God....and Prayers.

Riven

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I came from the flavor of evangelical Christianity where God was intricately involved in every aspect of my life. God was interested in getting me a better job, finding me a husband, and clearing out a primo parking space at Trader Joes. Oh yes, He was blessing me every. single. day.

 

The conversations would go like this:

 

"God blessed me big time today. You know that dress I really wanted to my anniversary dinner? It went on sale! I mean, God knows how tight money is with us, and I just can't believe He would make a way for me to be able to buy it." Or, "God just knew I needed a phone call from (whomever) today. He just knows exactly what I need."

 

You get the idea. I just knew that God was interested in every single detail of my life.

 

Pure Western Christianity ego-centrism.

 

So now, let's juxtapose this with the prayers of a refugee in a war torn country. Afraid for their children, they're praying desperately for a way out that never comes. Or the mother with the child who is desperately ill and in pain. Does that child get relief from the very real pain? What about the dying child? These seem like answer-worthy prayers. In fact, they seem (and mind you, I'm just a human, so I can't claim to know God's priorities), those prayers seem like they might just outrank the dress going on sale, or the best parking spot He decided to bless you with.

 

I have two thoughts about this.

 

One: When God fails to answer our prayers, he's got a mighty "get out of jail free" card. It's called His Will. When worthy prayers are not answered, then it's His "mysterious will." God is not to be questioned. His ways are higher than ours. You know the drill. However, when he finds me a parking spot, he gets all the praise. How many Christians ever stop to think how incredibly self-centered they sound as they make the (supposed) God of the Universe their personal prayer bitch? Did they ever stop and think about the really horrible things that happen to people in this world, whose prayers go completely and totally unanswered?

 

Two: Wow and double wow for your close personal relationship with God. He's intimately involved in every aspect of your thoughts and your life, and He's always going before you to make a way and bless you. Did it ever occur to you that your life is actually blessed by virtue of where and to whom you were born? DIdn't think so.

 

So the next time your Christian buddy thinks being religionless makes you selfish, this might be a good object lesson to bring up.



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I was the same kind of Christian. There’s a book called “When God Talks Back” by cultural anthropologist TM Luhrmann. It’s about people like us! 

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@Positivist thank you! I'm reading up a storm these days, and I am devouring anything and everything to help me understand how I was so entrenched inside this religion for so many years. I'm off to Amazon to put it on my Wishlist!

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A facebook friend (and Methodist minister) recently posted something to the effect of "'Thy Will Be Done' -- the prayer that never fails." She clearly didn't understand how ironic that is. If this god were real, it would be his ultimate "get out of all responsibility" card. What it really is, is the best way for a person to ignore any cognitive dissonance they may experience.

 

Another thing I've noticed is people who have a lot of problems, after they've described the latest serious difficulty in their life, adding "God is good all the time, and all the time God is good." Really? They're receiving no help at all beyond, for instance, what the doctors can do for them at the moment, and they can't figure out what's wrong, yet they end this by claiming that their god must be doing good things for you even though they have no idea what those good things are. The reality is that they're trying to remain faithful, even though there's no reason to. But they believe that they must. It's sad.

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I agree @Lerk it is sad. I think I was in that place in my last years as a Christian. I couldn't look at the *actual* God of the Bible, because that would mean I had to look at my "Good God" as one that ordered genocide, yet was still "good." That feels intellectually dishonest, so it's easier not to look at it. In the end, I could hardly look anywhere else. All I could see was inconsistencies in the way I, and others, saw this "good" God.

 

I've been going through a really tough time these past few weeks. I'm slowly realizing that mind control worked on me, for a long, long time. Now I have to pick up the pieces, and live to the fullest, for as long as I have. At least I'm free.

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