The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CXXXVIII (Prayer Healing)

August 15, 2005 | 8 Comments

What do you do when a neighbor who is about to have a cancer operation asks you to pray for him? The Squad gives an answer it apparently thinks would convince even the most hardened skeptic:

You should pray for him. Even if you personally don’t believe that prayer can cure cancer, remember you’re praying he can summon the courage to cope with his illness.

Now, the reader didn’t say anything about whether he believed that sky-mumbling can cure disease. But if the Squad thought he might be skeptical about that, it should have considered that he might also be skeptical about prayer’s ability to do anything. The sort of person who doubts the existence of supernatural beings who invade people’s bodies to fight cancer cells is unlikely to believe that there are nevertheless similar phantoms who go through all that trouble just to tinker with the courage-bone. (What the Squad itself believes about prayer-cures is anybody’s guess; they seem to think it works better for dogs than for grandmothers).

The Squad also counsels the reader not to cry in front of the neighbor and warns: “don’t talk about how great a place heaven is.” Let’s see: not two months ago another reader told the Squad he had colon cancer. Then, they they said:

We do know that someday, when you are called by God to your heavenly home, all will make sense.

Maybe you’re just not supposed talk about heaven, but it’s okay to write about it. Who knows. This sort of advice almost makes me respect the La Shawn Barbers of the world (okay, not really), who are so consistent in their believe in the afterlife that they skip over the cure nonsense and pray that you’ll get a seat in the clouds.


8 Responses to “God Squad Review CXXXVIII (Prayer Healing)”

  1. Seth
    August 15th, 2005 @ 12:13 am

    Ah, ya shoulda reviewed the first letter. Oh no, people wearing religious symbols did bad things! How could that be?

  2. hermesten
    August 15th, 2005 @ 9:56 am

    Actually, this all makes perfect sense. God gives “Prayer Sweepstakes Bonus Points,” redeemable for personal prayers, to anyone who gets someone else, who would not have prayed otherwise, to pray. The greater the “distance from God” of the person you get to pray, the more points you get. If you get an atheist to pray you become eligible for selection as God’s employee of the Month. If you get an atheist to pray, and mean it, you’re eligible for selection as God’s employee of the year –plus you get to choose any of your past prayers for God to answer (the answer may be fuck no, but what they hey).

  3. Frank
    August 15th, 2005 @ 10:54 am

    RA — I’ll have to agree with you on this one. The God Squad’s advice here is somewhat ridiculous. If God can grant the courage to deal with an illness can he not also heal the illness? Likewise, if he is incapable of healing the illness what is to make one believe he can grant the courage to deal with it? The God of the Bible is one of unlimited power, capable of doing whatever he wishes. The squad’s answer doesn’t seem to indicate a belief in that.

  4. AK
    August 15th, 2005 @ 11:28 am

    How can you expect consistency from “squad” that is composed of one Catholic and one Jew? Trying to get them to puzzle-piece their worldviews together to make coherent statements is going to result in all kinds of lunacy.

    As if any ONE religion made any sense, with the squad we got a DOUBLE DOSE of incoherent baloney.

  5. leon
    August 15th, 2005 @ 1:02 pm

    Is sky-mumbling any different than thinking to one’s self, “Gee, I hope his operation is successful.” God is supposed to be omnipresent and omnipotent. What difference does it make whether someone prays or whether one merely thinks it? Why would praying be more significant than simply thinking to oneself, “Gosh, I hope he gets better.”? Does a little red light come on on the top of your head (what difference would it make if the light was on your ass or on your foot) to let god know your are praying? Why would a omnipotent being need a special indicator to signal that prayer mode is in process? People who pray must think their sky daddy isn’t listening unless they are praying. That contradicts the meaning of omnipotence. It seems that the more religious a person is, the less they understand their god. Why would getting on your knees, putting your hands together, and making a face like you were constipated make your message to god more important?
    Therefore god doesn’t exist.

  6. Dave
    August 15th, 2005 @ 1:50 pm

    Well leon, you see, for God it’s not about the disease or the cure or the courage or anything. It’s about giving an insecure and jealous God the attention that he so desperately craves. For God, it is not primarily about good and evil, pain and joy; it’s about submission. Having the humans bowing down and sucking up. That’s what makes God happy. He enjoys giving people cancer, just so that he can hear them pray. And the sicker they get, the more they pray. So, why would he cure anybody?

  7. leon
    August 15th, 2005 @ 7:06 pm


    It sounds like you are talking about a priest or minister or whatever special name they want to be called.

    ps- whats the difference between poop and shit?

  8. Major Woody
    August 19th, 2005 @ 5:38 am

    Let’s see, if the logic of the God Squad is correct, if a Satanist with cancer asks a Christian friend to sacrifice a goat to his Dark Master at midnight in a pentagram, then he should just go ahead and do it, right? Or am I missing something here?

    This is easily reconciled, of course, by the simple fact that religion and logic are necessarily mutually exclusive. No problemo, then!

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