Friday, March 11, 2011

On Prayer, Japan, and Bumperstickers

Because of this site, I've got Facebook friends all over the world that I've never met. Since the libertarian cause seeks to be a very big umbrella, I've corresponded with Rastafarian marijuana enthusiasts, Bible-quoting homeschoolers, transgendered gay rights activists, gun fetishists, anti-war activists, free market economists, property rights devotees and more than a few people who don't like going outside because of all those black helicopters that follow them around.

Because of the horrible destruction in Japan this morning, a lot of my Facebook buddies are asking everyone to pray for the people of Japan. 

Why? 

Should I ask God to prevent any more destruction?  Or should I ask God to not cause any more destruction? 

How much involvement on God's part are we assuming here?  Does God only intervene when enough of us ask him sincerely enough?  Can God be trusted to do the right thing without us having to nag him about it, kinda like I sometimes have to be reminded to set the recycling out on Thursday mornings? 

I have a standing joke with two of my employees about work and bumperstickers.  There are some people who go through life figuratively wearing this bumpersticker:

Things are beyond their control.  Life happens to them.  They are victims.  People wake up in the morning just to take advantage of them.  Most of their lives are predestined. 

And then there are those joyous souls who obviously have a different philosophy. 


These people exercise some serious "scene control".  They either control their own destiny, or believe that they do.  They believe that they have a free will, that they are responsible for their actions and the consequences. 

Which bumpersticker do you think God would put on his Cadillac?  Does he just set things in motion and let them play out?  Or does God make things happen? 

4 comments:

Nick Rowe said...

God's bumper sticker says:

"I watch shit happen, and laugh my ass off."

I've never liked the fundie belief in an interventionist God who grants cures for cancer, lottery wins, jobs, and passing scores on exams if you really, really pray hard. God is not a djinni in a lamp, granting wishes.

His gifts to us are free choice, a challenging world, and a finite life.

We are reality TV.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

What got me going on this was partly the earthquake, and partly this billboard that I saw in Arkansas (I think) sometime last year:

http://www.prayforacureforcancer.com/

I mean, if God invented cancer, and he's going to do what's right, then....

Well, you figure it out.

Anonymous said...

The traditional Christian answer is that creation is fallen (imperfect) and needs redemption, too. God has done everything he can at this point to redeem the world (his Son dying on a cross; the ministries of the church and good/competent people) without stepping in for a complete re-creation of nature. That is coming, on his timetable. That may not be a satisfactory answer, but at least it's relatively coherent and not completely bleak.

Jay Bailey said...

Hey, not sure if you remember me, I used to go by Lazy Slacker. Anyway, just wanted to add my $.02 here. I've personally never understood the concept of prayer beyond its self-therapeutic benefits. If god exists, and is assumed to have perfect knowledge, then how could a prayer change its mind? Or a billion prayers for that matter. And, more to your point, if God selectively intervenes, then I would assert that its infinite goodness should be put into question.