Prayer: neglect without shame.

Reading the prayer requests on Mark Shea’s blog always fills me with bewilderment.  For one, their prayers seem like an indictment on the same god they worship for being oh-so-good.  I mean, you can’t think that you’re bringing the situation to god’s attention.  If the guy’s all knowing, he has surely been aware of whatever sickness you’re praying about and, despite being able to do something, has not done so.  The only reason you’d pray in this case is if you think he’s the type of god who won’t act out of compassion, but who might act once someone has engaged in sufficient groveling and begging.

Yeah, sign me up to worship that guy.

It’s always so weird criticizing religion in these cases.  Obviously I lament that people are suffering (far more than god, apparently), but that doesn’t make me despise religion and lazy thinking any less.  It’s bad enough when a person who, left only to the mercy of the almighty, would certainly die is taken to hospital built by mere mortals and treated by mere mortals using the ingenuity of mere mortals, and their combined efforts unmake whatever malady god decided his design needed, and god is given the credit.  It’s worse when someone acts as if even more divine negligence is the cure.

I almost threw up when I read this entry:

I seem to be asking a lot, but I could use any prayers you can offer. The bad news in my life is never-ending I keep finding myself at my wits end. Frankly, I’m not sure I can last another month in my current trajectory much less another year of this emotional and financial hell I’m in. Sorry if it seems like I’m emailing you every month but I honestly don’t know what to do.

Father, hear our prayer that my reader find good and steady work and get out of the difficulties in which he currently finds himself.  Grant him peace and trust in your providence.  Mother Mary and St. Joseph, pray for him. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

HOLY FUCK!

Ok, pray if you must, but for fuck’s sake don’t leave it there.  This person is obviously severely depressed and they need a doctor or a therapist.  To merely dump some more begging at the feet of the same being who, in creating the cosmos, even conceived of depression in the first place (and decided this person needed it), before dusting off your hands and calling it a day is perhaps not god-level negligence, but it’s close.

That’s the problem with religion: allowing people to think they sound wise or that they are being helpful by leaving it to a god they’ve never seen.  It’s the same as neglect, just with more arrogance.  It would be inaction if not for posturing being an action.

I seem to be asking a lot, but I could use any prayers you can offer. The bad news in my life is never-ending I keep finding myself at my wits end. Frankly, I’m not sure I can last another month in my current trajectory much less another year of this emotional and financial hell I’m in. Sorry if it seems like I’m emailing you every month but I honestly don’t know what to do.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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