The Raving Theist

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Prayer Request (Updated)

February 4, 2009 | 54 Comments

UPDATE: Danielle Bean has set up a page at Faith & Family to collect donations for Amy and her family in their time of need. If that site is slow in loading, a duplicate page has been set up at Danielle’s site.

Please pray for Amy Welborn and her family.

Comments

54 Responses to “Prayer Request (Updated)”

  1. Pikemann Urge
    February 4th, 2009 @ 4:30 am

    Yikes. Not much one can say is there? I know of her due to searching around some years back for commentary on the Da Vinci Code. Probably a familiar name for many here, anyway.

  2. Christina
    February 4th, 2009 @ 6:17 am

    Prayers.

  3. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 6:23 am

    There are no words. Of course there will be prayers…

  4. Carla
    February 4th, 2009 @ 8:06 am

    I am praying.

  5. Adam
    February 4th, 2009 @ 8:34 am

    She certainly has my prayers.

  6. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

    I’m going to pray right now.
    Thank you RT for posting this.

  7. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

    Why?

    If God has already chosen how things are going to turn out, why pray?

    Do you beleive that your solicitation of God has an impact?

  8. Pikemann Urge
    February 4th, 2009 @ 2:43 pm

    Jane, I think it’s to help her cope. The very fact in itself that many people are praying may give Ms. Welborn some comfort. We’re social animals,after all.

  9. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

    UVJane,
    God chose how all events were going to play out?

    Where did you come up with this idea?

  10. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 2:53 pm

    “If God has already chosen how things are going to turn out, why pray?”

    Wouldn’t it be your position that is more laden with deterministic notions? If there is no true agency at play then we are all products (our thoughts and behaviors included) of chemistry and physics. The movement and interaction of chemicals and the forces of physics.
    So why would you even question the act of praying? For you it would be like asking a rock why it allows the forces of gravity to act upon it.

  11. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

    CC Are you saying that God does not know the future? He does not know if Satan will be defeated? He is not Omniscient? I’m not arguing, I’ve just never met a Christian that held that view.

  12. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

    “CC Are you saying that God does not know the future?”

    Would you mind telling me why you changed your position from knowing the future to chosing the future?

    Your quote: “If God has already chosen how things are going to turn out, why pray?”

  13. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:21 pm

    There’s no distinction between God’s knowing and her choosing.

    If God knows how it turned out, one can only assume that she approves. If she didn’t approve, she would change it.

    If she approves it is at best futile and at worst presumption to ask for it to be otherwise.

    Again, why pray?

  14. Margaret Catherine
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

    Probably RT knew that somebody would use this post and this tragedy to start a debate. He posted it anyway.

  15. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

    Indeed. He could just as easily have posted “Our hearts our with them. If you can please make a donation.”

  16. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

    “There’s no distinction between God’s knowing and her choosing.”

    Sure there is.
    Is everything that you know to be the case, solely the case because you chose it to be the case?
    Clearly not. So there is a distinction.

    Either way, I think it’s clear you’re backpedaling.

    “If God knows how it turned out, one can only assume that she approves. If she didn’t approve, she would change it.”

    No, God could very well have not approved of something but still allowed it to be the case. A mother might not approve of her child staying out late with his friends, but she understands the consequences that will befall the child. So she allows it anyway for the sake that the child may learn a valuable lesson.
    You’re wrong again. There’s nothing in the allowing of something that directly connects that act with the choosing of that very thing.

    “If she approves it is at best futile and at worst presumption to ask for it to be otherwise.”

    Nope. Because you are still confusing approval with choosing. As well as confusing approval with desire. Maybe God desires other things as well, such as the loyal devotion of His children.

    “Again, why pray?”

    I pray because I truly want someone to be able to get the point. So I’ll be praying for you.

    You haven’t addressed my charge… “why argue against it?”

  17. Andy
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

    “If God knows how it turned out, one can only assume that she approves. If she didn’t approve, she would change it.”

    That’s a huge leap.

  18. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

    CC and Andy does God know the future or not?

    If God knows how things will turn out (is Omniscient) requests have no influence.

    If he is not omniscient then nothing the revelations has any bearing beyond God’s wishful thinking, right?

  19. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

    “Indeed. He could just as easily have posted “Our hearts our with them. If you can please make a donation.””

    What does it mean for a heart to be with someone else?
    That’s a funny notion not only because there is nothing behind it (from your perspective) in the sense of the meaning of the words together in a phrase… but because there’s no causal role a “heart” plays from your perspective.
    You might have simply said, “cross your fingers for them.”

  20. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

    CC It is a colloquialism that means you empathize with them. Crossing your fingers implies superstition.

    One might question the compassion of anyone who would narrow the field of support with prejudicial requests. It seems RT puts his bias ahead of his support.

  21. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

    “CC and Andy does God know the future or not?”

    The future? For an entity that we understand to be outside of time. Since time was created with the universe and we believe God existed prior to the universe… you tell me.

    “If God knows how things will turn out (is Omniscient) requests have no influence.”

    So, God is all powerful. Powerful enough to create the universe. And time was created with the universe. And your understanding of time is influenced because you exist in a universe where time exists and impacts your existence…. you come to the conclusion that God no longer has any causal influence over time, as we experience time. And, as above, you confused allow with approve and approve with desire and approve with choose.

    “If he is not omniscient then nothing the revelations has any bearing beyond God’s wishful thinking, right?”

    Kind of muddled…. flesh it out a bit?

  22. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

    “CC It is a colloquialism that means you empathize with them. Crossing your fingers implies superstition.”

    What is the significance of empathizing with them…. from your perspective?

    Someone’s dying on their hospital bed:
    UVJane: I really empathize with you!!
    Dying person: Thanks. I’ll be sure to tell the blackness that will envelope me and erase my brain about your empathy. Sure you don’t want to just cross those fingers?

    “One might question the compassion of anyone who would narrow the field of support with prejudicial requests. It seems RT puts his bias ahead of his support.”

    Maybe not. Certainly not if that ‘other’ confuses terms as much as you do. I really don’t know how much ‘support’ I would want from you if I were in a similar situation.

  23. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

    Actually CC, you are now arguing my point. Trollish remarks bore me, so this will be my third and final request for a straight answer.

    I don’t beleive in God. I’m asking you CC, do you beleive God knows our future?

  24. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

    Snore.

    NEXT!

  25. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

    “Actually CC, you are now arguing my point. Trollish remarks bore me, so this will be my third and final request for a straight answer.”

    That’s rich.
    I’ve answered your question, and I’ve provided you with direction for better understanding. This is the thanks you give?

    “I don’t beleive in God. I’m asking you CC, do you beleive God knows our future?”

    What part of God existing OUTSIDE of time did you not understand?
    Yes, given event C…. I believe that God has a full understanding of how all events going forward will play out… if C occurs.

  26. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

    “Snore.

    NEXT!”

    Yeah,
    Who’s next to try to help UVjane better understand this stuff? I’m really trying to shoot for a “Explaining God’s timelessness for Dummies” with this. But maybe someone can shoot for the level of moron.

  27. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

    Also,
    Thank God for whoever came up with such terms like “Troll”. Imagine how difficult it would be for someone like a UVjane to slink their way out of a discussion without being able to throw that one out?
    Jane, I want you to cross your fingers really hard and point your heart in the direction of that individual… they did alot for you, it’s the least you can do back.

  28. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

    I know how “HOUSE” episode 17 ends. Nobody paid me any royalties. Guess they don’t know I was responsible. I’ll fix that ASAP and get back to you.

  29. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

    VJ,

    You claim to ask an honest question and then snidely refer to God as she, just to see if it will get a rise out of us. Then you wonder why you’re not taken seriously…

    God knows what happens, yes. God gave us free will. He is not bound by the limits of “time” as we understand it, so His omnipotence is not linear. For instance, I can pray today for an ancestor that live 600 years ago. And those prayers can be effective.

    Or, I cannot pray for someone today, and the lack of prayers could have an effect.

    He doesn’t want us to love Him because we must. He wants us to love Him because we choose to. He knows what we will choose, not because He will it, but because He can see today, yesterday and tomorrow all at one time. You say “snore” and He says, yes, now you’ve got it! The whole thing is the blink of an eye to Him. He see’s it all. You also seem to put a physicality on Him that He doesn’t have. He doesn’t have eyes that He watches us with like ants in one of those ant farms. He is pure mind. He “knows”….

  30. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

    Referring to God as a she was not intended to be snide. It is an observation of mine that Christians claim that God is genderless and yet refer to it as a he, and male Christians absolutely will not refer to God as a she, belying the idea of an absence of misogyny.

    And my snore remark was referring to CC’s verbal abuse. Trolls are tedious.

    Your description of God is the one that I am familiar with and so again I ask, what is the point of prayer. Believing that God is Omniscient and Omnipotent you cannot logically beleive that prayer has any influence.

    If God knows the future and is all powerful, even if he does not like your choices he is electing that ending by refraining from enacting a change. Not influencing is still choosing.

  31. Lily
    February 4th, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

    Oh Jane. Are you now channelling Germaine Greer? This is just nonsense: “It is an observation of mine that Christians claim that God is genderless and yet refer to it as a he, and male Christians absolutely will not refer to God as a she, belying the idea of an absence of misogyny.”

    OF COURSE God is beyond gender! We don’t have a language that has gender neutral pronouns in it, do we? Since we have to choose one or the other, which comes closer to expressing what has been revealed to us? (Hint: Father, Son, Holy Spirit …) It isn’t just male Christians who absolutely will not refer to God as “she” which is completely misleading, as well as incoherent given the way God chose to reveal himself to mankind. (No. Not humankind. Mankind.)

    I wrote at great length in another thread about prayer as did others. It seems too soon to do it all again. Shorter version and, basically, what mk said– our prayers effected the outcome of everything before the world began. God is eternal. He does not experience time. We, however, do. It doesn’t matter in the slightest whether we understand it or not.

    Jesus taught us to pray, assured us (and, ultimately demonstrated) that God loves us and wants us to pray and answers prayer. So we pray. Honestly, if we believe Jesus is who he said he is, why would believing that he was serious, when he told us to pray for our needs and the needs of others, be a problem?

  32. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

    My prayers are requests for Him to intervene. If enough people ask, then He might oblige. Our CHOICE is to ask. Then He chooses to grant said request or not.

    He didn’t choose to “kill” Amy’s husband. Choices made all the way down the line did that. He “allowed” nature to take it’s course. We pray, and request that He aid Amy and her family in dealing with what has happened. Thousands of requests, He says “ahhhh, they’ve chosen to ask for my help” and He grants it…

    We don’t think God is male. But we do think that He has chosen to take a masculine (not male) role in how He relates to us. He has set it up so that we, the church, take on a feminine role, and He, God, plays the masculine role. He gives, we receive. This is reflected and demonstrated in our bodies. He is the bridegroom, we the bride. He is the father, we the children. He is the King, we the kingdom. He is the priest, we the faithful.

    Giver…receivers…Masculine….feminine.

    Mountain…..flowers.

  33. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

    My argument is simply that omniscience and prayer are not logically compatible.

    If God changes her mind (its only an insult if you think that God sees women as worth less than men) based on your prayers and changes the outcome, then she is not omniscient – if she were she would already know your request prior to the event and would have already determined the outcome.

  34. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 5:16 pm

    Knowing about the death of Amy’s husband and not intervening is killing him mk.

    That’s part of omnipotence.

    If you know your turtle will die without water and elect not to intervene and provide water, you killed the turtle.

  35. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

    VJ,
    If God changes her mind (its only an insult if you think that God sees women as worth less than men) based on your prayers and changes the outcome, then she is not omniscient – if she were she would already know your request prior to the event and would have already determined the outcome.

    Exactly. Likewise, if we had NOT prayed He would also have known and Amy wouldn’t be helped by the prayers we didn’t say. Now you’ve got it!

    As for saying she, you can’t really expect me to believe that you’re not “poking” us. It is disrespectful. It is saying that I do not respect you, or what you believe. Therefore I will mock it.

    Which is fine, but at least own it.

    I’m not afraid of misogyny. I’m not afraid to take a subordinate role. I’m not afraid to call God He. It is not a diss to women. It is simply recognizing my role and God’s role. I’m secure enough in my femininity that I am not threatened by a masculine God. Jesus came as man. God has called Himself my father. I have no problem respecting that.

    I’m not asking you to accept it. But since you don’t believe in Him anyway, I just find that it is disrespectful to those who do to refer to Him in a way that mocks the way we see Him. And I believe you know that. And I believe that’s why you do it.

    I don’t mock atheism. I don’t agree with it, but I don’t mock it. That’s called respect. Not agreement, respect.

  36. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

    mk, I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of saying God is genderless and women are of equal value to men and then gasping at calling God a she. My purpose is to make you think about the inconsistency.

    And thank you for the explanation about prayer.

  37. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

    People shifting their argument mid-discussion is tedious. And you call me a troll? Sure.

    Verbal abuse? If you consider someone trying to help you better understand verbal abuse…. if you consider me getting annoyed (but still willing to not sneak out of the discussion) with your seemingly intentional unwillingness to consider why your position was short-sighted, then fine…. I verbally abused you.

  38. Catholic Cat
    February 4th, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

    “My purpose is to make you think about the inconsistency……”

    let me speak for Jane here:
    “….while I completely gloss over my inconsistencies”.

  39. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 5:46 pm

    mk, do you think God views women as “less than” men. I don’t mean subordinate, but that their souls are less? I know Mormons view heaven and tiered by gender.

  40. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

    Absolutely not, VJ. I think our “sex” is irrelevant. I think He made us different, and gave us certain roles to play, so that when done right, everything “clicks” and works according to His plan. But I do not think He values women less than men, or blondes less than brunettes. Our physical expressions are just a way to image Him.

    In truth, God is both female and male and yet neither. He transcends gender. Gender is just a way to make it “work”.

    Is that making sense? We’ve been talking about exactly this topic on our blog this week, with Theology of the Body. It’s about the roles as receiver and giver that matter. Not male and female. Our bodies relfect this. The female body is “built” to receive what the male “gives”…it could have been the other way around, but then the men would be complaining… ;)

    God is the Giver in our “world”. Our relationship to Him is as “receivers” We receive His gifts.

    Someone on the blog pointed out that the Holy Spirit is actually a feminine word in Greek (I think it’s Greek). The point is, it’s about how He wants us to relate to Him, not about what organs we have, or what role we play in society…Rather about what role we play with Him…

  41. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

    Thank you that was helpful. I hope one of the people in your discussion pointed out that men are actually mutated women, belying the fact that men were created first. :)

  42. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

    Maybe this will help.

    God is not imaged after man. Man is imaged after God. We are created to reflect and imitate the relationship of the Trinity. God to the Father, Father to the Son, Son to the Spirit…God to us.

    So when He created man He chose to make us reflect Himself in the Trinity.

    God plus the church, giver and reciever, creates something new. The Eucharist.

    Man plus woman creates something new. Life.

    I think the priesthood exemplifies this well. The priest, at the moment of consecration is Christ. Actually is Him. But at the same time he is also a man. He is priest and Christ. At that moment he is playing the feminine role as a member of the church, but at the same time he is playing the masculine role of Christ. Male and Female together, resulting in new life, the Eucharist…

    The entire Church is female. Yet men are members of the church…do you see?

  43. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

    VJ,

    Too funny. Men are simple creatures. I tell young girls all the time that to understand men they must know the secret of the 5 “S’s”…once they know those, they can “own” men…

    Sex
    Supper
    Sports
    Suds
    Sleep

    You give them those five things and they’ll never leave.
    Simple.

    Women on the other hand, are by far the Superior sex… ;)

  44. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

    Once my grandmother chastised me for walloping my boyfriend at cards. She said “Dear, men aren’t very smart and it’s rude of you to remind them.”

  45. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

    VJ,

    I think sometimes we assume that you (meaning non believers) know more about what we believe than you do. And we give glib answers. The truth is that the faith can be rather complicated. Not hard, just complicated. As in not simple.

    We call God He, and to someone that doesn’t know what that means, it sounds exactly like we think He’s a dude. No one takes the time to explain what we really mean because we all get so dang defensive.

    Of course, I don’t expect you to say “AAAAAHHHh now I get it, where do I sign up” but at least it opens a window and gives a little insight.

    We would all do well to remember that much of the animosity on both sides come from ignorance of what the other believes. Just a little humility, and a little graciousness can go a long way. And since we claim to be Christians, it should start with us, as we’re the ones always harping on Love…

  46. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

    VJ,

    I LIKE your grandmother!

  47. Joanne
    February 4th, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

    I pray daily, but I have also at times wondered, why pray if the ending seems like a foregone conclusion? Especially when we are told that God knows what we need before we even ask. To start with self-centered reasons, it just feels like the right thing to do, and I feel better afterwards! When I put my petitions before God, I feel that I have done something, the best thing I could do, in fact, to further a cause I hold dear.

    While it’s true that I don’t know *for certain* if – for example – my prayers on behalf of a deceased person influences God’s judgment of that person (and I think my prayers *could,* which of course is helpful to the person being prayed for), I think that God is pleased when we humbly ask something of Him. It’s true that prayers help the living family members of the deceased, but even if the family members never found out we were praying, it still wouldn’t all be for naught, because God would be hearing us. To ask things of Him is to show confidence in Him, humility, etc. I don’t have children, but I would think that if I were a parent, I would find it very sweet if my child sincerely and earnestly asked something righteous of me that he or she believed it was in my power to grant. I think it’s the same with God – He wants to see the effort and entreaty on our part, because those things show trust in Him.

    Also, some Catholics (maybe others too, I’m not sure) believe that the Holy Spirit has a feminine essence (as opposed to the Father and the Son). But I guess because Christ came among us as a man and referred to His *Father* in Heaven, we call God a “He.” I think it’s important for various reasons to refer to God in the masculine.

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

    This is my first time and perhaps only time commenting on this website.

    First, my prayers go out to Amy and her family, especially for the repose of the soul of Michael. Although I only recently began reading her blog, and did not have the good fortune of reading Michael’s before his death, this loss affects me as that of a friend and neighbour.

    Second, this discussion is not useful, especially in a time of mourning such as this.

    There is always such an ardent display of ignorance—be it historical, philosophical, theological, even logical—on both sides of these discussions. Education would help.

    Suggested Reading:

    Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy (especially pertinent to your omniscience “problem”)

    Aquinas: On Faith and Reason (Hackett)
    Anselm of Canterbury: The Major Works (Oxford Edition)
    Abelard: Ethical Writings (Hackett)
    Augustine: On Free Choice of the Will, On the Trinity

    This is basic philosophical education, and I’m surprised with how many atheists attack believers with these deep, insightful, ground-breaking questions that the rest of us stopped asking about after taking a freshman class on Western Philosophy. All of these questions have been quite notably discussed centuries ago.

    You may not agree with the answers, but at least you could come to debates and not ask such elementary questions in the first place. (Believers would also do well to brush up their history/theology, as they also reply in nonsensical ways at times.)

    With that said, regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, I think it would be very appropriate to take some time and simply reflect on Michael’s life, especially his young children, who are now without their father, and his wife, who must now take on the role of her late, loving husband. Prayers will surely be needed, or if you don’t pray, at least contribute a donation, or buy Michael’s books. If you don’t have the finances to do that, then go to a library and read the books I have suggested, otherwise leaving these debates for another day while the rest of us mourn.

    God Bless.

  49. Sad news from the blogroll « Ladies for Life
    February 4th, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

    […] tip: The Raving Theist (via […]

  50. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 4th, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

    mk – thanks. She was awesome. Victorian to the bone.

    Joanne said “I think that God is pleased when we humbly ask something of Him.”

    Interesting. In Zen you have to bow (supplicate yourself) to another. At first just the zen master, then your neighbor, then your pets and random living objects, and then finally after you’ve been at it for a while, those you view as most lothesome. Doing it sincerely is harder than it sounds.

  51. Anon A. Mouse
    February 4th, 2009 @ 11:54 pm

    Matthew 6:5-6

  52. Pikemann Urge
    February 5th, 2009 @ 1:43 am

    UVJ, you asked me in the other thread (by mistake?) whether I thought prayer was making a request of God. Of course it is, but live and let live. ;-)

    Some Christians see prayer as listening to God, not asking of him. For as the Scriptures say (it’s in the NT somewhere), God knows your needs already.

  53. Over it
    February 5th, 2009 @ 1:50 pm

    UVJ, if you don’t believe in GOD fine…if you don’t want to pray then DON’T, but do the rest of us a favor and just shut up. Your babbling gets on my nerves!

  54. frustrated(mk)
    February 5th, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

    Over it,

    Why does it get on your nerves? I think we had a really good conversation. She asked a question, I answered a question. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, isn’t it?

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