Ahh... rhetorical question in that discussion title, I suppose.
A very nice middle school gym teacher, age 38, was in a head on collision on December 20 as she drove to work. An oncoming car skidded on ice and this lady is now in the hospital with intracranial brain pressure that is NOT resolving itself, still unconscious or being kept unconscous, with no improvement after over a week.
She comes from a small town in Kansas, but through her community, family, and friends has people seemingly all over the country praying for her at a furious rate. Post after post after post on a facebook site about the accident promise continuing PRAYER: "Praying", "Prayers being sent up", "Praying daily", "Still praying", "Prayers being sent your way". ENDLESS comments like this.
One must scroll through dozens and dozens of these to find ONE that simply says, "I'm sorry, I care, I hope things go well, I think of you many times a day." If maybe HALF the people who post about their concern for this woman mentioned praying, that would seem normal. But these stupid declarations of PRAYER are simply epidemic.
In a way, I sympathize with people who use the prayer nonsense as a way to try to comfort when there is no comfort to be had. I just don't understand WHY these statements don't sound as empty as they do to me. Surely "god" knows this woman is in horrible shape... does their imaginary god need to be constantly REMINDED that healing would be appreciated? HOW do people rationalize this ridiculous practice-- when (IF) they stop to think about it? The logical question is... does god COUNT prayer requests? The more the better?
What I've concluded is that offering prayers is just code for...for... for what?? Maybe talk of god is the "holiest" and "nicest" thing that people think they can cling to and offer in times of tragedy. But they are remaining ignorant children when they don't deal with the randomness and pain that can't be helped or cured by any amount of magical prayer talk.
It's hard to find caring words to say wihout resorting to the "praying" formulaic response. When I try to come up with something to say, it takes me a long time, but sometimes I do it. If I had medical connections or super doctors to recommend, THAT would be something helpful to do...
Frustrated by this subject and by people.
Loren, as usual, a clearly thought out analysis with recognition of the power of being vulnerable. Your comment, too, bears repeating:
"one of the prerequisites of a genuine relationship between any two people is that both parties allow themselves to be vulnerable, open to the other."
"Helping can be a messy business, depending on who you're helping and with what, and if the help offered is truly substantial. Prayer isn't help; it's PRETEND help. It does nothing and helps no one ... and it risks NOTHING."
~ Loren Miller
My new answer to FaceBook posts with religious stuff is now "Yikes!". I think it is a good counter answer to "like", and maybe will make a few pause for thought about posting such drivel. Hopefully, it will not seem to offensive, because that is not the goal.
Feel free. If nothing else, it provokes discussion, to let others know that their proselytizing can be quite shallow and hurtful if one is a nonbeliever or of another faith. I've thought about responding back "Allāhu Akbar", but don't really want the NSA after me ;).
"Ramen" is kind of growing on me lately.
As in noodles? I like that too.
As in TFSM (The Flying Spaghetti Monster), aka his noodly goodness.
It's humorous, good natured and gets the point across as far as where you're coming from.
Like noodly goodness!
Habit. Pure unthinking habit.
It's the "unthinking" part that bothers me.
"God works in malicious ways his blunders to perform."
I have been reading one of Robert Ingersoll's essays about how many times the all-powerful, all-knowing YHWH failed in his attempts to get his creation(s) to behave the way she/he/it (say that 3 times real fast) wanted them to...starting with the Tree of Knowledge. (Why plant the thing in the garden in the first place? ENTRAPMENT!)
Excellent thinking, sk8eycat.