I haven’t posted in a while. The last 6 months have been eventful with travel, house hunting, packing, and moving into a new house. But most recently, I’ve had to start job hunting.
The latter was truly unexpected. What a punch in the gut! I’ve been working from home for 9 years as an IT manager for an association — a job that I’ve truly loved. My association’s top executive retired earlier this year, and the new leader has been quick to make staff changes, favoring to hire people he has worked with at his last organization who also live in the same city. I’m trying hard to not let anger get the best of me.
The staff where I work have expressed sincere shock over the news. There’s one sentiment though from close friends that irks me. In regard to my job, I’ve heard:
I’ll pray for you.
A few of the logical problems include:
- If there’s an omnipotent God who orchestrates life’s circumstances, what’s the point in my friend praying for me? Either there’s a God who’s in control, or there’s not. (Of course, I think it’s the latter).
- If we assume for argument’s sake that man’s chief purpose is to glorify God (as the Bible states), and if we assume that answered prayer is one of the ways that God is glorified, how would God get any glory if my job situation is suddenly improved or resolved? Now maybe, if I just sat on my ass and did absolutely nothing, and suddenly a great job falls in my lap — hey, that would be moderately amazing! But naturally, I’m applying for jobs and spending significant time in networking with colleagues and friends. So if my job situation improves, how would God get any glory in that scenario?
- When it comes to petitions to an all-powerful deity, there are just 3 possibilities. Yes, no, and “no answer”. When something goes right, Christians assume that God answered their prayer. When nothing happens, they just shrug their shoulders, and go “oh well”. With that in mind, how would the results change if a person prayed to a statue of Buddha? Or prayed to a jug of milk? It’s still the same possibilities: yes, no, and “no answer”. And because the God of the Bible is utterly silent when we pray to him, you could just as easily conclude that a statue of Buddha answered your prayers when circumstances turn favorable.
We humans are terribly superstitious. We fear black cats. Broken mirrors. Walking under ladders. Recently, I learned that my mother will never ever shake a table cloth outside again at night! She did so many years ago, and the following week there were 3 calamities that befell my mom and her husband. She chose to associate the late night table cloth shake with life’s turn of events. My mom is dead serious about it!
Back in January, my wife and I intentionally shook a dirty table cloth outside at night, in defiance of silly superstitions.*
If you’ve ever heard the expression, “Bless your heart!”, there’s a meme that says there’s a tiny little ‘fuck you’ in every “bless your heart” utterance. The phrase, “I’ll pray for you” also has an underlying message. I think it can include:
- You really need to deal with that sin in your life
- God must be punishing you
- Glad it’s you and not me!
- Aren’t you just a little pathetic
I don’t think my close friends lump all of those sentiments into their concern, but certainly some of it is there. As an atheist, I’m certainly a target for punishment, right?! LOL
I’ll close with this. Seth Andrews recently posted a video of a talk he gave called “Christianity Made Me Talk Like an Idiot”. It’s a funny look at all of those common expressions that we believers routinely said to one another. It’s worth your time to view! Enjoy.
* If you’re curious, nothing evil happened as a result of our late-night middle-finger test of the dirty table cloth shake.