Monday, July 09, 2018

Praying for unbelievers

Some of my Facebook friends who are in distress ask for prayers from their friends.  I'm willing to comply, but frankly I'm not sure if my prayers are answered or even heard.  I'm rather dubious about the whole thing.

Not to say that I am not a believer,  or even a non-believer.  I am in the position of whoever said:  "Lord I believe--help thou my unbelief."  I have friends who are deeply religious and who derive comfort from their beliefs.  I cannot say the same of myself.  I can only say that I hope to believe, but have serious doubts.

Why would I want to believe?  I would like to believe that those  I lost will be restored to me, that I will some day see my mother, my father, my dearest cousins whose departure has left such a hole in my life.  I would like to believe that there is a realm where those who suffered will be free of pain, that sinners will suffer., that the good and virtuous will get their reward. 

I cannot understand  ardent atheists, especially those who proselytize, and take joy in converting others to their ardent hopes that this life is all there is.  Those who nourish such hatred of God that they must proclaim their disbelief from the rooftops.

I remember the late Christopher Hitchens, when he was dying of lung cancer, telling those who said they were praying for him that that was fine if it made them feel better.  Well, I was one of those who prayed for him, which in my case meant that I was sad for him, thought of him often and ardently wished he would be spared.  Or if not spared, that his suffering would be lessened.

  I never believed that my prayers or ardent wishes would be efficacious. They were not.  He subsequently suffered greatly and then died.  Would I like to believe that his witty spirit somehow survived him and still exists in some other realm?  Of course.

7 comments:

Paul Mitchell said...

I have been extremely blessed to never have had doubts about God. I have always been sure that this earthly existence is but a blip on the entirety of my life.

That said, I have certainly had my bouts of deliberately sinning with full knowledge that I was doing just that, though. I think that those days might be over now. Hopefully.

Dick Stanley said...

You'll be reunited because you're eternal like they are.

ETat said...

I have grown from infantile fantasies about existence of afterlife and "hand of a Master" since...adolescence, I guess. There is no god, or gods, either in capitals or low-case.

However, I don't begrudge these fantasies to others. If it makes their everyday burden easier, and their emotional life fuller - fine. I still consider them infantile, clinging to authority, collectivist.

The problem is they are the ones "proselytizing". Sometimes - treat me as if I was contagious with a horrible disease. Or worse... I've had my fill with religious people.

ETat said...

...and btw, you got it wrong.

Those who "proclaim their disbelief from the rooftops" have no hatred of god. Why would be hate something we know doesn't exist? That would be illogical, and we're nothing but.
And why not speak out? Do you think we should be whispering instead? That would imply that in our heart we do believe your childish fairy tales, and are afraid of divine wrath for our revolt.

People evolved by noticing patterns, and we are a social animals. This ability made the humanity what we are now - but the medal has two faces. People extend their social structure to heaven, and they are afraid to be alone.

That's all there is to it. And it is a shame - when one passed childhood; it is cowardly and weak.

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Paul Mitchell said...

Miriam, look no further for your aetheists proclaiming their disbelief from the rooftops...

By the way, a rudimentary understanding of math and science proves the existence of God, but aetheists are incapable of possessing an active mind.

ETat said...

Paul, are you incapable of addressing me directly? Speaking of people "treating me as if I was contagious with a horrible disease"...

You are sanctimonious coward, Paul. And you must be a comedian; your second sentence is hilariously funny, especially the part of "active mind".