Holy Nonsense

Let’s start a prayer avalanche: We all need prayers right now… If I don’t see your name, I’ll understand. May I ask my “FB Family” wherever you may be to kindly copy, paste and share this status for one hour to give a prayer of support to all those who have family problems, health, struggles …and worries and just …need… to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us for no-one is immune. I hope to see this on the walls of all my friends just for moral support. I know some will!! I did it for a friend and you can too. Share some faith and love to those in need. God works in mysterious ways! Better days to come in 2012. I love you all…

I’m sure that if you have a Facebook account that you have seen more than your share of posts like this one, as well as their more offensive counterpart, “re-post this if you love Jesus.” I don’t want to seem unkind, and I am quite certain that the people who start and perpetuate this sort of nonsense are really, for the most part, very well-intended…but!

It just scares the hell out of me that people really believe this is how spirituality works! If you are one of those people who just love this sort of crap, have you thought this through?

So, God is an interventionist sort of dude, but only if you bother him enough – and for these people God is always  a “he.” In fact, he is a he with a very large penis. Have you ever noticed how when people with different views of God get into an argument about God it always seems to be an argument about how butch and tough their God is and what a sissy God the other person’s God is? George Carlin said that these arguments boil down to “My God’s got a bigger dick than your God does,” and I think he was right.

But, I digress. In this view God sits off at a considerable distance and is all-powerful, all-knowing, completely loving, and makes a habit of intervening in human affairs to save lives, end suffering, and cure disease, BUT only if human beings beg him to do so. If there isn’t enough begging going on, then this loving God will simply let the sick die, the suffering continue to suffer – heck, for good measure he might even increase their suffering because he is pissed off that there isn’t enough begging going on – and, if you happen to be on the edge of death and danger not only are you dead meat, but God might just bump off some of those people who didn’t beg enough just for shits and giggles. So, by all means, let’s get those prayers up on our Facebook walls! They will show people we care, because it takes so long to copy and paste.

Really? Seriously? Would you want to spend all eternity with a God who is an asshole like the God I just described? Wouldn’t hell be a more enjoyable alternative?

Oh, some will say, but God needs us to agree with his intentions in order to act them out! Really? Whatever gave you that idea? I mean, beyond the institutions that write doctrine and dogma to keep us coming back and emptying our wallets in a misguided attempt to buy God’s favor, what gives you that idea? Have you ever read anything in the Bible that would give you that idea, or in the scripture of any other tradition for that matter? Of course you haven’t, because it isn’t there.

Mind you, I am not opposed to prayer at all. Quite the contrary, I think that prayer is very effective and there are studies that support the idea that it is effective – but it’s not effective because God is just waiting for us to beg enough, it’s effective because we are all interconnected and energy is exchanged between us in ways and through channels that we don’t completely understand yet and cannot yet measure. The fact that we can’t measure how it happens does not mean that it doesn’t happen – as is suggested in the studies showing that surgical patients who were prayed for recovered faster than those who weren’t prayed for even when they didn’t know anyone was praying for them!

There are, of course, people for whom we pray who don’t recover – largely because everybody dies sooner or later. The fact of their transition is not the result of not enough people begging God to spare their lives with enough fervor, or because God has PMS that day and so just didn’t give a care how many people prayed, but rather because that is how life works.

You see, the problem is that if the people who post this kind of nonsense to their Facebook wall really believe that is how God works then they are going to live lives that are but caricatures of real life. They will run around groveling and begging and posting things on their social media sites when they could be out doing something that really is efficacious – like listening to a friend with a problem, or holding a sick person’s hand, or visiting an elderly person who can’t get out as much as they would like.

Of course, you’re free to waste your time mindlessly posting nonsense on Facebook and encouraging others to do so as well. You’ll forgive me if I don’t participate.

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