….Or, Asking the All-Knowing: You, God, and Your Prayers Part Two!
Now, I don’t care much for following disasters when they hit and their aftermaths. I find it kind of pointless, or, really, I don’t get the point of reading article after article after article or watching reel after reel after reel about victim 11, 17, and 22 (because she lost TWO KIDS). Now, if so many of these forms of media weren’t so high on wringing sentimentality and your empathy dry, and focused more on, say, donating, I’ll be fine. But I find it superbly irritating that people get annoyed with those starving kids in Africa charity ads (“They’re just trying to make you feel guilty. How low!”) and yet don’t seem all that acidic towards multiple media coverage of all disasters in existence.
Of course, they most always end in lovely information on how to donate after running a story (with commercials, for goodness’ sake… I have no idea why that bothers me), but once you start really going after these victims… I mean, do you really need to know how the children died in the school, or who their parents were, or who were orphans to convince you that, hey, a tornado has ravaged Oklahoma and you need to donate? Maybe?
Now, more on topic, I shall now segue into something some are doing that I find pointless.
Mama had called me upstairs starting about Ricky Gervais and the Oklahoma disaster. At first, since Ma seemed irritated, I thought Gervais had said something awful in the name of atheism on disasters, like, “Where is your god, now, hahahaaha” type shit. Apparently, Gervais was admonishing from his Twitter account celebrities and other people who were spreading tweets about praying for Oklahoma, and telling them to instead donate money and do other things.
As you might of guessed, I found this totally right and didn’t consider the matter further, especially as Ma went on, as I recall, about Gervais shouldn’t be worrying about what other people do, and ‘freedom of religion and speech’ so these people can do what they want. I ended up leaving the room saying, “He just wants people to actually do something instead of thinking they are.”
And I felt pretty bad about that. I mean, she and the many others praying and those that have prayed and those that will pray often think they are making a difference, or, at the very least, that’s what their gods want. I felt that I was being pretty offensive.
And then I came across Jerry Coyne’s post on Ricky Gervais on his site Why Evolution is True. Now he slaps no wrists when he’s telling the facts of life. Honestly, he’s pretty refreshing because people who are softer tend to meld into other beliefs pretty easily. I’m still pretty soft on people who are against abortion and gay marriage for honest personal reasons. They hold no water whatsoever, but I don’t believe one really has a handle on those sorts of things, you know? Subsequently, I have some not-so-pro-choice beliefs while being, duh, mostly pro-choice. I’m all for gay marriage- but don’t force churches, or sue them, or whatever crosses your mind about them. I mean, they don’t want you and think you’re going to hell. Just let them stew on their own.
And this is my site and I can talk about whatever I want and if I want to talk about people wasting their time on a massive scale (collectively, not individually) on prayer, well, I’m not forcing anyone to read this, now am I?
Now consider that over there, as I am sure you’ve considered before. I would liketo just take on the second assertion. There are plenty of things that I’m able to do, but not willing- doesn’t necessarily mean I’m malevolent.
Like, I’m able to do hell of a lot more for those starving kids in Africa, but I don’t want to. I want to do other things. Does that mean I am malevolent letting them die?
Oh, wait. Yea, it does.
Well, I’m able to give blood, but I don’t like needles. Does that cowardice prove my malevolence towards those that desperately need my blood?
Eh… Yea, it does.
Oh! I’m able to give more money and food to homeless and the like but I’m not willing because I don’t trust that I will make a difference. And when I come back down the street and find that same hobo crying over a sandwich someone had so lovingly bought him, am I malevolent in my thinking that I had snubbed him for good reasons?
Yea. I am. At least, I think so.
So, nevermind. I think an all-knowing god of any kind would find better reason than none to help a drowning child underneath the rubble of his school. (That ol’ sentimentality wringing ya’ heart guts yet?)
I believe that if any god was real, it would have to be all-knowing and all-powerful, to make everything, and to make everything perfect. It would not need be all-benevolent. And whether or not I would worship it is another post in entirety. Maybe this post on an asshole god.
Well, whichever of maybe!Epicurus’ gods that the people of the world are praying to in order to help Oklahoma, some questions come up, some of which were turned over in my earlier post about prayers:
One: What does one think is accomplished when a prayer is sent out? Like, physically, or magically, what happens? Does god go, “Oh? A tornado? Well, would you look at that! Better get to it!” or perhaps… “Oh, it seems a lot of people are getting pretty down about this. I better intervene!”
Two: Pretty much continuing from one, why does a collection of prayers make a difference? Does god only decide to act after he gets 12,000 hits of begging voices? Why is not one grieving mother enough? One traumatized child (and this goes for the media with the multiple covers of the homeless and bereft)? He wouldn’t forsake anyone. So if he sees the homes ravaged beyond belief, even if no one goes to him with supplications, could he not try to help? Does he really need an invitation?
Three: This may be hard to reconcile with if you’re not an atheist, but, as I assume that you’re either Christian or atheist, perhaps ninety-percent of America, imagine if a bunch of Muslims were praying to Allah for Oklahoma’s relief. You probably think they aren’t doing anything. Matter-of-fact, especially if you’re Christian, you’re pretty damn sure they aren’t doing anything.
That’s how I feel about Christians who pray for anything. When they do that, they are doing nothing to help. But the worst of it is that they probably think they are, and any good that happens to Oklahoma, especially on a huge scale (Durant, for instance), they’ll blame god, and not, you know, thousands of people, or Durant. The only responsible beings.
And that leads to even more people praying for things, leads to people doing absolutely nothing and thinking they are. People who feel good with themselves without an ounce of action behind their words. Can you imagine the amount of people who pray to have donated a dollar every time they prayed? Maybe then miracles will truly happen.