The Raving Theist

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Es-Choo!

February 8, 2009 | 71 Comments

New York City is probably the most godless place on Earth. To its great shame, it was beaten by other cities in the race to host an offensive atheist bus advertising campaign. Playing catch-up, Henry of the NYC Atheists’ blog is soliciting slogans for the Big Apple’s entry into the field. However, after spewing out all his blasphemy in the post, he suggests that it’s time to play nice:

If you had to select a brief message to promote our cause, what would it be? NYC Atheists are hoping to organize a bus advertising campaign, similar to the London and Washington efforts that lately have made headlines. It’s not inexpensive to lease the space, so we need to get the words just right: sufficiently provocative to draw attention (free press) while avoiding an unnecessarily confrontational tone. It’s a pretty safe bet that MTA/NYC Transit will take a careful look at what we choose to say, so let’s stay away from simple messages such as: “god is dead; you’re not”; “Three fairy tales: the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and god”; “Eschew god; embrace Atheism”. My first impulse, for example, is to speak directly to our fellow Atheists: “You are not alone: NYC Atheists” But I’m certain that others will come up with something better; let’s all put our thinking hats on.

Henry is right to eschew “eschew.” The most likely response that word would provoke from sleepy, downtrodden commuters is “God bless you!” So help Henry out. What is the most provocative yet non-confrontational message a group of militant atheists could promote?

Comments

71 Responses to “Es-Choo!”

  1. Beelzebub
    February 8th, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

    Got skepticism?

  2. Beelzebub
    February 8th, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

    If you can’t be with the ones you loved, love the ones you’re with–love the ones you’re with.

    (a little depressing humor)

  3. Geoffrey
    February 8th, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

    Freedom, Power, Integrity: the strength of man is as iron before the gods.

  4. Geoffrey
    February 8th, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

    The will to power is the will to live–stop religious violence, one god at a time.

  5. Geoffrey
    February 8th, 2009 @ 7:00 pm

    Evil exists. God doesn’t. Do something about it.

  6. Geoffrey
    February 8th, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

    Less rationalizing, more reason. Humanism for all.

  7. Geoffrey
    February 8th, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

    Progress: why go to heaven when you can bring heaven to you?

  8. Geoffrey
    February 8th, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

    God doesn’t exist, but this child does.

    (picture of starving boy or girl)

    Where does that leave you?

  9. Joanne
    February 8th, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

    “You are not alone: NYC Atheists”

    Or how about: “You are not alone, Nyc atheists, because God is everywhere.”

    Oh, no, wait…

  10. Geoffrey
    February 8th, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

    “You must completely destroy the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, just as the LORD your God has commanded you” (Deuteronomy 20: 16-17).

    Say no to God, say no to genocide.

  11. Geoffrey
    February 8th, 2009 @ 7:27 pm

    Those are some possible slogans off the top of my head. I bet mine turn out better than those developed by any atheist organizations.

    “There probably is no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

    Honestly? I mean, really? That’s pathetic. Try marching into war with that on your lips. Ain’t gonna happen.

  12. frustrated(mk)
    February 8th, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

    SHOW ME THE GOD!

  13. Swk6
    February 8th, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

    “SHOW ME THE GOD!”

    Exactly.

  14. frustrated(mk)
    February 8th, 2009 @ 8:38 pm

    All that glitters is not God

    Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
    Which we ascribe to Heaven

    Therein the patient
    Must minister to himself.
    Shakespeare

    “God is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous plot we have ever had to face.”
    Dr.Strangelove

  15. Christina
    February 8th, 2009 @ 9:04 pm

    They say atheism isn’t a religion, but they sure proselytize like the most eager Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  16. Christina
    February 8th, 2009 @ 9:09 pm

    RT is it just me or do a lot of atheists seem to want to share the misery? Their message — There is no God, your life is meaningless, you’re alone in the universe, death is forever, you’ll never see Grandma — or even Fluffy — again — let’s face it, it’s all desolation and despair. It’s as if they can’t abide the idea of there being any joy anywhere in a single human heart and just have to reach out and destroy it.

    Do they go around telling six-year-old kids that there is no Tooth Fairy, too, for the sheer joy of crushing spirits?

  17. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 8th, 2009 @ 9:17 pm

    To Christine – Wishes are not truths

    Regarding the article – I agree with Henry’s instinct to play to the base. Atheists that participate online don’t feel isolated, but we – the internet savvy – only comprise a small portion of the populace.

  18. Kelly Clark
    February 8th, 2009 @ 9:26 pm

    “You are not alone, Nyc atheists, because God is everywhere.”

    Beautiful, Joanne!

    Also:

    “God loves NYC Atheists!”

    By using “God” to begin the slogan, you can eliminate the touchy “do-we-put-the-‘g’-word-in-an-initial-cap” debates that are bound to come up in the NYC Atheists Bus Sign Committee meetings.

  19. Joanne
    February 8th, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

    “Say no to God, say no to genocide.”

    Is this a joke??

    Or how about: WE’LL SHOW YOU HOW THE UNIVERSE CREATED ITSELF!

    Darn it, that one doesn’t work either.

    Oh, well. Best to all :)

  20. Geoffrey
    February 8th, 2009 @ 10:06 pm

    ***
    “Say no to God, say no to genocide.”

    Is this a joke??
    ***

    Kind of, given that I’m a die-hard Theist. Seriously though, the best arguments against Judeo-Christianity lay in the Old Testament. Of course I’m Catholic, but I fully recognize the problems posed by certain passages.

    Speaking of which, I’m very interested in reading this man’s paper: http://escholarship.bc.edu/dissertations/AAI9735281/. It’s a tough topic, no doubt, and extremely embarrassing for folks on my side.

    Even if the entire Bible turned out to be a sham though, I’d still be Theistic. Undergirding my Christian faith is a firm knowledge of the God of the philosophers.

    The OT times were rough, and I’m not sure God actually told the Hebrews to do everything they say he did. Seems to me, as I read through the Torah, that a merciful God is trying to break through the prejudices of a warlike tribe. In one breath, God says to never punish children for the crimes of their parents. In the next, Joshua is like, “Alright men, ride down the children because God gave me a revelation to do so! And if you bring up what he said before, he told me to kill you.”

    Mmmmhmmm…sure he did, sure he did…

  21. Kamikaze189
    February 8th, 2009 @ 10:18 pm

    “[A] lot of atheists seem to want to share the misery? Their message — There is no God, your life is meaningless, you’re alone in the universe, death is forever, you’ll never see Grandma — or even Fluffy — again — let’s face it, it’s all desolation and despair.”

    It’s all in perspective. Not everyone is so easily depressed. I’m certainly not bothered by being an atheist.

    Imagine if you weren’t ever told all these things about religion. Wouldn’t you realize that even though you didn’t have an infinite life, you still had something amazing? If your parents told (lied to) you that when you reached a certain age you would have a limitless supply of money, but instead you “only” got a hundred million dollars, then of course you’d complain. You’d be disappointed no matter what the reality is because nothing could possibly live up to what you were expecting. That’s not a problem with reality — it’s a problem with you and the people who told you what reality supposedly is.

  22. Geoffrey
    February 8th, 2009 @ 10:20 pm

    Anyway, those are my provisional thoughts on the subject. If anyone else thinks differently, by all means chime in. I’m probably not the best one to defend the Old Testament, because I do share some of the atheists’ reservations about it. Though I must say, I read it very often and derive much benefit, inspiration, and entertainment from it. I’d never want it separated from the Bible. It’s a literary treasure, and besides that, I find the history it relates to be believable enough in most cases.

  23. Geoffrey
    February 8th, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

    “Imagine if you weren’t ever told all these things about religion. Wouldn’t you realize that even though you didn’t have an infinite life, you still had something amazing? If your parents told (lied to) you that when you reached a certain age you would have a limitless supply of money, but instead you “only” got a hundred million dollars, then of course you’d complain. You’d be disappointed no matter what the reality is because nothing could possibly live up to what you were expecting. That’s not a problem with reality — it’s a problem with you and the people who told you what reality supposedly is.”

    Either that, or after generations of a pointless existence gnawing on humanity’s psyche, men sought shelter in myths about eternal life and such to render an otherwise intolerable reality palatable. This gave them joy and vigor to overcome their nihilistic neighbors who clung to the older beliefs, and it turned out that evolution’s lots happened to fall with religion. Ever since then, religious men have flourished while atheistic mutants who revert to the previous paradigm quickly die off.

    It could go either way.

    In any case, what is your fanatical dedication to reality all about? Without God, I see no reason why truth should be preferred to lies. Nature, red in tooth and claw, doesn’t seem to mind the difference. Whatever is useful, whatever proves successful, whatever floats your boat…go with that. I mean honestly, who’s going to punish you if you get away with it? Why should you even feel guilty?

    I invite you to peruse the following articles which I think pinpoint my complaints against your philosophy best. Bottom-line: I find atheism entirely logically incoherent. My apologies, but I just do. This is why:

    http://www.mark-shea.com/atheism1.html
    http://www.mark-shea.com/atheism2.html
    http://www.mark-shea.com/atheism3.html

    As a mathematician, I could see myself embracing other philosophies and religions besides Christianity under the right conditions, but never in a million years could I imagine being an atheist. It’s just not reasonable enough for me.

    If this offends you, I’m sorry. It’s the truth. And since I believe in objectives and absolutes, in a Divine Mind, I do have a real, tangible mandate to follow it. My philosophy actually provides a basis to reject lies. Yours, besides fleeting practical necessities, doesn’t.

  24. And the Winner is . . . : The Raving Theist
    February 8th, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

    […] perfect solution, which she debuted at the organization’s annual convention 32 years ago. In selecting their bus advertising campaign slogan, NYC atheists might do well to emulate her forceful, yet tactful […]

  25. Margaret Catherine
    February 8th, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

    “GODISNOWHERE”

    ****

    Geoffrey – Trouble is, God had a way – in the OT, and even into the NT – of really not liking it when people put words in his mouth, or claimed sanction from Him that they did not have. I don’t think He’d have let that one pass, and be enshrined as Torah/Sacred Scripture, no less. Especially since He’d hardly just gotten done striking down the firstborn of Egypt, and all those idolatrous Israelites (time and again) in the desert. It’s harsh stuff. No question. But it is also Old Covenant stuff; God did deal with man in a different fashion. We can only look at it from our 2,000 year distance, on this side of Calvary and the New Covenant, and we are not going to understand fully. We can’t.

  26. Margaret Catherine
    February 8th, 2009 @ 11:24 pm

    …It’s harsh stuff and hard to understand or explain. But I think that saying that ‘God didn’t command it, they just said He did’ is…well, too pat of an answer. And once you give that answer, to even one ‘problem’ – where, and on what grounds, do you stop?

  27. Kamikaze189
    February 9th, 2009 @ 2:44 am

    “Either that, or after generations of a pointless existence gnawing on humanity’s psyche, men sought shelter in myths about eternal life and such to render an otherwise intolerable reality palatable.”

    I wouldn’t describe my existence as intolerable. Certainly a fair amount of that has to do with where I live, having clean water and a roof over my head, but even some people in the worst situations have stopped believing in religions. What your saying is that people are weak, and need something to believe in even though they know it isn’t true. Just too afraid to face the honest truth.

    You might argue that, but I think we’re stronger. It may seem daunting if you haven’t been there (or haven’t been there in a long time), but it isn’t, from my experience. The Dawkinses, Harrises, Dennets, Twains, Ingersolls, Einsteins and countless other people also tend to get along with life just fine. I have difficulty seeing why a lack of belief in god leads to depression because every answer a god would provide can be given from somewhere else, or is a nonsense question, or should be answered with “We don’t know — yet.” Every comfort should be supplied by our fellow human beings: Love, care, hope, inspiration, and so on. If you can’t get those, you’re hanging with the wrong crowd. To make an entity up to fill the void… well, wouldn’t you agree that’s insane?

    “[I]t turned out that evolution’s lots happened to fall with religion.”

    I don’t necessarily have a problem with this statement. Afterall, secular people aren’t willing to put on suicide vests or fly airplanes into towers or go on crusades. We’re not willing to fight and bicker over nothing because one shot is all you got. But nowadays, do we need more killing? More drones to feed to the flames? Not in any sense. From here on, in any actual standoff it’s nuclear weapons or peace.

    “In any case, what is your fanatical dedication to reality all about? Without God, I see no reason why truth should be preferred to lies.”

    So you don’t mind if you believe lies? What if your child (or hypothetical child) was sick, and your screwy neighbor told you the cure was to icepick him? The truth is preferable because it generally helps us. Everywhere you look, when man has put aside myths, he’s made progress in some way. Diseases caused by demons? (Not exactly). Is it right to burn witches? (What witches!?).

    As a matter of fact, myths are wronging people today. I hardly have to name the ways in the mid-east. AIDS. Education here in the U.S. The fact that the former president said god told him to invade Iraq, which, if he actually thought was true, may have given him confidence he never should’ve had. And even if it wasn’t true, it would’ve caused the evangelical portion to support the mistake.

    The truth will set you free. Lies hurt people, sometimes kill them. And no, it doesn’t have to be direct for me to consider it.

    “Whatever is useful, whatever proves successful, whatever floats your boat…go with that. I mean honestly, who’s going to punish you if you get away with it? Why should you even feel guilty?”

    But religion is neither true nor useful in a positive sense. In a negative sense, yes. Religion has been used countless times to rally the troops, to get people to kill. It isn’t honest, though. So there are repercussions. As everyone has observed, Christians were killing witches. That appeared to work for them. Then they realized they weren’t killing witches — there were none! They killed people for nothing. Why? Because they believed lies and were motivated by lies.

    No innocent person dies if you have the whole truth and a sense of justice.

    “And since I believe in objectives and absolutes, in a Divine Mind, I do have a real, tangible mandate to follow it. My philosophy actually provides a basis to reject lies.”

    The only reason you’re arguing here is a god’s supposed usefulness in creating black and whites. What about god, exactly, makes “truth” possible. What exactly about not believing in god makes it impossible?

  28. Kamikaze189
    February 9th, 2009 @ 3:00 am

    As for the articles you linked, Mark P. Shea seems unable to understand freewill. Freewill has little to do with religion specifically, although he is right to point out it has everything to do with our thoughts and reasoning. But humans being matter doesn’t necessitate a lack of freewill. In order for him to argue that, he’d have to do some rigorous scientific testing.

    This line of reasoning contains an awful large assumption: “[I]f there is no God there’s no free will because we are completely phenomena of matter.”

    If it wants to be taken seriously, it needs a lot more than some armchair philosophy to back it up. And by the time religionists have proven it — they’ll have proved the antithesis of the reason for argument in the first place.

  29. nile the jolly
    February 9th, 2009 @ 3:02 am

    Geoffrey: “It seems to me to be like getting angry at a hurricane or a crocodile. If religion is simply “what the brain of homo sapiens naturally generates” under the shaping hand of the Blind Watchmaker of evolution, then what is the point of being angry about it? You might as well get angry that the pancreas of homo sapiens generates insulin.”

    I’m not very good at sciences, but my objection to this statement would be: Our children – and ourselves – often suffer from unreasonable beliefs (superstititons)which lead to fears like being afraid of the dark; thinking a ghost could do harm; or it’s bad that a black cat passes, etc. How de we cope with such fears? By reasoning. And in spite of the laws of nature, we can manage to get rid of most, especially if these are taught to us at a young age. Now, where do you draw the line between superstition and religious belief? Glancing at history of religions, we usually find that the new religion has declared the earlier one as superstition. And a small projection from this point tells me religious belief is total superstition. The tendency toward religious belief is indeed in the human mind; however it is for us to find some scientific/social remedy as we do with other physical/mental disqualifications.

  30. Daniel M
    February 9th, 2009 @ 3:06 am

    @23: To be fair, Shea is misrepresenting what Dawkins was talking about via the sin of omission – there was no link to the whole article, and the extract makes Dawkins look bad (which was probably the idea)

    to be on topic, I quite like (in a poignant way) “if you can’t be with the ones you loved, love the ones you’re with”.

    As far as saying the atheist ads are offensive, well…they’re actively trying to not be offensive. It’s just tough if you think the whole idea of an atheist is offensive. Thank god for free speech, eh?

  31. nile the jolly
    February 9th, 2009 @ 3:16 am

    Geoffrey: “The problem is that, as we saw last week, a purely material explanation of the human mind itself means that the human mind is not free, but is merely a result of mindless chemical processes.”

    Again, I don’t know what ‘we saw last week’, but I want to think that although influenced by countless factors, my decision at the very end, is made by my own free will.

    However, if you’re saying that according to scientific explanation, there is no free-will, then the theist and the atheist are level. The theist does not have free will either – as an all-knowing God and free will cannot exist together.

    I think it was ‘frustrated mk’ who also mentioned something like this, but lately I seem to think that believe or don’t believe, you end up at the same point.

  32. Doogie
    February 9th, 2009 @ 8:00 am

    How about something from the indomitable G. K. Chesterton: “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”

  33. Lily
    February 9th, 2009 @ 8:26 am

    I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about what free will is. Atheists will typically say something like: “If God has absolute control then you have NO control, meaning you have no free will.” This is incorrect. It actually mistakes two different categories: will and power (or ability).

    We can (and sometimes do) will to do something that we have no power or ability to do. It’s possible for a paraplegic to WILL to walk, and even to exert all his strength and will towards that goal. But it won’t happen. He lacks the ability to walk. It’s not a question of not having free will, it’s a question of having limited power or ability.

    So to say that we have free will simply doesn’t impinge upon God’s power or ability. It’s a separate category altogether. I can will to do something, even exert all of my strength to do it. But if God determines that he doesn’t want it to happen, he has the power to thwart my plan. The only way that free will would contravene God’s omnipotence would be if we had free will and also omnipotence ourselves.

    Omnipotence means that God has the power to do anything that can be done. We do not. Those who think that omnipotence means having all the power that there is are mistaken. Hence God is not able to make a rock so heavy that even he cannot lift it.

  34. nile the jolly
    February 9th, 2009 @ 8:34 am

    Doogie: There is no God and there are atheists because superstition has taken control of people. If a theist can satisfactorily explain the difference between superstition and religious belief, then, there may be only theists.

  35. nile the jolly
    February 9th, 2009 @ 8:43 am

    Lily: The conflict is the all-knowing God creating people with free-will. It had been explained under some other post here. If the outcome of a choice is known prior to the decision, then there is no choice. If God gives me choices ABCD, and God knows that I’ll choose C, and I actually choose C, then there is no free will. If I choose D, then God is not all-knowing. The two don’t go together – either God knows and we don’t have free will or we have free will, but God isn’t all knowing.

  36. Skeptimal
    February 9th, 2009 @ 9:31 am

    “New York City is probably the most godless place on Earth. To its great shame, it was beaten by other cities in the race to host an offensive atheist bus advertising campaign.”

    MK (frustrated):

    Was it you who suggested that RA/RT’s attitude toward atheists wasn’t actually contempt?

  37. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 9:49 am

    Skep,

    1st, godless is not capitalized so I don’t think he means without God, so much as immoral. I can’t argue there. Their abortion rate is in the outer limits.

    2nd, Due to the small “G” in godless, I’d say this shows more contempt for New York than atheists.

    3rd, it’s his job to get everyone riled up, so I’m going to assume that he purposely chooses his words to get a reaction.

    4th, I’d say it worked?

  38. Skeptimal
    February 9th, 2009 @ 9:51 am

    Christina said: “RT is it just me or do a lot of atheists seem to want to share the misery? Their message — There is no God, your life is meaningless, you’re alone in the universe, death is forever, you’ll never see Grandma — or even Fluffy — again — let’s face it, it’s all desolation and despair.”

    I will agree with Kamikaze here; I don’t regard atheism as desolation and despair. It isn’t depressing, for instance, to know that there is no hell. It is not a matter of despair to know, when someone you love gets sick or dies, that the universe is not punishing them for some long-forgotten “sin.” The fact that someone I love is dead does not take away any of the joy of their life.

    Any evangelism you perceive is not a desire to make anyone miserable. I don’t know what motivates the others, but sometimes I just want to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

    I don’t single out religious superstitions, either. I’m a complete buzzkill for friends who are into psychic phenomena, space aliens, magick, etc.

  39. Skeptimal
    February 9th, 2009 @ 9:53 am

    “3rd, it’s his job to get everyone riled up, so I’m going to assume that he purposely chooses his words to get a reaction.

    4th, I’d say it worked?”

    I am NOT RILED UP! How can you SAY such a thing?!!! Clearly, you’re evil and you must be destroyed.

    :^)

  40. Catholic Cat
    February 9th, 2009 @ 9:58 am

    I love his idea:

    “You are not alone: NYC Atheists”

    But, in the grand scheme of things (from their vantage) they are ALL alone.

  41. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 10:05 am

    SKEP,

    Oh NOZ!

  42. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 10:09 am

    I don’t think most Atheist are depressed, despondent or desperate (with the except of Dawkings, Hitchen and Meyers…those three are just miserable human beings), but I do think they are missing a big part of a very large picture.

    Saying someones life could be fuller is not the same as saying that it is empty.

    We’re all on a journey. The most devout Catholic still has miles to travel, and I don’t think I’m desperate, despondent or depressed because I am not as far along as Aquinas…

    There’s always room for improvement, and the road is infinite.

  43. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 10:10 am

    I would like to say that God doesn’t “Punish” people for sins. Sins, like every thing else have consequences. If you want to blame someone for putting “evil” out there, blame the sinner.

  44. Lily
    February 9th, 2009 @ 11:06 am

    Nile: You said: If the outcome of a choice is known prior to the decision, then there is no choice. If God gives me choices ABCD, and God knows that I’ll choose C, and I actually choose C, then there is no free will. If I choose D, then God is not all-knowing. The two don’t go together – either God knows and we don’t have free will or we have free will, but God isn’t all knowing.

    This simply is not true, no matter how often atheists declare it to be so. It depends on a very linear notion of time and one that constrains God as well as man. We experience it sequentially, God does not. CS Lewis wrote a useful analogy when he likened the problem to a man on a high hill who can see two automobiles on a collision course long before they can see each other. He knows that there will be a crash. Did he cause it?

  45. Skeptimal
    February 9th, 2009 @ 11:14 am

    “I would like to say that God doesn’t “Punish” people for sins.”

    I agree, because I don’t think hell exists, but clearly that punishment is an important part of many Christian theologies.

    “Sins, like every thing else have consequences. If you want to blame someone for putting “evil” out there, blame the sinner.”

    I understand what you’re saying here, but Christian judgmentalism doesn’t stop at the question of who’s going to burn. For many, sickness is also a sign of sin. The thinking goes like this: “clearly, Bob was engaging in sexual immorality, or he wouldn’t have developed testicular cancer.” It’s a wonderful message to deliver to someone who’s resistance to bullshit is already down from the sickness.

    When a non-Christian’s business burns down, then it was obviously god’s judgment, right? So when a Christian’s building burns down, the question becomes: was this Satan attacking, or was this the righteous judgment of an angry god?

    The answer is “neither,” but a theist never really knows for sure, does he? That’s one reason it’s not doom and gloom for an atheist to say “there was no purpose in that fire, sickness, or accident…these things just happen.” Once you start saying there’s a purpose for everything, you’re obliged to explain the purpose behind the horrible things.

  46. nile the jolly
    February 9th, 2009 @ 12:12 pm

    Lily: I had made a similar comment and was answered: “That’s prediction, not knowing.” If God were looking from the top of the hill and he knew – not predicted – that there would be a collision, then, there was no free will. The collision had to occur.

  47. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

    Skep,

    It’s more complicated than that. Sure, if two gay men have sex and one has aids, the other might get it, and the consequences, the result of the act, would be clear. You could point to them. Look, that gay man had sex, now he has aids.

    It is this same principle for EVERY bad thing that happens.
    All evil is simply consequence. Period. Not God judging. Not God punishing. God didn’t GIVE aids to that homosexual man. His partner did. It was a consequence of a certain action.

    Sometimes the consequence isn’t so obvious. Sometimes someone commits an evil act, and the consequence is felt by someone 2,000 miles away. Sometimes there are physical consequences, sometimes metaphysical ones. Sometimes it’s generations before the consequences are felt.

    Mother Teresa says the consequence of abortion is nuclear war. She doesn’t mean that GOD will blow us all off the face of the earth. She means that little by little, the consequence of killing our children will lead to a total disregard for human life. This will lead to someone finally pushing the button…cuz, hey…it’s just people. We’ve seen that here on this blog already with the overpopulation argument. People are becoming dispensable. THIS is the consequence.

    A good rule to follow is that God will usually give you what you want. That alone is a consequence. If what you want is “sin”, the your “punishment” is the enjoyment of that sin. The more you enjoy the sin, the less you are able to distinguish between how it is “meant” to be and how it “is”.

    It’s why so many things that are objectively wrong are now considered “right”. We’ve lost the ability to tell right from wrong because we now “enjoy” what is wrong, which will lead to more wrong.

    But the consequences are just that. Repercussions. Consequences. Not punishments per se. But the result of our choices…our own free will. We have chosen the punishments by choosing the behaviors that lead to them.

  48. Skeptimal
    February 9th, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

    MK said: “All evil is simply consequence. Period. Not God judging. Not God punishing. God didn’t GIVE aids to that homosexual man. His partner did. It was a consequence of a certain action.”

    I understand what you’re saying, but for the most part, we’re not talking about the same thing. I’m not referring to things that have causal connections, like sexually transmitted diseases or clogged arteries. I’m talking about when *any* bad things happen, many Christians believe they have a purpose.

    I have heard Christians refer to the (accidental) burning of a man’s business as god’s judgment. I have heard a Christian say about an old friend that his testicular cancer was “obviously” god’s judgment for his having been promiscuous in his younger days. I’ve known Christians who believe that people who are “right with god” don’t get things like Alzheimer’s. This kind of thing is VERY common, and it’s an ugly thing that so many Christians appear to know exactly what’s on Jehovah’s mind whenever anything bad happens.

    I am sickened whenever I see a Christian say on TV that “god saved them” from the plane crash or the traffic accident that killed dozens of people. If they believe there was a reason they survived, then I’d like to hear their reason why the others were burned alive.

    All of these things are the end result of saying that everything happens for a purpose. That’s what I’m talking about when I say that it isn’t a matter of despair and misery to say that everything doesn’t have a purpose. (And incidentially, that’s different from saying that life is an empty exercise.)

  49. nile
    February 9th, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

    I agree with Skep (post 48) and a question to theists : How do you explain ‘everything happens for a purpose’ or ‘is consequence of an action’ when a child playing in the field falls into a break suddenly opened on the ground by an earthquake and dies right there?

  50. Lily
    February 9th, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

    I think we have to separate a few things here. I agree that it is really ugly when people make a quick judgment that x (terrible thing) happened because you did y (whatever you did). Sometimes, of course, the correlation is a reasonable guess. If you smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day for 30 years, it won’t be a stretch for someone to think that your lung cancer might be a direct result of that. But considering the possibility and stating it definitively are two different things.

    It is pretty human to want to see the wicked punished. I don’t say it is pretty but it is human. But beyond that, if I had to guess, I would say that people need to believe that there is a reason for x (terrible thing) happening. It is far more horrifying to believe that the terrible thing was purely random. And, of course, this is the nature of reality. There is a reason.

    Skeptimal, you wrote: am sickened whenever I see a Christian say on TV that “god saved them” from the plane crash or the traffic accident that killed dozens of people. If they believe there was a reason they survived, then I’d like to hear their reason why the others were burned alive.

    Everything does happen for a reason. We just aren’t very likely to know what it is, this side of the grave, if ever. Occasionally, we can guess but that is fraught with peril. We don’t know why we were spared when the guy sitting next to us wasn’t. We plain don’t know. Just this a.m. there was another report about Captain Sullenberger meeting with some of the passengers who survived the flight that landed in the Hudson river.

    One of them was a young man who told Sully that his brother had died in 9/11 and that he thanked him for sparing his parents more agony than they could bear. Did God spare him for that reason? Who can know? But it is very right and proper for him to thank God for his constant care. It comes (should come) from an attitude that is constantly mindful that every good thing comes from God and that he has blessed us beyond anything we could ever deserve.

  51. Skeptimal
    February 9th, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

    Lily said: “And, of course, this is the nature of reality. There is a reason.”

    Not surprisingly, I disagree with you on this. First, there’s no evidence that diseases and natural disasters happen for a supernatural reason. It would be one thing if they followed some pattern, but they are, to a large extent, random.

    “I would say that people need to believe that there is a reason for x (terrible thing) happening. It is far more horrifying to believe that the terrible thing was purely random.”

    Why is randomness more horrifying than there being a divine purpose? In Nile’s example, a child is killed by an earthquake. Is it less horrifying to believe that she was the victim of a god or a divine curse or that she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time? I would say the latter.

    Ultimately, of course it doens’t matter whether we think it’s better for everything to have a purpose or to admit that at least most of it doesn’t. The truth is the truth. I just happen to think the truth (that some things just happen) is better than the alternative.

  52. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

    I have to agree with Lily here that things do happen for a purpose.

    When I spoke earlier of evil actions having consequences, I mentioned that they aren’t always direct, or material.

    The only thing that offsets evil, is sacrifice. Many, many, many of us pray “sacrificial” type prayers…rosaries, novenas…and the Mass, the beautiful ultimate sacrifice…all of these things help to offset evil. There are even religious who dedicate their entire lives to prayer. Nuns and monks who do nothing but pray, morning noon and night, hoping to offset the consequences of evil.

    But, these prayers aren’t enough. Then Nature takes over (Nature being the way God set things up…Natural Law…it’s still really an eye for an eye…but it might not be my eye for your eye.

    Joe in Canada offs his wife…evil.
    Bill in Birmingham gets cancer…consequence of Joes evil.
    Shelia in Tipperary offers up 60 rosaries…consequence cancelled…Bill is in remission.
    Fred in Fargo steals a bike…
    Mike in Mexico gets hit by a car…
    Norma in Nepal offers up her daily chores for 3 months, Fred doesn’t get hurt.

    Who knows how it works. We only know that Evil has consequences and sacrifice cancels evil. We know this because in order to overcome the sin in Eden, God Himself died. His death, His sacrifice, offered freely, conquered evil. We imitate Him.

    I say a daily rosary, go to Mass as many times a week as I can, fast on Wednesdays (before the Nina’s of the blog accuse me of braggin…I’m only showing you what I do to do my part), offer up my daily chores…I use every opportunity that comes along to toss in my 2 cents worth.

    (So I’d appreciate it if you guys would knock off all of the sinnin’ as I’m in the Red right now.)

    I was a mess 20 years ago. I’m sure that somewhere, someone was offering up the same kinds of prayers that I offer now, and they were “applied” to my sorry ass, and that is the only reason I’m not writing this from a gutter…

  53. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

    How do you explain ‘everything happens for a purpose’ or ‘is consequence of an action’ when a child playing in the field falls into a break suddenly opened on the ground by an earthquake and dies right there?

    Blame Fred and Joe. The consequences of their evil unfortunately landed on that unsuspecting child. Then blame yourselves for not putting your share into the kitty of penitential sacrificing…. ;)

  54. Lily
    February 9th, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

    I think I was not nearly as clear as I should have been!

    Skeptimal, you wrote: First, there’s no evidence that diseases and natural disasters happen for a supernatural reason. Ah, but I didn’t say that they happened for a supernatural reason. God is always in control but natural phenomena are those that follow laws he wrote into nature. The world unfolds according to his plan and will. I have quoted Matthew before but it bears paraphrasing him agian– sparrows don’t fall to the ground, without God knowing and caring about them. We can be very sure that he cares for us more than for sparrows!

    It would be one thing if they [terrible events] followed some pattern, but they are, to a large extent, random. How do you know this? From our perspective that is true. But how can we claim to know that they are random from God’s perspective? Christians don’t believe that even if they aren’t (and we aren’t) able to explain it.

    Why is randomness more horrifying than there being a divine purpose?

    Because randomness is meaningless. Everything within us cries out that our suffering, our losses, our lives mean something. That is not proof, of course, but it is hard for me to see meaninglessness as better than purpose.

    In Nile’s example, a child is killed by an earthquake. Is it less horrifying to believe that she was the victim of a god or a divine curse or that she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time? I would say the latter.

    She was not a victim of God or a divine curse or in the wrong place at the wrong time. God is in control. We do not know why the horrible thing happened. We simply don’t know. She certainly was not a victim or under a curse. It is the nature of earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, etc. to cause death and destruction to those in their paths.

    Ultimately, of course it doens’t matter whether we think it’s better for everything to have a purpose or to admit that at least most of it doesn’t. The truth is the truth. I just happen to think the truth (that some things just happen) is better than the alternative.

    Oh, I think it matters. What we (Christians) need to admit is that we don’t usually know what the purpose is (if we ever do). That is a very different thing. For Christians, knowing that God is always in control and that we *matter*, is a very important part of what we believe about God.

  55. Skeptimal
    February 9th, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

    MK,

    Your view of sin is like it’s a cosmic El Nino, stirring up religious weather a continent away. Unless you come to your senses through the working of a miracle (and I don’t believe in miracles), we’re not going to agree on this. Even so, it’s interesting to hear, and I appreciate your sharing it. You too, Lily.

    I can’t imagine finding it comforting, but then, I’ve probably got a demon or am blinded by sin or something.

  56. Lily
    February 9th, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

    I don’t believe in miracles Oh? Why not, pray tell!

    I can’t imagine finding it comforting, but then, I’ve probably got a demon or am blinded by sin or something. I doubt you have a demon. However, we are all blinded by sin, to one degree or another. The Christian life consists of imitating Christ ever more perfectly and, thus, seeing more clearly.

    You would find it comforting to believe that God is in control, if you believed that God is in control. Now there is a bit of a conundrum for you!

  57. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 5:49 pm

    Skep,

    It’s comforting because I know that I can help…I can make a difference.

    The converse is true. If the scales tip and there is more good than evil, the same rules apply. Good consequences come from prayer.

    Someone asked why passenger “A” was saved while passenger “B”, “C” and “D” died. Probably because someone, somewhere was praying…or sacrificing…or both.

    I find it comforting to think that when I twist my ankle or have to clean up the toilet that over flowed, I can make that mean something. Heck, it might be my shiny toilet that is responsible for passenger “A”s life! ;)

    Bishop Sheen says: “The tragedy is not that there is suffering in the world. The tragedy is that so much of it is wasted!”

    Ask any Catholic in good standing…the words “Offer it Up” are never far from our lips.

    I find it much scarier to think that it is “all” just happening to me and there is NOTHING I can do about it.

    Today on my blog, I posted another chapter in the book club series on Theology of the Body. We talked about law. “In the beginning it was not so…” is a line oft repeated in this series. In the beginning we didn’t know right from wrong, because there was no wrong. Our wills were perfectly aligned with His. Of course then we just had to have dessert, and down we went! But the “Law” was still written right there on our hearts. It is when we stop being able to recognize it that we end up having to “Make” laws. We are then slaves to these laws. The more we lean on them, the more we need them. To know right from wrong clearly, means that the “laws” are not for you. You are “free” from the laws because you follow the Law. This is true freedom.

    Peter Kreeft says this in “How to Win the Culture Wars”…

    Colson’s Law dictates that a community with few “inner cops” needs more “outer cops.” America’s Founding imprisonedFathers saw this and repudiated an unfree state based primarily on “outer cops.” They explicitly said that the free democracy they were designing was designed only for a moral people. The foundation stones for a democracy are conscience.
    But the paradox of democracy is that it is founded on the premise of strong moral consciences yet tends to produce weak ones by its very permissiveness. Its maximization of freedom (that is, freedom from cops) depends on its willing submission to conscience, yet this freedom from cops tempts us to free ourselves from conscience too. And then, paradoxically, this excess of external, physical freedom requires more cops to starve off internal, spiritual chaos (which erupts into external public chaos sooner of later). Thus we get more cops and less freedom. For the two kinds of freedom–from conscience and from cops–are also inversely proportionate. The more of either one you have, the less you need the other. (Think this through!)
    Colson’s Law states that the only alternatives to conscience are cops of chaos. If the inner shield [natural law / love of the good /freedom] is lowered, the outer shield [human law / the fear of punishment / force] must be raised to prevent chaos. Therefore, a democracy that loses its conscience will necessarily become totalitarian.

    And Christopher West in Theology of the Body for Beginners says this:

    Most people look at Christian morality–especially sexual morality–as an oppressive list of rules to follow. How far this misunderstanding is from the “living morality” proclaimed by Christ! The Gospel doesn’t give us more rules to follow. The Gospel is meant to change our hearts so that we no longer need the rules. Page 40

    Here is an example of what freedom from the law looks like. Do you have any desire to murder your best friend? This may seem like an odd question, but it actually demonstrates the point. Assuming you do not, then you don’t need the commandment “thou shalt not murder thy best friend” because you have no desire to break it. To this extent you are free from the law.” In other words, you don’t experience this law (”Thou shalt not murder thy best friend”) as an imposition because your heart already conforms to it.

    Before sin, the human heart conformed totally to God’s will. For example, the first married couple didn’t need a law forbidding adultery. They had no desire to commit adultery (and not only because there was no one else around).

    And from page 41:

    laws What laws do you still need? What teachings of the Church feel like a burden or imposition to you? Perhaps the problem isn’t with the law or with the Church, but with your own “hardness of heart”. Don’t throw away the law; surrender your disordered disires to Christ and let Him transform them.

  58. Skeptimal
    February 9th, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

    Lily said: “…randomness is meaningless…Everything within us cries out that our suffering, our losses, our lives mean something.”

    I think what we really want is to believe that some good will come of our suffering, regardless of whether it happened on purpose or not. More often than not, the choice of whether good comes from it is up to us.

    If we give in to the superstition that all of our calamities are the result of sin, we may do nothing to make things better. Only when we accept that not everything has a spiritual purpose do we take action.

    If the bad things that happen are the result of sin, why bother trying to find cures for cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, etc.? Why bother trying to invent early-warning systems for tornados, hurricanes, and tsunamis?

    If you’re right, all we’re doing when we undertake these projects is to defy nature as Jehovah set it up.

  59. nile
    February 9th, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

    If I can save people with my prayers, and I pray for a murderer, then how will God’s justice act upon the murderer? This sounds very illogical. Each person should be responsible for his/her own actions with or without prayers of others. Otherwise, justice is at risk.

    I think prayer is meaningless. Here’s an example. Nile loves Joe, Joe loves Susan and Susan loves Fred. We all pray. Is it possible that God please us all?

  60. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

    Nile,

    God only wants what is best for us. He answers Joe, Susan and Fred. But it may not be the answer they want.

    There are things that “must” happen, things that may happen. Ultimately, our prayers should be that HIS will be done. Make my will YOUR will.

    Praying for a murderer? What good can come of it? Well, we can pray for the soul of the one that was murdered. We can pray the murderer recognizes what he has done and have a conversion of heart. We can pray that the murderer might also find his way into the beatific vision. We can pray for the members of the murderers family.

    Bernard Nathanson and Norma McCorvey are perfect examples of what can happen with prayer.

    Prayer brings grace. Grace is “power”. There is sanctifying grace…grace that comes with the sacraments like baptism, confession, the Eucharist…and there is actual grace. Grace that is like “energy”. God’s energy. God’s strength infused into us.

    God is always teaching us. If we are praying for the wrong things, He’ll let us know. Subtle, He ain’t!

    Perhaps Susan is bad news and it’s in Fred AND Joes best interest that neither one gets involved with her. Perhaps Joe is a peach and Fred is a loser. Susan would be better off with Fred whether she knows it or not, so God would not intervene. Plus it will ultimately be up to each of them.

    God can give them grace to see what He wants for them and the strength to accept it and make right choices, but it will still be up to them whether they make use of that grace.

    It’s not like He can just slip a love mickey to Fred so he’ll fall madly in love with Susan. Well, he could, but He wouldn’t.

    The prayer says “Thy will be done”…It was Jesus’ prayer, and it is ours.

    BTW, it’s funny how so often we are told that our God is merciless when he judges people and condemns them, yet you ask where His justice would be if a murderer would be forgiven…lol.

    You also have to understand (and this is a Catholic teaching, not a protestant one) that while we are forgiven of our sins just for the asking, there is still a temporal price that must be paid…whether in this life or the next.

    So even if the murderer was given God’s mercy, God’s justice will demand that the murderer “pay” for his transgressions. Perhaps that will be now, perhaps that will be in the after life. Surely he will still have to pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s, whether that is life in jail or the chair. But it’s not like God says “Oh okay then, if you’re sorry…!”…

    The evil that the murderer created must still be offset.

  61. nile
    February 9th, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

    (Post 57)”In the beginning we didn’t know right from wrong, because there was no wrong. Our wills were perfectly aligned with His. Of course then we just had to have dessert, and down we went! But the “Law” was still written right there on our hearts.”

    You say, ‘we just had to have dessert’ and you leave this point unexplained. Why is man acting against the law at this primordial moment? Why is the ‘Law’not in action?

    “But the paradox of democracy is that it is founded on the premise of strong moral consciences yet tends to produce weak ones by its very permissiveness.”

    This is a hypothesis that needs verification. Why should democracy tend to produce weak conscience? Its permissivenes does not seem satisfactory to conclude that it tends to produce weak conscience.

    And the remedy is Christ. Why not proper education?

  62. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

    Skep,

    Maybe you wrote this: If we give in to the superstition that all of our calamities are the result of sin, we may do nothing to make things better. Only when we accept that not everything has a spiritual purpose do we take action.

    Before I wrote this: It’s comforting because I know that I can help…I can make a difference.
    *
    I find it comforting to think that when I twist my ankle or have to clean up the toilet that over flowed, I can make that mean something. Heck, it might be my shiny toilet that is responsible for passenger “A”s life! ;)
    *
    Bishop Sheen says: “The tragedy is not that there is suffering in the world. The tragedy is that so much of it is wasted!”
    *
    Ask any Catholic in good standing…the words “Offer it Up” are never far from our lips.
    *
    I find it much scarier to think that it is “all” just happening to me and there is NOTHING I can do about it.

  63. nile
    February 9th, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

    mk “Praying for a murderer? What good can come of it?”

    The murderer is someone’s child as well. Wouldn’t a mother pray for a son, though he be a murderer?

    “BTW, it’s funny how so often we are told that our God is merciless when he judges people and condemns them, yet you ask where His justice would be if a murderer would be forgiven…lol.”

    Aren’t you playing with words here? I am trying to say that each situation is unique. I never said, God is merciless when He punishes a mass murderer; I gave the example of the child in an earthquake who died. The point is to ensure that each person is awarded or punished for his actions only.

  64. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

    Nile,

    Good questions. Evil entered the garden. Evil personified. Evil is just perverted good. Satan was created “good”. But that good became perverted. Don’t ask me how, we don’t have a lot of info on that war. It has to do with reason and intelligence and the infinite possibilities that a “mind” can conjure up and the idea that you can be God and pride and….whatever.

    But that evil, the evil that pre existed the garden, came into paradise and polluted it. We do know that satan HATES us, because God LOVES us. Satan hates God, because he knows that he can’t beat Him. So to make God “hurt” he figures he must attack that which God loves. Us. He is the one that tempted us for the first time. And that free will clause kicked in. It sounded good. It sounded reeeeeeasonable, it sounded like a lot of the crap that we get drawn into today…and they fell for it. Ultimately it was their choice, sure. But the lure was strong. Satan didn’t just dangle a carrot in front of their noses, he “ENLIGHTENED” them, he REASONED with them…sound familiar? ;) Had they simply called out God’s name. Asked for His help, they would have been given the strength to say “no”…but they didn’t.

    In the beginning the body and soul were perfectly fused. There was no spiritual battle going on inside of us. But at the moment that they gave into temptation (and in this case, temptation was a “physical presence”, the soul and body separated. This is why they knew they were naked. For the first time they saw their body and their “person” as two different things. In his mercy God covered them to protect them from becoming mere objects in each others eyes. It’s pretty much been an uphill battle trying to reach that place where our bodies and our souls are once again reconciled. It’s why we sometimes please our bodies at the cost of our souls.

  65. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

    Aren’t you playing with words here?

    Yes, and I don’t believe you personally have ever said such a thing. But there have been people here that have said the God of the Old Testament was merciless. And then you asked about Justice.

    God is just AND merciful. He must follow the laws that He created. So justice must be served. But in His Mercy, He has given us a way out.

    Saint Faustina, a nun that lived in our lifetime, had visions of Jesus. He told her that this time, our lifetime, is the time of God’s greatest Mercy in all of History. Now as never before, He is pouring out His grace upon the world. But He warns that His Mercy will end and then His Justice will begin. He suggests we take advantage of that Mercy now.

    This was a powerful apparition. Pope John Paul II is the one that moved Faustina to Sainthood. Divine Mercy Sunday is the Sunday after Easter. Faustina was told that at 3:00 on that Sunday, God’s Mercy was so great that ANYTHING you asked for, if it was for your good, would be granted.

    You’ve probably seen the Divine Mercy Picture that Faustina was instructed to have painted. It’s the Jesus with the rays of light coming out of Hands.

    So would a mother pray for her son the murderer? Of course. Would her prayers be answered? Depends what she is praying for. I could pray for him too. So could you.

    And all of those prayers would count towards the salvation of his soul.

  66. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 6:47 pm

    Nile,

    The point is to ensure that each person is awarded or punished for his actions only.

    But our reward or punishment is not doled out here on earth. What happens here on earth is affected by the choices of all the other people’s choices. In the end, that little child will be rewarded greatly.

    What about the totally innocent souls in the wombs of their mothers? Do they deserve that? What did they do? Why are they being punished?

    They are being punished, because their deaths are the consequences of their mothers choices. We are all affected by each other.

    It’s all about relationships. Your choices affect me, my choices affect you. For good or bad.

  67. Skeptimal
    February 9th, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

    MK Said: “Maybe you wrote this: If we give in to the superstition that all of our calamities are the result of sin, we may do nothing to make things better. Only when we accept that not everything has a spiritual purpose do we take action.

    Before I wrote this: It’s comforting because I know that I can help…I can make a difference.”

    You’re correct that we have a blog asynchronicity. We’re talking about different kinds of actions, though. Bad things happen, and you’re moved to prayer. What about people who are moved to less spiritual and more tangible action. (Let’s say, just for grins, that we disagree on the efficacy of prayer. I know it’s a stretch…)

    If you don’t accept at some level that “some things just happen,” then it doesn’t seem like you can believe that anything you do can make a difference. Even the act of prayer suggests that not everything that happens is according to design, or you wouldn’t believe your prayers could make a difference.

  68. Skeptimal
    February 9th, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

    After I re-read my last post, it occurred to me that someone might start a discussion on free will.

    Please don’t.

    Bad things happen when people discuss free will. Namely, the voices in my head yell louder, giving me a headache. Then logic collapses in on itself, forming an ideological black hole that sucks my brains out through my ear canals. What’s left of me just stands there banging my head against the wall and wishing I’d tried to understand something easy, like quantum physics.

  69. Lily
    February 9th, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

    What a shame you get headaches so easily. Maybe we can pray about that for you. I, personally, don’t think free will is quite that hard to understand.

    As far as this is concerned– If you don’t accept at some level that “some things just happen,” then it doesn’t seem like you can believe that anything you do can make a difference. Even the act of prayer suggests that not everything that happens is according to design, or you wouldn’t believe your prayers could make a difference. We don’t know how it all works. We were assured by the Master that we should pray for our needs and the needs of others and that God hears us.

    As a very wise person once said, “pray as though it depended completely on God; work as though it depended completely on you. That gets it just about right.

  70. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

    Skep,

    I was wondering what that goo on the wall was…

    Okay, no free will conversations. Not even the fact that it is an act of my will not to engage is such discussions. Or an act of your free will that you don’t join in them. Or an act of Lily’s free will that….ooooooooooow…wow! I see what you mean…

    Understand, that we don’t pray in lieu of action. We do both. I can feed the homeless guy AND pray for him.

    Also understand that prayer comes in many forms. I can sing and it can be a prayer. I can meditate and that is prayer. I can petition and that is prayer. I can listen and that is prayer. I can say a rosary…go to Mass…go to the adoration chapel…and yes, I can perform actions and offer those actions up.

    So when I feed the homeless guy, that IS a prayer…see?

  71. frustrated(mk)
    February 9th, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

    Also, you must remember that God has gifts galore just stored up for us. But He likes to be asked. One of my favorite prayers is “God, as always, thy will be done, BUT if it’s no skin off yer nose, would you mind…fill in the blank”.

    Some things just will be what they will be and no amount of prayer will change them, but like any Father, God wants to hear from us. Doesn’t your mom get miffed when you only call her when you want something? God wants to hear from ya. Anything. And just like your own mom, if you want a little something special, and you ask, He might say yes. Plus, like I said, some stuff just ain’t gonna be gotten lest you do your chores first. Some prayer is in reparation, and you won’t get your allowance till the work is done…

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