Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why I honestly don't want your prayers.

This is a touchy subject I know, but I did say I was going to be honest from here on out, and since my blog a few days ago has several people feeling inclined to recommend Lee Strobel books to me, I might as well talk a little more about my religious views or lack thereof.  

One thing I have always hated, even when I was still tucked neatly into the fold, was when people say that they're praying for you.  I don't know why exactly I've always hated it, but I've certainly never taken one iota of comfort from people's pledge to pray for me.   Nor have I seen any results from my own prayers that lead me to believe that events occur or don't occur based on our ability to change God's mind.  I've been taught that God gives one of three answers: yes, no, or wait.  Which is a really convenient way of saying "things happen or sometimes they don't happen," or in other words, "god may or may not have heard your prayer but I can't see how it would've changed things anyway."  I've also been taught that God knows what we need regardless of our telling him.  So what then, is the point of prayer?  I've been taught and I've told others, "prayer doesn't change God, it changes us."  That sounds almost poetic enough to make me not mind that it doesn't really make sense.  God's either going to do something or he's not, right?  What does it matter if we change other than on a personal level?  It doesn't change the reality of the situation.  

While I'm on the subject, one of the more disgusting things to me, especially when I was a Christian, is public prayer.  There's few things less like a pharisee than the Christian that fought to keep prayer in school.  What you really wanted to keep in school is people's opinion that you're a godly person.   It made my skin crawl then, and today is no different.   I don't remember the last time I bowed my head at a dinner table or at church when I went.  Because those places were not "my inner most room."  

So here is my confession:
If, at some point, I ever told you that I was praying for you (and this would've had to be years ago), I'm sorry, I didn't get around to it.  But hey, it looks like you turned out alright after all, what a surprise.
Here is another confession:
Shortly after the preacher gave a sermon about Hell and successfully scared the shit out of young Taylor, convincing him to run down the aisle and give his life to Jesus,  Young Taylor made another decision.  Everyone was so happy about his salvation that he wanted more and ran down the aisle a second time, this time to accept the "call to the ministry."  Here's the confession.  I lied.  I lied through my overly large front teeth and I knew I was doing it.  I've never felt called to do anything.  If I told you I was, I lied to you, and I knew I was doing it.  I'm not saying I didn't have faith then.  I did, but to be fair, I hadn't given it a lot of thought.  Probably wasn't capable of giving it the kind of thought it deserved.  I just bought in without shopping around.  All that to say, I've never once in my life heard the undeniable voice of Jesus that everyone else seems to have heard.  But I did pretend to, because I am a weak willed liar, apparently. 

So in conclusion, pray for me if you really feel like you have to, but I would rather you didn't.  I would rather you got up and did something productive with your life.  Create something, volunteer in your community, that sort of thing.  

"Its not the parts of the Bible I don't understand that bother me, its the parts I do" - Mark Twain


  1. I don't think you have overly large front teeth.

    ba dum ching!

  2. I'm in the same position as you. I think it's absurd when I hear people are praying for me or anyone else. There's a great site called 'Why Won't God Heal Amputees' that tackles the ideas behind prayer and gave me confidence in that rationality does exist in this world somewhere. I think attacking prayer goes a long way in bringing someone around on religion.

  3. I think attacking anything might be a little horrible and hasty.

  4. I think "attacking" and "challenging" are synonymous in this situation, and therefore I, personally, don't think anyone's out of line. I think its dangerous and unhealthy to hold up any subject matter as undebatable.

  5. This post is completely awesome.

  6. I think you might like many of my blog posts: Kind of ironic, we both posted on similar topics this week (scroll down to the third or fourth post down).

  7. No matter should be taboo for debate, but debate means that you already hold a point of view. The manner in which you express that point of view should be respectful and kind. Attacking is to mock or discredit someone while using offensive or hurtful language. This only brings a counter-attack, not dialogue. I pray because I've seen it work, not because mom and dad told me to. Be careful not to assume that we're all the same because of the 10 or so you've had a bad experience with.

  8. My dearest brother,
    By that definition, I don't see anything in the post or the comments that "attacks." What specifically makes you feel attacked, if anything? What 10 or so bad experiences are you talking about and who am I assuming is all the same? Christians? Theists? Since we've not really talked about it and I'm sure Mom and Dad have, I can only assume that you're basing your idea of what's going on with me on their information and this blog. Dad, especially, seems to labor under the dillusion that all of my problems with church and faith come from my view of hypocrites in the church or by some failure on his part. This could not be farther from the truth. He has always been way more troubled by hypocrisy than I have. So please don't assume that my lack of faith stems from something I did or didn't see in other people. Most of my favorite people in the world are church going Christians, after all. You should know, you're one of them.

  9. MY dearest brother,
    What makes you think I'm talking about you? It was the phrasing used by "Josh" that I'm questioning.

  10. whoops, that last post was Seth, not Kara. Didn't know she was still signed in. I thought that was too easy...

  11. I apperciate your honesty. My husband feels the same way as you. Interesting because we met in "missions". I am somewhere in the middle, still figuring out what I think and believe. Some are really threatened by my journey, given I have been a Christion my whole life. Some are relieved to hear someone openly strugle with the questions they are afraid to ask. All I know is that I choose to live and love.