atheists are seen as intellectuals: Fry, Hitchens, and Twain to name a few whilst in the USA, religion is deeply entrenched in the south—with the citizens often portrayed as hicks and hillbillies.
Vis-a-vis physics in Sam’s parish congregation
And it couldn’t be that all these pious people are liars
Of course, religions will ignore the weight of evidence that contradicts their text, especially Christians and their Bible, as highlighted here.
For example, beliefs include that Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day by God. However, Science Advisor to the President Frank Collins remarked “Evolution…can and must be true”. Furthermore, Dawkins asks believers of creationism “So tell me: between the two of them, which was black, which was white, and which was Asian?”. Darwin’s theory is further strengthened by the adaptation of the human skill over time, or—perhaps more famously—the finch, which has adapted in order to more fruitfully achieve its functions in its surroundings.
Even when faced with mounting evidence on everything from no evidence of any kind for the ‘Eye Of A Needle’ to Genesis’ claim, the world is 6,000 years old despite noted fossils, volcanoes, and artefacts that vastly pre-date this timeline, religions, in general, refuse to accept them. These fall into categories such as the belief not everything should be taken literally in the Bible, God or the Lord “moves in mysterious ways” (a quote not actually mentioned in the Bible), or generally stubborn refusal.
Sam’s mum, thanks God although the operating doctor would surely have some objections to this dismissal of his work and previous years of hard graft.
The religious simply have an incentive to disbelieve evidence that goes against them, something astute and professional scientists would never dream of.
It couldn’t be an artefact of confirmation bias
Linking to the previous point, “confirmation bias” is when the overseer of reviewer already has an unbalanced and distorted view due to having predetermined their opinion. Thus, new discoveries are warped in a way that only adds credence to their hypothesis. Unable to look with an open mind, it is interpreted to simply and exclusively confirm their theory, even if it does not.
A product of groupthink, a mass delusion
“Groupthink” is a phrase that was popularised by William H. Whyte, Jr in 1952, ironically derived from the doublethink concept from George Orwell in 1984; Orwell himself has been described as a semi-atheist. Studies on groupthink were conducted by Yale research psychologist Irving Janus.
Groupthink is when individuals in a group suppress their personal views to bow to group conformity. Thus, irrational and dysfunctional decision-making is produced. Investopedia defines it in the following: “Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a group of individuals reaches a consensus without critical reasoning or evaluation of the consequences or alternatives. Groupthink is based on a common desire not to upset the balance of a group of people.”
Minchin also points to a “mass delusion”. Religion will cause mass disbelief or belief in a certain topic which they are incorrect on, although loyally faithful in the concept. Dawkins in particular refers to the religious as a whole as “deluded”. He has expanded, “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion.”
Religion does have roots in mass delusion including vast hysteria events including the Puritans’ influence over the Salem Witch Trials in which many believed the possibility and persecuted against those deemed as witches. When it was reported the “face of evil” had been seen after a screaming outbreak at a school in Malaysia, media sociologist and author Robert Bartholomew stated: “It is no coincidence that the Kelantan, the most religiously conservative of all Malaysian states, is also the one most prone to outbreaks [of hysteria].” Academic Afiq Noor supported this, arguing that harsh Islamic law had an influence. The BBC reported: “Similar outbreaks have also been reported in Catholic convents and monasteries across Mexico, Italy and France, in schools in Kosovo and even among cheerleaders in a rural North Carolina town.”
An Emperor’s New Clothes-style fear of exclusion
The Emperor’s New Clothes is a fairytale by legendary Danish author Hans Christian Andersen; the idiom Minchin uses is an allusion to this.
The story is that the obvious king is convinced into believing he is clothed in an invisible outfit by some conmen. Minchin draws parallels to this and religion, with the convictions and beliefs of others imposed on those unbelieving. The “exclusion” talks about how believers do not want to be excluded from religion in case they are wrong so choose to join one to reap the benefits. People join to not be left out, with many atheists citing the fear of death as a reason for religious popularity across the world.
No, it’s more likely to be an all-powerful magician
Than the misdiagnosis of the initial condition
Or one of many cases of spontaneous remission
Or a record-keeping glitch by the local physician
Here, Tim sarcastically dismisses far more likely conditions and reasons for recovery than God. This triad list is part of a rhyming quartet.
Tim lists “misdiagnosis” in which the wrong medical issue is attributed to a patient, “spontaneous remission” in which the medical case heals naturally, and a “record-keeping glitch” in which the written diagnosis is hindered by human or computer documented errors. All of these are not uncommon and far likelier than supernatural intervention.
And he liked the sound of their muttered verse
The Australian pianist’s point is that millions of people pray per day, in the hope God would answer. As established, there is no evidence of any help from God in preventing disaster or answering prayers in an evidential sense. The overlapping prayers would surely be impossible for even God to adhere and obey to. Plus, how irrelevant would these be to God if random people ask him for things?
These are also “muttered”. These are not loud and public displays to God but whispered in rooms where few can hear them. If their neighbours cannot hear them, what chance does God have—even if he is all-powerful? Logically, what can and would praying do with God doing little visibly positive that has been established concretely.
So for a bit of a change from his usual stunt
Of being a sexist, racist, murderous c**t
In the Old and New Testaments, women are presented as inferior with the idea of being submissive to the greater males. Thus, the sexism is blatant:
- “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12)
- “If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate a person to the Lord by giving the equivalent value, set the value of a male between the ages of twenty and sixty at fifty shekels of silver…for a female, set her value at thirty shekels.” (Leviticus 27:2-4)
- “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22)
- “Let your woman keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law…And if they learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)
- “A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period…If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.” (Leviticus 12:2-5)
In Minchin’s “The Good Book”, he even takes ‘morality’ from the Bible, remarking: “Swing your daughter by the hand/But if she gets raped by a man/And refuses then to marry him/Stone her to death!”
Racism in Old and New Testaments is present too:
- “I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab…Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women? (Nehemiah 13:23-27)
- “A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him [Jesus]…”Lord help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15:22-26)
- “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” (1 Peter 2:18)
Moreover, if God is real, there is clear discrimination between the white and non-white communities. Over 40% of Africans live below the poverty line of $1.90 whilst hundreds of millions fall short in Asia. In Madagascar, 78.8% earn less than $1.90, the highest rate in the world whilst Iceland has the best rate with 0.0% of the populous earning under $5.50.
God is certainly murderous with a conservative accumulative count of 2.5 million victims killed at the hands of God. This is both directly and indirectly. This includes: all life except those on Noah’s Arc, turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, sending bears to maul children for mocking a bald man, ordering the murder of half of million Israelites, and ordering the wipeout of everyone (including women and children) in the Promised Land, sending plagues to Egypt, and knocking over a wall to kill 27,000 people.
The “c**t” is extremely bold and blasphemous. This word is still very much a no-go in the USA, seen as unspeakable and filthy. To call God by this name then is stark and offensive, amping up the strongly-toned atheism to 11.
He popped down to Dandenong and just like that
Dandenong is a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. In the pre-song spiel, Minchin explains this is where Sam is from. The town had under 30,000 residents as of 2016 and is largely unknown worldwide, hence the idea God operated there of all places is made all the more unlikely. People here are particularly religious or as Tim puts it “simple”.
Used his powers to heal the cataracts of Sam’s mum
Of Sam’s mum
I didn’t realize that it was such a simple thing
I feel such a ding-a-ling, what ignorant scum!
A “ding-a-ling” is a North American slang term popularised in the 1930s. It is used to describe a foolish, stupid, and/or eccentric person, named onomatopoeically after the ringing of a bell. This is ironic and sarcastic.
The term is also an informal euphemism for a penis. It could be argued this is a reference to that and potential connotations (i.e. religious opposition to homosexuality, widespread sexual misconduct, etc.) although to say that would be a stretch and quite contrived.
Now I understand how prayer can work:
A particular prayer in a particular church
In a particular style with a particular stuff
And for particular problems that aren’t particularly tough,
And for particular people, preferably white
Minchin highlights the very specific nature in which ‘miracles’ happen, with conditions needing to be perfect, repeating the term “particular” to demonstrate the exact rituals needed to be followed to cause the rare supposed ‘miracles’.
In this line, Minchin further comments on how if God does act for the people on Earth, he does it in a way that is extremely beneficial to the Caucasian race. The preferential treatment of white people has led to the creation of the concept of ‘White Privilege’.
And for particular senses, preferably sight
Minchin again highlights how God seems to only perform ‘miracles’ on the eyes and nowhere else.
A particular prayer in a particular spot
To a particular version of a particular god
And if you get that right, he just might
Take a break from giving babies malaria
Arguments against God would say that God, being all-powerful and all-loving, he is either impotent, evil, or imaginary—going back to Sam Harris’ comments. So why would he not cure the malaria issue?
Just figures from recent years highlight the malaria problem. 2019 saw 227 million cases, rising to 241 million by 2020; 69,000 more died in 2020 than in 2019. The majority are in Africa and the majority are under five. Africa has 95% of cases and 96% of deaths. Four African countries account for over half of all malarian deaths: Nigeria (31.9%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (13.2%), the United Republic of Tanzania (4.1%), and Mozambique (3.8%). 27% of the land surface on Earth is still an area of risk for malaria. In Rwanda, 486.49 per 1,000 are at risk or nearly half of the populous. Most of those affected are vastly religious. With this in mind, why has God not acted dutifully and lovingly?
This line about “giving babies malaria” takes this ideology up a notch. Not content with God’s inaction, Tim phrases this in a deliberately malicious way to say God is personally and harshly giving malaria to force suffering. This slanderous claim adds oomph and power to his statement, especially as we are dealing with innocent and defenceless babies.
And pop down to your local area
To fix the cataracts of your mum!
Tim sometimes adds a sarcastic “Hallelujah!” to the end of the track. The term, a joyous praise of God, is used as a final nail in the coffin of religion as the song closes. A defiant last gasp at the end before the song closes out, a witty exclamation before the final curtain.
Tim Minchin’s “Thank You God” perfectly surmises his personal views on religion whilst simultaneously serving up his well-formulated arguments on a platter.
To dissect the piece is to fall into a fascinating theological perspective in which the basis of religion in society is held to close scrutiny in a way that is both poignant yet executed with a comedic flourish. It is clear that the Australian is thorough and succinct in his style, able to encapsulate his mindset creatively and uniquely.
As mentioned earlier, this is his magnum opus but that is not to say other pieces of his similar to this are not worth mentioning. Minchin, across his portfolio, has spread his word in a greater and more straightforward way, it could be argued, than God himself.
Hallelujah, Tim. Hallelujah.