If you ask nicely

It’s maybe inappropriate to complain about public godbothering at this time, but there’s such a fundamental absurdity at the heart of the whole thing that I can’t not raise an objection. I’ll just leave names and handles out of it.

A guy on Twitter, a guy who writes for the Atlantic and wrote a book called Learning to Speak God From Scratch (so you can find his name obviously, I’m just not naming him here), tweeted:

I don’t often ask for prayer on here, but my friend Laura from NYC has COVID-19. She has double pneumonia and is in ICU on a ventilator fighting for her life right now. She is only 30. Please pray for her.

I hope she survives. Best of luck to her. But that tweet…he doesn’t often ask for prayer on Twitter but this time he will – because what? It will work but it should be used sparingly? Why? If it works why not use it non-stop? Why not get lists of critically ill people and request prayers for all of them? Or is it because he knows it doesn’t work, or suspects it doesn’t, or knows most of us know it doesn’t, and so he would feel silly requesting it often? Or because he doesn’t like to be a nuisance so he doesn’t request miraculous intervention except when it’s for a friend who’s only 30?

In other words it doesn’t make sense. If you believe in prayer and believe it works, then why would you ration your use of it? If you don’t believe it works, why would you request it at all?

But also…the perpetual issue with these things…if you believe in a god who rescues people from fatal illness if you ask nicely, why do you believe in a god like that? The god must have caused the epidemic, right? Or at least looked fixedly in the opposite direction rather than stopping it. Why ask god to spare one particular person instead of everyone?

I know people have rationalizations to make it all seem coherent, I just don’t think they make much sense.

He got lots of replies that have the same problems. “Please, daddy god, fix this one person, no hard feelings about creating the pandemic in the first place.”

Praying for Laura and all the other victims of this horrible virus. Praying for the doctors, nurses and first responders. In addition praying for all the workers who are working in essential business today. I’m just on my knees praying.

To the monster who made it all happen. Why would that work, exactly?

Praying for Laura…knowing that God hears, cares, and is able!

Oh yes? Then why did God make her so ill in the first place?

Spirit of Life, be as you were at Laura’s first breath, life-giving, then again and again until her lungs are strong and clear. Sustain and protect all medical helpers, both at her bedside and everywhere across this planet. Have mercy on us all, O God, amen

It’s as if parents never fed their children unless they got down on their knees and begged.

Praying probably makes people feel better, and things that make people feel better are nothing to sneer at. But. But. It’s a very Stockholm syndrome kind of feeling better, this crawling at the feet of a monster who unleashed a novel virus on defenseless humans.

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