Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How Prayers Favor Celebrities

Christians are big on telling people they will pray for them. In fact, many atheists are often left to wonder how to respond to such a claim. Since to the atheist, praying may be simply a form of mediation (even though the person may believe they are conversing with another "being" that they can persuade to help in some way, which is like writing your senator, congressman, or president), saying "I'll pray for you" is like saying "I'll meditate on that for you." Umm... thanks?

The whole problem with the idea of "prayer," however, is that it assumes God set up this "system" we are a part of, to run our own willingness to devote the finite amount of time and energy we have in this life, to nagging Him for the things he already knows we need in the first place.

This is like a parent who decides they want to teach their child something (although I'm not sure what) by forcing that child to "pray" (i.e. ask, beg, plead, etc) to them for things like food, shelter, clothes, school supplies, you name it.  Of course the parent, like God, already knows their child needs new shoes or school supplies, but rather than ensure the child has these things, the parent, acting like God, decides to wait until the child "prays" for them.

This doesn't mean the parent will give that child new shoes just because they said a couple of prayers, however. Sometimes the child will have to pray for days, weeks, maybe even months, before the parent decides to give the child new shoes.The child can even ask their other friends and siblings to "pray" for those new shoes as well, in the hopes that the sheer clamor of voices will basically force their parents to give in and finally buy that child the shoes they already knew he or she needed to begin with.

But that's only "if" the parents decide to buy their child new shoes. Like God, sometimes the parents will say "no" by simply not answering the child's prayers for new shoes at all. And even though the child may continue to pray for shoes that they desperately need, the parents have made their decision, and the child will just have to learn that no matter how much they pray, "god" is not going to give them any new shoes. Hence, they will just have to learn whatever it is "god" is trying to teach them by NOT giving them the shoes they need.

But there's another problem with such a system as well - it favors celebrities. Like the selling of indulgences favored the rich, so a system based on prayers favors the famous. If getting better from a disease God saw fit to inflict upon you, or getting out of purgatory early for good behavior, or even your chances of winning the lottery, are all helped by a kind of lottery system based on "prayers," then like a person who buys the most number of lottery tickets, someone who has the most people praying for them has the best chances.

When WWE hero Ric Flair takes to twitter to ask for prayers for his fiancee who was in a car accident, his celebrity status means many more people are going to be nagging God for help. (That God was too busy to prevent the accident in the first place is another matter, of course.) The hermit who knows no one, on the other hand, can expect no help at all, or to spend near eternity in purgatory, since they may have only themselves to rely on to beseech God for assistance. 

 Such a system only incentivizes people to release a sex tape, like Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, or Pamela Anderson, since simply being famous can greatly impact a persons ability to influence God's plan, by virtue of having so many more "prayer warriors" nagging God for whatever it is we want!

Such a system also means that, not only are people simply NOT willing to accept "God's plan" whenever they disagree with it, but that they believe they can skirt around God's plan much to their own benefit by praying to subordinates in heaven like dead relatives, saints, or even the virgin Mary.

Of course, when things work out in a way that demonstrates God either wasn't listening or simply replied with a silent "no" (it is impossible to tell the difference between these two replies, of course, but Christians have a "divine" gift for simply "knowing" the difference), this does nothing to dissuade such people from their conviction that God is still listening to their pleas and loves them like a child (who has no shoes).

That they would immediately think that any parent who dared to raise their own children this way was either a monster or completely insane, does nothing to deter them from often forcing their own children to accept that God is "the greatest Dad in the world!"  And while they want their own children to be life Christ, they would be convinced that anyone who chose to raise their own children like God was worse than the devil.   

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