Neglecting to mention the countless human beings suffering around the globe, an obtuse Victoria Osteen tried to justify the notion of praying for a parking spot, arguing that by doing so she was not “dumbing down” prayer.
Osteen, co-pastor of the Lakewood megachurch with her husband, Joel Osteen, spoke to HuffPost Live about the kind of prayer she practices in her daily life:
“Even if I’m going to drop my kids off, or I need to park somewhere, I’m like, ‘OK God, you know I’m in this parking lot, you know any place you can open up for me would be great!’ I just have this relationship- I’m not dumbing down prayer. What I’m doing- it’s just part of my life.”
While it is an ambitious task to attempt to argue the theological merits of praying for a parking space, in the end we must admit that Victoria Osteen’s assertions are problematic for multiple reasons.
First, in the zero-sum game of high stakes parking, praying for a great parking spot is the same as praying that another will fail to find that great parking spot; i.e.: “Lord help me find a great parking spot” really means “Lord make someone else walk further.” And while praying for another to fail may be human, all too human, a charitable reading of Christ’s teachings would most probably frown upon such a prayer.
Indeed, the idea that one would beseech a god to answer such a trivial prayer concerning a parking spot, when there is so much suffering in this world, is mind-boggling in its simpleminded selfishness. A god that would answer such a prayer, while ignoring the pain and suffering of so many others, would make such a god a moral monster not worthy of worship.
How can Victoria Osteen, or any other first world Christian, believe that God cares more about finding them a parking spot than the plight of so many who live in abject poverty and suffering on this planet?
Of course, in the big scheme of things, prayer is futile – spiritual masturbation, a conversation with one’s self, a monologue as opposed to a dialogue.
There is no god listening to Victoria Osteen pray for a parking spot. There is no god that punishes sinners and rewards saints. There is no god.
There is, however, an intellectual fragility and moral perversity in human nature that allows con artists like Joel and Victoria Osteen to take advantage of the ignorant, the gullible, and the desperate, in Jesus’ name.