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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pray for the people of Haiti?

Recently, I heard some Christians say to pray for the people of Haiti. I wonder why?If God did not care enough about the people of Haiti to prevent the earthquake from happening, then why would he care now to help them? As a matter of fact, if it was God's will for the earthquake to happen (and all evangelicals would say it was), it seems that it would be acting against God's will to try to alleviate the suffering of the people of Haiti. Apparently, he wanted them to suffer.

If God has a divine plan, then why should Christian's pray anyway? I like George Carlin's take on this:

Trillions and trillions of prayers every day asking and begging and pleading for favors. Do this. Gimme that. I want a new car. I want a better job. . . . And I say fine, pray for anything you want. Pray for anything. But...what about the divine plan? Remember that? The divine plan. Long time ago god made a divine plan. Gave it a lot of thought. Decided it was a good plan. Put it into practice. And for billion and billions of years the divine plan has been doing just fine. Now you come along and pray for something. Well, suppose the thing you want isn't in god's divine plan. What do you want him to do? Change his plan? Just for you? Doesn't it seem a little arrogant? It's a divine plan. What's the use of being god if every run-down bum with a two dollar prayer book can come along and (mess) up your plan? And here's something else, another problem you might have. Suppose your prayers aren't answered. What do you say? 'Well it's god's will. God's will be done.' Fine, but if it gods will and he's going to do whatever he wants to anyway; why bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me. Couldn't you just skip the praying part and get right to his will?

I never realized that Carlin was such a good theologian. If God is in control (sovereign) as every Christian professes to believe, then why bother praying?

Many Christians look at prayer as some kind of magical formula whereby you can convince God to answer your wish list. Why does God have to be begged to do something? Most Christians believe that the "harder" you pray for something, the more likely you are to get it. And if you really want to impress God, then pray and fast. This will certainly cause him to give in and give you what you want.

Christians are told that God always answers prayers. He might say, "Yes." He might say, "No." He might say, "Wait." Well, that pretty much has all the bases covered, doesn't it? There is no way God can be blamed. If the prayer wish comes true, then he gets the credit. If it doesn't, then it either wasn't his will or the person praying did not have enough faith or had some unconfessed sin in his life, etc. Either way, God is off the hook.

This video humorously illustrates what I am saying.


  1. Ken,

    You just never knew the Lord. You had religion without the relationship. My heart actually breaks for you; however, late in life your true colors finally came out. I believe a lot of folks go into scholarship out of their desire for power and recognition which can result in a life story like yours.

    My prayers are with you and yes, God answers those prayers that are within His will. God knows best so you can trust Him!

    God Bless..

  2. ZDENNY, maybe it's not God's will to save Ken. After all, the Bible does teach election. God chooses some before the foundation of the world and not others. If Ken wasn't chosen, are your prayers going to reverse that?

  3. Interesting points you make, However why should the atheist care more than God apparently does not? If there is no God, then this earthquake is just another mechanism of natural selection working its way for the production of the fittest species on this planet. The atheist should than the earthquake as another events helping root out the fittest species. Consequently the atheist sits in the same boat as God in this post does he not? Why does the atheist cast stones at an uncaring God when he/she is just as uncaring? Seems like the atheist wants his cake and is trying to eat it as well.

  4. Rev. Brown,

    One simple reason--the atheist does not claim to be completely holy as does the Biblical God.

  5. The atheist, rev. brown, was pointing out the absurdity of prayer, not casting stones at god. So you've totally missed the point.

  6. **Why does God have to be begged to do something? Most Christians believe that the "harder" you pray for something, the more likely you are to get it. And if you really want to impress God, then pray and fast.**

    And yet, when the idea of "unanswered prayers" are used as a reason for why an atheist/agnostic don't find the God-concept credible, I see Christians saying that atheists/agnostics don't understand the concept of prayer. Prayer isn't about asking for something, it's about aligning to God's will, or something like that.

    If that's true, then shouldn't we see Christians praying in that manner, rather than treating prayer like a wish-list?

  7. Hi Ken,

    Sure but, why adopt one demon over another?


  8. Hi Uzza,

    Sorry you think that. However you will notice in the post that it is stated that God does not care for the people of Haiti. So the premise on the prayer was under-girded by this ethic.

    Perhaps you should re-read the post.


  9. Hi rev brown.

    Perhaps you should turn down the sanctimony, and re-read the post. It nowhere say god doesn't care. In fact, it suggests he wanted them to suffer. Nor does it say anything about your straw atheist's attitude. You are the one who said this hypothetical atheist of yours doesn't care, which has no relation to anything in the post.

    The OP posed a serious theological question for christians, which you ignored. Instead you insulted the author by insinuating he doesn't care about the people of Haiti, and made groundless accusations of all atheists. Then you spectacularly fail to draw a moral equivalency between a bystander, and the god who voluntarily caused the event! If your intention is to make christians look better perhaps you should rethink your strategy.

  10. Pastor Brown (I was raised to call no man reverend---just my background, nothing personal),

    I'm not sure if atheists necessarily have the same problem as theists, here. Granted, there are atheists who talk as if earthquakes play an important part in nature. And, although Ben Stein took Darwin out of context for that one quote, there are places where Darwin predicts the death of unfit (in his mind) tribes of human beings, which does tend to dehumanize them. So I know you're responding to something.

    But does an atheist necessarily HAVE to apologize for nature? In their worldview, nature is what it is. It does good and bad. If there's an earthquake and that kills people, why do atheists have to root for nature? They could see the event as tragic.

  11. @ Uzza,


    You say...

    It nowhere say [sic] god doesn't care.

    My Reply,

    Here is the sentence from the post.
    'If God did not care enough about the people of Haiti to prevent the earthquake from happening, then why would he care now to help them?' Rhetorical implication, God does not care. And no, Ken does not say, God wanted them to suffer rather, evangelicals would say he does.

    And no it is not ignored rather is it unmasked as a fallacious argument. And there is no insult because AGAIN if you read the blog carefully you will see that Ken describes himself as an agnostic not an atheist.

    Furthermore there was complete grounding, one it seems you cannot answer. And as for a bystander and a God, which is better Uzza? The one who sends or the one who care nothing?

    Since you so arrogantly suggest I should rethink my position to make Christians look better. It would appear you should heed your own advice.

    Regards, Phil.

  12. Mr. Pate,

    (I was raised to address people by there title)

    No they do not have to apologize. But why give up one demon for another? Why is the atheist position more moral?

  13. Rev. Brown,

    My main point in the post was this: "Why bother praying for the people of Haiti?" God did not stop the earthquake from happening, so it must be his will. If its his will, then he must want the people to suffer.

    As far as whether I care or not is immaterial. I do not claim to be an all holy and loving person as your God does.

  14. To answer your question, this god of yours, who actively caused all the death and misery is a far far worse creature than any irrelevant bystander you drag in to change the subject. That much is obvious.

    there was complete grounding, one it seems you cannot answer.
    You got me there; I can only answer sentences that make sense. Maybe you could elaborate, if this has anything to do with the topic. Otherwise, skip it.

    The question was whether christians contradict god's will by praying. Your response, that atheists don't care, does not unmask a fallacious argument: it's not even an argument, it's a question, that you keep on not answering.

  15. MY answer is that us christians are not contridicting by praying, His will is gonna be his will no matter what....If we look at what the Lord Jesus taught us about prayer, we see that it's about aligning ourselves with God's kingdom, with His values, and with His character. I like the word "align" because I think it accurately reflects what we need to do in light of the effects of the fall, when we were all plunged into a state of sin. This means we are out of alignment with God and prefer instead to indulge our own desires. Just as we sometimes have to take our cars into the shop to get our wheels realigned when they "want to" go in a different direction than the designers' intent, prayer is about submitting ourselves to God, aligning ourselves with Him and His purposes. So prayer isn't mainly about telling God what we want so He can give us our heart's desire, it's supposed to be about submitting to His will even as we share our desires with Him, with the understanding that if He wants something different and better than what we want, we acknowledge that He has the right to do whatever He wants because He is God and we are not.We pray to communicate with God, because communication is an absolutely essential part of maintaining a relationship. And Christianity is about relationship with God, not rules and rituals. We pray because He invited us to ask Him for whatever we want, just like He invited Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted, and hopefully that kind of divine generosity and open-heartedness will call us to ask thoughtfully, like Solomon, with an awareness of how big and powerful and loving God is. We pray because we are and can do nothing without God and we need Him desperately. We pray because it reminds us that we are completely dependent on God like American astronauts are dependent on NASA to keep them alive up in space. We pray because it reminds us of our relative size and position before God.God is sovereign and yet when we pray it makes a difference. Jesus invited us to take His yoke upon us, which makes us not only His companions but co-laborers in the kingdom. I think that praying keeps us connected to our Source, Jesus, so it is a way to keep on abiding in Him and allowing Him to abide in us. So we pray not to get what we want out of God like some cosmic vending machine, but to keep us connected to and dependent on Him, which is what we were created for in the first place. this is how i can explain it as a christian, that was a great question!