The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Nike Religion - Prayer: Just Do It...Or, You Know, Don't

While driving today, I saw a bumper sticker that looked a lot like this:Nike Prayer
Hm. I thought about this image for quite some time because it seems to me that the message is rather unclear. I mean, are they saying that you should just shut up and pray because it's the thing to do? Are they ordering you to pray - and if so, what for? Is it a silent admission that prayer doesn't work, but a stern suggestion from On High to do it anyway? In addition, is it ok for God to use child labour to make stickers in South-East Asia? So many questions.

I vely confuse.

So what do I do? Well, I go to the Internets and type, "Why pray?" into the google-machine and what do I get as a first hit but a site all about why I should pray. Needless to say, I did me some readin'.

One of the first things it says is that God commands us to pray in the Bible in Philippians 4:6-7 which actually says this:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
So ask nicely and "make your requests known". That's weird though, see, because later in that same chapter, at 4:19, Paul says that God will get you whatever you need. Check it out:
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
See? If you need it, you'll get it. So that brings me to a bit of a question - what about those folks who really really really need, say, food? Or to be healed from cancer? Or to get out of seeing the Sex and the City movie. I'd think that those things would be well within the realm of possibility for the Creator of the Universe. Or Oprah and her damn "Secret".

I particularly enjoy reason number three on that page which is as follows:
(3) God intends for prayer to be the means of obtaining His solutions in a number of situations:

a) Preparation for major decisions (Luke 6:12-13)
b) Overcoming demonic barriers in lives (Matthew 17:14-21)
c) The gathering of workers for the spiritual harvest (Luke 10:2)
d) The gaining of strength to overcome temptation (Matthew 26:41)
e) The means of strengthening others spiritually (Ephesians 6:18-19)
It's likely that you all know my favorite is letter b. There's nothing like a "demonic barrier" to overcome. How does one know that a barrier is demonic? Dripping blood? Spinning head? Oh oh! Wait, I know! A flagrant and repeated crotch-stab with a crucifix!

But then I was confused again; it's sort of a natural state around the Heathen household. See, the original question was, Why Pray? What is the point of prayer when God knows the future and is already in control of everything. If we cannot change God's mind, why should we pray? Ok, but now at number five comes the awkward bit for those people who thought that their buddy Paul was telling the truth about "getting what you need".
(5) He has promised that when we ask for things that are in accordance with His will, He will give us what we ask for (1 John 5:14-15).

Sometimes He delays His answers according to His wisdom and for our benefit. In these situations, we are to be diligent and persistent in prayer (Matthew 7:7; Luke 18:1-8). Prayer should not be seen as our means of getting God to do our will on earth, but rather as a means of getting God's will done on earth. God’s wisdom far exceeds our own.
So, we're back to God's gonna do whatever the hell he wants and that's that. Doesn't that kind of beg the initial question again? This circular bullshit hurts the horns on the top of my demonic head. I think I need a little George Carlin - keep an eye out for this phrase: "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." "Thy Will Be Done." Fine, but if it's God's will, and He's going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn't you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It's all very confusing."
Mmmm...Carlin-y goodness.

5 Barbaric Yawps:

At 11/6/08 12:13 am, Anonymous Brad said...

My wife and I were going to go see Sex and the City last Friday.

Thursday afternoon I came down with food poisoning or salmonella and ended up alternately shivering, sleeping, and power-shitting until Monday.

If God was looking out for me, fuck you God.

At 11/6/08 7:45 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

That's the problem with God "helping" - all he's used to doing is fucking people up.

At 11/6/08 11:26 am, Blogger King Aardvark said...

Brad, look at it this way: God saved you from the Sex and the City movie.

At 12/6/08 8:36 am, Blogger Paul said...

The obly questions this raises in my mind are:

1) Do they have permission to use Nike's trademarked 'swoosh' symbol?


2) If not, does Nike need to be made aware of the situation?

At 12/6/08 11:23 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Both fabulous questions, Paul.


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